Let’s groom future leaders and not criminals

As parents, we all want what is best for our children. Parents have big aspirations for their children and would stop at nothing to make this happen. We all want our children to accomplish big things in life.

The bragging rights among parents lately are about how well you have groomed your off springs and what do they do in life. Therefore, parents push too hard because they want nothing but success for their children.
It is this parental love that at times make us to be unwittingly out of touch with reality. The sad reality is that today’s parenting is different and much more complicated that of the yesteryears. In the good olden days, parenting wasn’t as compounded like these days. Parents staunchly subscribed to the notion that it takes a village to raise a child. They believed that “lore lo ojwa le sale metsi.” Loosely translated, it is easy to mould clay whilst it is still soft. For indeed children must be taught respect at an early age, because it is harder to do so when they are older. Any elderly person could at any given time scold a child for bad behaviour, possibly dish out a few lashes and drag them home to their parents. As a sign of disapproval of the child’s behaviour, they would also in turn add to the misery and add a few whips themselves. That was a common and acceptable practise. It worked.
Well, not in today’s world where parents have exclusive ownership to their children. Not in today’s world where unruly learners can terrorize educators and in the process, even leave seasoned teachers helpless and reduced to tears.  A deadly mistake of our lifetime in all senses and combinations. Sadly, it is this modern-day approach to parenting that has led to the rise in the rate of juvenile delinquency in our land.
Indeed, a recent and worrisome trend has emerged. To ignore it will be at own peril. The country has witnessed a sharp increase in the number of youth who conflict with the law in the recent years.  Our correctional facilities are bursting at the seams with young people who are supposed to be at school preparing to take up future leadership roles and positions.  This suggests that something has gone horribly wrong with parenting these days. Admittedly, children these days are exposed to all sorts of challenges which have an influence in their young lives. Apart from challenges such as peer pressure, teenage pregnancy - to mention a few - technology is also not making parenting easier these days.  Unlike in the yesteryears, today’s children carry mobile phones and they have become an essential part of their lives. Parents buy them these gargets out of love as it is crucial to be in touch with your young ones at any given time. Truth be told, it is these gargets where our children are exposed to unpalatable material while they are still wet behind the ears. Children use them to consume pornographic and violent material at an early stage. And how many parents monitor what these kids consume on the phones? Some parents have shirked their responsibilities in the name of love and is costing them and this beautiful country dearly. Some want to blame the teachers for their kids’ unbecoming behaviour. Some parents notice delinquent behaviour in their own kids at an early stage but conveniently ignore that. In their view that is supposed to be dealt with by teachers. That is wrong. Parents must take responsibility for their children’s behaviour at all times.
Until we take full ownership of the behaviour of our own kids, we run the risk of not adequately guiding our children. Sadly, the number of youth going to our prisons will escalate which could spell a disaster for the future generation of this country.
Ofentse Morwane.