The current breed of parents has failed. Most are too engrossed in their careers, while others, in the name of modernity, have tainted the noble responsibility bestowed on them. This responsibility goes beyond just provision.
Stories of children as young as nine years abusing drugs and engaging in ‘sexcapades’ have left many wondering what has become of the young generation. It all boils down to the kind of upbringing these children have had. As a child, my lived by the dictum “spare the rod and spoil the child.” Discipline was paramount and there was no two way about it. We were taught to greet visitors without having to be coerced, we revered elders, did not talk back to our parents and could do basic house chores.
Our parents never argued in front of us. They sent us to our rooms to iron out their issues. Even neighbours had a right to discipline us for misbehaving. That cannot happen today.
Most households today are run by absentee parents who leave their homes in the wee hours of the morning before when the kids are still asleep and return in ungodly hours when the little ones have retired to bed. During weekends, the dads would be out catching up with their buddies while watching football, as the mums attend chamas and other social gatherings.
The children spend most of their time with the house help, watching television without parental guidance or get hooked to tabs, phones, computers and game consoles. Teenagers are the most vulnerable because they are at that age when their hormones start raging, are prone to peer pressure, and too experimental. It’s the time most rebel against their parents and if not well handled, can become permanently delinquent.
Many parents drink and use curse words in the presence of their children without thinking twice. When a mother insults the house help and treats her like she is inferior, the child will take the cue and act likewise. Over pampering your children will only breed spoilt brats who expect everything to be done for them even as adults. That’s why we have grown up men still living with their mothers and mature women who can’t even boil an egg.
It’s so bad nowadays that the young ones would not make room for the elderly to sit. Psychology has it that children grasp what they see more than what they are told. The modern parent needs to understand that they need to lead by example and be role models for their children. They need to instill discipline and a sense of self-worth in their children, and teach them the virtue of responsibility.
Parents must create time to bond with their children and get to know what goes on in their lives - the kind of friends they keep, what tickles their fancy, how they spend their leisure time etc. Talk to them about sex, drugs and choices in life. Let them know they can confide in you. Most parents have delegated the duty of discipline and welfare of their kids to teachers. But there is only so much a teacher can do in shaping the character of a child. It’s the parents’ responsibility to offer moral guidance to their children. Even as a single parent, ensure your child has a father or mother figure in their lives. It could be an aunt, uncle or pastor.
Parents need to go back to the drawing board. As much as times may have changed, the modern parent should borrow a leaf from our parents. If nothing is done, the modern wayward kids will end up as troubled adults. No wonder, crazy things happen to us daily.