The most profitable investment a society can possess is a crop of discipline and God-fearing future leaders. This becomes a reality through proper attention, which creates an enabling environment for the youths to learn and to unlearn the good things and various vices respectively in the society. This concern for the youngsters is to be carried out through proper direction, and guidance, and even charities to them when the need arises.
The focus must not only be on their wrongdoing but also to encourage their good deeds. They become obstinate if castigated and their goodness never appreciated. Nevertheless, one becomes a bad mentor if one desired to catch fish for them always rather than teaching them to catch fish. They should be taught to do things themselves have shown them the way. The attitude of some youth as consumers and never producers retards their growth in all ramification of life. The elderly people are obliged to create the awareness among the youths of the great potentials in them that can be brought to reality as their contribution to the societal growth, which must be accorded with suitable recognition for better and improved performance in the nearest future.
However, the stable of the youths today is the by-product of our society. It is an indisputable fact that the attitude the youth put up today is not innate but acquired. No thanks to the spirit of consumerism in our world, this is being encouraged by materialism. The mass involvement of the youth in vices is as a result of the societal projection of negativity at the expense of positive thinking or approach to things. Probably if we are positive in our approach, things may begin to change, such as “movement of discipline, movement of dignity in labour” and the like.
1. Adolescence can indeed be a turbulent time.
“Young people who obey the law are wise; who seek out worthless companions bring shame to their parents.”
Life moves in stages in its gradual and sequential movement, it is inseparable from crosses or toils. Crosses and toils seem to be the bricks with which the structure called life were erected. It is right really for a normal mind to sometimes question why in life roughness proceeds joy.
A United Nation report has rightly described adolescence as “a period of transition commonly characterized by stress and anxiety.” Adolescence can indeed be a turbulent time. Prevalent at this crucial period of adolescence are characteristical acts of indiscipline such as truancy, stealing, fighting, underage drinking and smoking, disrespect for elders, drug abuse, sex abuse, cheating, indecent dressing, lying and violence; to mention but few. All these constitute what is generally known as juvenile delinquency.
2. Delinquency behaviour in adolescents.
Delinquency behaviour in adolescents if not properly handled can lead to permanent deformation of the person and character of the adolescents. Thus, it is essential that parents know how to properly handle these common, but delicate problems associated with adolescence. “Children need a firm moral centre,” says Dr Robert Shaw, “the kind of anchoring that helps them pick appropriate friends, make the right decisions and view others empathetically.” Parents can provide this moral centre by paying attention to the following:
i. Build the positive parent-child relationship.
This can only be achieved when parents can spend more time with their children and learn to listen attentively to them. It is essential that parents build family togetherness and positive parent-child relationship. Always be there for your children when they need you. In some cases, effective moral instructions were then thrown to the wind. I wonder which society would try without a sound moral foundation.
The family that serves as the first grand of learning as also witnessed the upsurge of the reign of the maid, since today the mother is in Kano on business and the husband in Hong-Kong for a trip. The children are hence poorly cared for; the love for children has now turned into the love of money.
ii. Monitor your child’s activities.
Monitoring here does not connote parents “policing” their children. It is a fact that unsupervised youth can easily get themselves into trouble. Always ask where your child is going, with whom and what for. Do not make the mistake of believing that your child is old enough to know whom to move with, where to go and where not to go.
iii. Set rules and guidelines to regulate the behaviour of your child.
These rules and guidelines are meant to inculcate discipline into your child. Appropriate discipline must be applied firmly and consistently when these rules are floated. The Bible says, “Folly’s bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him” (proverb 2:15). Learn to discipline your child. Be firm, but also be gentle and kind. Remember, children who receive little discipline when growing up may actually find it difficult to become self-disciplined later on in life.
iv. Get to know your child’s friends.
The fact that you do not allow your children to come home with their friends implies that you will never get to meet and know those who may actually be shaping the mind and character of your child. Good parents are not afraid to make their opinions about their children’s friends known to them. Do not hesitate to cut your children away from friends that can ruin your children’s character and person. Know this, “children” Richard L. Strauss says, “are the sum of what parents contribute to their lives.” So, help your child to pick appropriate friends.
v. Adopt a “democratic” style of the parent.
Allow your child’s voice to be heard. The best way to get your children to open up to you is never to “silence” your children’s voice. Making the home atmosphere pleasant and friendly helps to keep children at home, closer and more open to their parents. So love, caring and attentive to your children.
vi. Be a role model.
What you do in the presence of your children matters a lot. The best way to succeed as parents are to follow the advice you give to your own children. The Lord warns. “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and be drowned in the depth of the sea”(Mathew. 18:5-6). Parents, be responsible, teach your children by examples.
The divine injunction for parents to bring up their children in the way of the Lord is of immense spiritual and psychological benefits to the parents themselves. “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest, he will give delight to your heart.” Proverbs 29: 17). Helping adolescents in crisis is synonymous with building a solid foundation for the tomorrow of the human society.
Parents who devote their time and energy to provide a solid moral anchorage for their wards are wise investors. As the Bible says, “to discipline and reprimand a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.”(Proverbs 29:15).
3. Predicaments of the youthful period.
This challenging “cross crown” life phenomenon, which cuts across every stage of life, reaches its apex in the youth age. Though every stage of life has its predicaments that of the youthful period are more. The youthful period is a stage that constitutes the determinant factor of man’s lot in life. In other words, it is one where man becomes the architect of either his fortunes or misfortunes.
It is chiefly marked or characterized by vigour, vibrancy, strength and liveliness. Though it is a bundle of favourable qualities, these values, however, could easily be abused if the youth fails to harness them properly.
The failure to adequately explore these golden values of the youthful period is due to the “quick answer” tendency, which is the major thorn embodied in this period. This destructive tendency frustrates or deprives the youth of the strong will to endure or put up with stresses that must necessarily be encountered on the path to success. In effect, the youth may seek consolation in what he perceives as a shortcut to success.
The onus now lies on parents. I wish to remind all parents that they are obliged to pay proper attention to their children by giving them the required guidance, direction and support children are God’s gift to parents and will be accountable to God as to how those gifts are being directed. Many parents have failed in their duties because they pursue wealth thereby not creating time to attend to their children.
Every family should examine itself to see how it has contributed to the vices in the society today and rectify it. If every family can courageously look inward to sanitize itself the youngsters will be the probe of their vices and virtues planted.
Each family must be concerned about the way of life of every member of the family. In as much as the parents are expected to lead, they must show good examples that can be emulated to live a life of deception makes the children live the unfulfilled life.