#Features

Wrong time to spare the rod

By Maria Famakinwa

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In today’s modern world, the decline of morals among teenagers is very evident coupled with parental failure to care and nurture their children to enable them fit into the acceptable norms and values of the society.
Since the family remains the child’s mirror to the world, many are blaming parents and guardians for the social vices confronting the country which they claimed is the bane of the country’s challenges and are calling on them to understand the fact that correcting a child’s misdemeanor should not be mistaken for child’s abuse as many erroneously believe.
There is need to remind parents/guardians that kids are not born with right attitude and values but are like sponges. They absorb everything they see or hear. It then behoves on parents and adults, to steer them to the right path. Given the high rate of children and teenagers involved in various crimes across the country it is obvious that parents and guardians are failing in their expected duties of training and moulding children to fit into today’s world because we are in a society that blames parents when a child does wrong.
November last year, the Lagos State Police Command confirmed the death of a 19-year-old boy, Maduabuchi Okeke, who died during a sex romp at a hotel in the Surulere area of the State. It was also reported last year December that a 17-year-old Joshua died in Ondo State after taking a psychotropic substance popularly known as Colorado which he collected from his friends who were already in the habit of taking hard drugs. Also, in the same State, a 10-year-old Suliya Abubakar was arrested last year December by the State Police Command for throwing her 20-month-old step brother, Usman Abubakar inside well claiming that her step mother maltreated her.
In this New Year was another reported case of an 18-year-old Esther who was apprehended by the Benue State Police Command after she allegedly set her boyfriend, Chidinma, ablaze when she was told that her boyfriend travelled to his village to pay the bride price of another girl he intended to marry, an allegation Chidinma vehemently denied. A 20-year-old man, Abubakar Amodu, was also paraded recently by the Force Public-Relations Officer in Abuja for conniving with a gang to kidnap his father for N20m ransom. In today’s modern world, the decline of morality among our teenagers is very evident as most of them are into internet fraud and belong to different cults.
The Hope spoke to some parents and teachers on how to save our teenagers from needless distractions. In the submission of a 76 years old grandfather, Pa Ebunoluwa Iledayo, who lamented the lost of morals among today’s children, he explained that he trained his children with words and cane, depending on the type their nature required, as he blamed parents for failing in their calling. He said, “The truth is that today’s parents have abdicated their primary responsibility of building up their homes and families in pursuit of wealth, riches, material things, career, pleasure and fun, and have developed all manner of excuses to justify their negligence of this noble duty, all to the detriment of the children who are now growing into monsters and deviant social misfits.”
On the solution to this, Pa Iledayo appealed to parents and guardians to create time for their children and not to withhold cane when it is needed to correct a child, adding that any child not strictly cautioned to behave properly will ultimately become spoilt. “The family is one of the most important parts of our lives as we are closely involved in it from birth till death. In case of any decadence, the family gets affected first and the most. Since children’s behaviour reflects the parents’, workaholic parents who hardly have time for their children or endow them with less emotional attention are bound to end up raising morally flawed children.” he warned.
Sharing a similar sentiment, a parent and teacher, Mrs Feyikemi Adekanmi, hinted that the large chunk of irresponsible parents of today are to be blamed for teenagers moral decadence. She said, “Every parent you meet talks about the good old days when children were brought up with sound morals and ethical sanctity. Why is it that parents who are privileged to have received such quality up bringing in times past are the ones bringing up useless, irresponsible and morally decadent children who are into yahoo plus, cults, armed robbery and rituals, in order to become rich overnight?. They are the same parents who register their children in miracle centres to pass external examinations like WAEC, JAMB etc. They are the ones who will come to school to beat up teachers for correcting their children for sagging or wearing miniskirts.
“That is why some youths are now riding expensive cars that their parents cannot afford. They change girls as they like without anybody questioning them. Some we heard even built houses and furnished them for their parents who are now living in the houses comfortably without asking where they got the money from. Some students in secondary schools already are looking up to these yahoo boys as role models and if care is not taken, they might toe their paths after secondary school, because they also want to live big like them. There is something seriously wrong and parents should take the blame for these shameful and troubling failures.”
On the solution, the teacher advised parents to get to know their children better and the company they keep, instead of living everything to their teachers or maids.”Though teachers also have some roles to play in bringing up the students, parents play major roles in this regard, because students only spend few hours in school compared to homes. For instance, parents must be interested in the type of films, videos, music their children watch and listen to, because they are no longer censored. They should be curious of the sites their children go to on Android phones and feel more concerned about what pertains to their children and wards welfare. These will help to some extent because children today are facing a lot of distractions.”
In the submission of a counselor, Mrs Olutoyin Junaid, she observed that there is tremendous moral decay among the youth in the society and blamed it on modernisation, charging parents to be more proactive at protecting their children against what she described as modern world youth tsunami.
Her words, “Technology and the increasing fast trends in globalization have turned the society upside down and the youths are the fast hit in these changing trends. Though some blame it on youthful exuberance, my take is that any youth who grows with the fear of God will exhibit limitations in what he/she does. Youths should be taught the right path to positive living. Boys who wear torn trousers and fry their hairs or wear an ear-ring do not make themselves good musicians, international footballers or even star actors. These looks and attachments make the person irresponsible and mean.
“Likewise, women and girls who wear mini-skirts and dresses to seduce and lure men into their traps debase their womanhood and make them worthless before men. Parents who fail to correct their children when they err do not love them. Failure to use the rod on children when needed is parental failure. The rod is not just cane, it connotes firm correction when a child errs. You cannot be permissive with a child all the time and expect such to grow up with good morals. Gone are the days when children were disciplined for any wrongdoing. Today’s parents see it as child abuse. The parenting focus in the past few years has shifted to child-centred. We often let them off the hook and are rarely held accountable for their actions. More than ever before, our children need attention and guidance for a peaceful society because there are distractions around them that can lead them astray.”
The counselor stressed further that it is the responsibility of parents to instill moral values into their children as early as possible because children look up to their parents as their role models. “If we want our children to grow up and be productive members of the society, we must teach them how to go about it. We must let them understand that joining yahoo for quick money leads to untimely death. We should make them realise that raping, armed robbery or involving in rituals end in early graves by citing examples of such cases in different countries and how they ended. Our children should be taught that there is dignity in labour and should work hard to achieve their aims. Doing all these will help to give them right focus. The increased rate of teenagers in different cells across the country as daily reported is pointing to the fact that family as the smallest unit of the society is falling, and the only way forward is to apply the catch them young approach. That is, parents and guardians should start training the children when they are young before they get wrong training outside for a peaceful society.”

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