How bad parenting creates our social challenges

By Barr. Ugonna Afam-Echi

Today there are myriads of issues confronting Nigeria as a country. The society from all indicators is adjudged to be grossly in bad shape. Some scholars contend that we make society and others hold too that we are products of society. If our actions jointly help to shape society it means that a bad society is a product of all our bad actions. In computer jargon, we hear ”garbage in garbage out”
The implication of this theory is that we hold the capacity to shape our environment in the manner we want. In other words, we reap what we sow. Almost everyone is concerned about the ills of society because the consequences are impinging on all without exception. With each passing day and in spite of all the efforts to improve the quality of life social issues subtracts from the benefits.
All around us the prevalence of crimes in the form of scams, drugs, illicit business, violence, rapes, money rituals, exam malpractices, financial frauds, etc dominate our social discourse. These issues are more pronounced among the youth groups. So much efforts and resources committed in fighting crimes by the authorities could have been deployed to other more gainful areas.
Worse, the more the government commits to fighting these social concerns the more it keeps spiking in forms and numbers. Crime is an ill wind that blows none any good. The question is that if all of us yearn for a decent society because of its ultimate benefits for all where then does crime originate from.
A popular scriptural saying goes, ”train a child in the way he should go and when he grows up he will never depart from it.” If the foregoing statement is anything to go by it means that parents who have groomed the youths that are responsible for the concerns expressed may have failed in their responsibility to give their children a good upbringing. This reality may be located when we examine to what extent and what roles exactly that parents have played in shaping the character of their offspring.
Sociologists and educationists teach us that the first education a child engages in his life comes from the home where he is socialised to the norms and values of the society he belongs. It is given that no sane and decent society would communicate such negative values or attitudes that destroy the environment. It is discovered that this is the point, the base where the war is lost.
Sociologists also tell us that the mind of the child is like a clean slate, whatever that is written on it is what it absorbs. If therefore we sow good seeds we should reap bountiful dividends. Some have contended that peer influence and environmental factors arising from the effects of science and technology breed corrupt influence on the child. This is however countered by the claim that if a child is given a good background moral base he is bound to shun any negative tendencies.
It complained that most parents by virtue of their professional calling and the urgent need for survival hardly spare time for their kids. The result is that others will bring up the child or the child will bring himself up in the manner he likes. Unconsciously too, parents indulge in activities that negatively influence their child’s behaviour. A child begins to learn the short cuts to achieving results from a parent who will buy him admission chance when he has failed to qualify in an exam.
It is also a thing of serious concern that all the institutions that should act as moral agents such as the religious groups, schools, community associations etc are also terribly challenged with some burdens as well. We are therefore calling on parents to re-examine themselves and their roles in grooming their children with a view to righting the wrongs of the society. The earlier the better because the young ones of today will soon become the parents of the morrow.
No one can ever give what he does not have as expressed in that legal maxim, ”Nemo Dat quad non-habet.” Many parents who have bad social habits can only but transmit same to their offspring. Children in their formative age believe the world begins and ends in their parents. They do not understand the limitations of their parents. Little wonder they believe that their parents can do everything.
They see life through their parents and so whatever a dad or mum does is seen as right. They will continue to hold this and demonstrate the same until they grow up to be convinced otherwise through experiences. Are you surprised then that young ones begin to relive the lifestyles of their parents? Most of the negative tendencies we complain about in the young ones like gambling, womanizing, lying, and all manner of indiscipline were picked up from parents who provide a corrupt influence on their kids.
In many cases, most of our kids are not parented at all and circumstances have compelled them to seek directions for themselves. This perhaps accounts very much for the strange behaviour we experience among the youths sometimes compelling one to ask if these young ones had any form of home training. Many times we have been confronted with situations that we have had to ask such questions.
Sadly, many of the so-called parents emerged by accident or chance and were very much unprepared to assume such roles. Parenting is a great responsibility. It takes a lot of qualities to play that role. You can imagine what to expect from teenagers who forced themselves to become parents through sexual escapades that brought unwanted kids. These kids are left to grow by themselves without attention or at best dumped on an extended relation who may also be challenged.
When we see our young parents who are out there in the streets touting and putting up all manner of despicable behaviours what do you expect to come from them as children. It is not surprising that we have continued to experience soaring misconducts and sometimes harrowing experiences arising from the behaviour of our youths. The situation degenerates with each passing day as the quality of life diminishes.
This is the reason it gives cause for concern to wonder what happens to our society in the next five to ten years in the light of what we are experiencing presently. Making a projection it is easy to conclude that if the present trend continues as it is likely we can only but imagine the level of insecurity that will confront us then in all facets.
The question is, are we ready to confront the dark and stark realities ahead. We have continued to make giant strides in science and technology and pride ourselves in what we call improved lifestyles but have continued to experience a downward slide in our morals. Imagine the numerous rape cases, scams, armed robbery cases, assassinations, prostitution, thuggery etc.
It is painful too that all the moral agents or institutions that can help to salvage the situation are also not in good shape to address the problem. This is the reason it falls back on the parents to reassert themselves and play very well their parenting roles to save our society. Everything begins from the root. The parents have no choice than to save us from the ugly situation we have found ourselves. In my own thinking parents are responsible for the challenging social issues that are confronting us.

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