Too lazy to make the effort

Too lazy to make the effort

Sep 29, 2017 Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom, https://www.kaieteurnewsonline...o-make-the-effort-3/

A great many of our children have met their deaths after being sent to purchase items for their parents or simply being allowed to roam free about their communities.

A great many of the children who are killed in road accidents are those who were sent out on some errand by their parents.

Often these children are sent out in the early evenings to the shops to make some purchase for the home. On their way either to the shop or when returning home, they find themselves the victims of an accident.

Yet the trend continues whereby some parents continue to entrust to small children the responsibility to run errands, oblivious to the dangers that these children face.

There is also another side to this practice. Many of the parents are too lazy to go out and get the items themselves, thus behaving like exploiters. They simply call on their children, interrupting whatever play activity the children may be involved in, and order them to get whatever they, the parents want.

Sometimes it may be a pack of cigarettes or simply a box of matches.

And sometimes the children pay for those simple purchases with their lives, ending up dead after being struck down while on the way to the shop.

Why would any parent wish to take their child away from the fun of playing or whatever else the child may be doing just to go and purchase a packet of cigarettes? These children are turned into servants and are forced to go to make these purchases because the parents are too lazy to make the effort.

Sometimes it is not cigarettes that the child goes to purchase.

Sometimes it is rum for the parents to imbibe.

There should be laws, if there aren’t at the moment, against the sale of alcohol and cigarettes to children. These laws should be vigorously enforced. But, importantly, those parents who make a habit of sending their children to do errands which can be easily done, should be counseled about the dangers to which they are exposing their children and about the denial of free time to their kids.

This is not to say that children should not do chores. But these chores need to be within reason.

Children should be encouraged to wash dishes, make their beds, sweep the home and keep the yard tidy. And this should be a collective effort.

Many parents, however, simply allocate responsibilities to children without sharing in the burden of the work. This is not good for the development of children.

Children learn what they see, and they should see the chores to which they are entrusted as part of their small contribution to the work of the family. They should be helpers rather than being assigned exclusive responsibility in any area.

Many parents would however prefer to sit and watch television or go out and drink with their friends while burdening their kids with work. It is something that the Rights of the Child Commission should issue an advisory on.

Another disturbing practice occurs when children are left to roam free after school or during the holidays. All over Guyana this is a common practice, whereby parents simply allow their children to do as they please once they return home before nightfall. If the child only slips up and returns home late, it is greeted with a flogging. The parent fails to understand that they are contributing to the very act for which they are reprimanding the child by not supervising the child’s free or playtime.

Allowing your child to roam free is an invitation for your child to get involved in mischief and trouble. Yet you see this all the time where parents have little time for their children after school and during the holidays.

This neglect may be forced on parents. Some of them may have to work and cannot afford to hire a sitter.

As such they either leave the child alone or send them to some relative or friend who may themselves be too busy or unconcerned about what the child does.

So instead of the child being supervised, he or she is left to do as he or she pleases, including associating with company that invites trouble and mischief.

Then there are those parents such as vendors who often are forced to have their children with them after school. The children are simply left to sit with their parents wasting valuable hours. This, too, is a form of neglect which should be stamped out.

It is hoped that the relevant agencies can come up with a plan, including an educational plan, to make parents more conscious of their responsibilities as parents. It is not just about placing food on the table.

There are many of us whose parents never had enough to put on the table, but gave us more in the time and attention that they dedicated to our rounded development.

That role needs to be revisited, especially at this time where the interests of our children are increasingly being sacrificed for other things.

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