What a week this has been for any parent worth their salt. The HEADLINES have been streaming in, in code red, and entirely alarming!!
I have been asking myself many questions, but this one is more profound, ‘Who is to blame?”
I found the answer. I am to blame as a PARENT. You are to blame as a PARENT.
For anyone raised in the ’80s and ’90s, a discussion on teenage pregnancy was a taboo. I remember that getting pregnant then was a serious crime. Where I come from, talking about sex with one’s children was an abomination. Getting pregnant young was a shock to the conscience of society.
To bring it to perspective, it was equated to crimes against humanity.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “Crimes against humanity consist of various acts—murder, extermination, enslavement, torture, forcible transfers of populations, imprisonment, rape, persecution, enforced disappearance, and apartheid, among others—when, according to the ICC, those are “committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.” The term also has a broader use in condemning other acts that, in a phrase often used, “shock the conscience of mankind.”
So why are we to blame? We have become too democratic as parents. The values and lessons instilled in us in our yesteryears have gone with the wind, in the guise of being “woke” parents.
My father, a staunch minister of the word, made a deliberate move to inculcate all his beliefs. He thought it was right and fair then to my siblings and me, military-style. Questioning him on his decisions or communication skills was tantamount to premeditated murder.
As I grew up, I knew that any fight for democracy in my father’s house was an outright suggestion that I was now of age, and could fend for myself. The fear that he had instilled in me has always reigned supreme whenever I have any queer thoughts of misbehaving.
As a parent, I am blessed with two incredible souls—a girl who has an eye for perfection in fashion and style, always stays crisp clean. Then there is the boy, born on the same day as myself, has a high affinity for mathematics, and owns the world’s cutest smile.
So what is interesting about both? They are highly opinionated, always ask the craziest questions, are intelligent, eat a lot, and both easily hack all my device passwords.
It is thus no secret that the dynamics of parenting have drastically changed.
How do we move forward from here? Do you have time for your child?
Are you too busy for your children?
Does your job take all their time?
Are your children a priority in your life?
Are your children a bother?
My answer is simple, “Instead of saying, “I don’t have time,” try saying, “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels.”
As parents, time has come for us to all realize that we have a significant influence on every future decision that our children make. Your presence and guidance in all life stages will determine how likely they are to fall into the trap of teenage misdemeanors.
Parents who listen, give their time, and accord their children proper attention are more likely bound to reap the fruits that they sowed. When these children get to teen age, they are more likely to abstain from sex and wait much longer (than their counterparts) to begin having sex.
Close parent-child relationships are a vital tenement to nurturing and protecting teenagers from early sex and pregnancy. When children know that they have someone – their parent(s) – looking out for their best interest, most avoid risky teenage behavior.
As parents, we are to blame for pushing our vulnerable teenagers into the arms of men too early in life for abandoning our parental responsibility of care and love. Though not all cases arise from rejection, most teenagers get into destructive behavior in the search for love and attention.
As parents, we all need to wake up to the realization that our individual abdication of responsibility as parents in our own homes will have a massive impact on the whole country.
Thus, our children need more of our presence. Let us stop compensating our absence with gifts if we are going to deter destructive teenage behavior.
It takes sacrifice and commitment and dying to self as we spend eighteen short – let’s be honest LIGHTNING FAST – years pouring into them and equipping them to be responsible, productive, kind, and ideally, employed adults. And make no mistake; our kids will model what they see much more than what we say. Melanie Shankle, Church of the Small Things.
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