By Sgt Nathalie Ranger
If we want to stop violence, we need to understand what causes it in the first place. Young men who carry out acts of serious violence are often experiencing deep-rooted problems. The majority of youths in custody are themselves victims of abuse. Some experience suffering and violence at home; the struggle many of these children have experienced so early in their short lives is a key factor in their violent criminal behaviour.
Kids start developing their sense of self as babies, when they see themselves through their parent’s eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language and your every expression are absorbed by your children. Your words and actions as a parent affect their self-esteem more than anything else.
Parents - how involved are you in your children’s lives? How well do you think you know them? Do you attend regular parent’s teacher’s association (PTA) meetings? Or better yet do you know the names of your children teachers? How about their friends and their friends’ parents? Do you know what your children are doing after school?
We have been hooked onto our phones, or social media or somewhere else while we should have been paying attention to our children. Parenting is a skill which must be practised diligently, it is one of the most challenging jobs in the world to raise a problem free child who is a proper balance of morals, values and discipline. Each child is different and so is the parent. The idea of rearing a child differs from parent to parent.
Are you too carefree as a parent, giving your children the power to decide everything? In such cases, kids become their own masters, going to bed late, getting up late, doing absolutely everything at their will. Owing to hectic lifestyles and both parents working, no one does the work of disciplining the kids as life is already chaotic. If this is how your children live their lives, this is what they will do when they visit their aunt or cousin. They simply would not know how to behave appropriately. Discipline is the only way your kids grow up knowing right and wrong. Parents need to do some real hard work to raise children who know how to behave properly. There will be times when kids will test the parents by breaking rules, hence parents need to establish and clearly communicate the consequences of breaking those rules.
Prents - are you giving your children any of your time? Guilty of being glued to your phone screen when your child is demanding you play with him/ her? Got an official call and cannot listen to your child telling you about his/her day? Stop! Your children do not just need food or money from you, they want to speak to you, share their experiences and sometimes need to hear your comforting words. Communication is the only thing that will strengthen your bond, not expensive gifts. The deal should be to be the parents your children want to hug and spend time with, not the ones who are like ATM machines. Kids may inadvertently perform odd behaviour to attract parent’s attentions. At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents
Put your children on a schedule. Kids are more likely to pick up negative activities or fall into the wrong crowd when they are not on a schedule. After school programmes such as subject lessons are a great option to ensure your child has an advantage in class. Other options such as sporting teams, music and band participation are also great options. I know as parents you get so busy trying to provide the best for your little darlings that you just do not view these things as important, but an involved parent is a more informed parent and it lessens your children’s chances to succumbing to peer pressure, experimenting with drugs, becoming teen mothers and getting - involved with gang activity. Children who are properly cared for become more competent and independent adults.
Speak life into your children - labelling them as lazy or dumb and using these words in public can significantly hurt a child and lower his/her self-esteem. Likewise, if you criticise your child’s efforts or look down upon him/her by comparing with others achievements, then your child may develop feelings of jealousy and resentment
Do not fulfil every wish that your children has. Every parent wants the best for their children, and some can practically afford almost everything a child desires. Do you reach out to your pocket the moment your child sets his/her eyes on a new toy or a new dress? Hold on! Buying everything your child lay their finger on is again a sign of bad parenting. Such kids fail to understand the value of money. They will demand anything from you anytime expecting you to present it to them, whatever your circumstances. Even after they grow up, such kids end up hopelessly on financial fronts and are unable to level responsibilities. Sometimes, this need may provoke them to steal, lie or become rude. We must set good examples and be a positive role model in our children lives. Be the person we want our kids to be.
Parents - let’s raise good productive children.
· Do not turn a blind eye when your child is doing wrong
· Do not start disciplining your children at the adolescent stage. At this stage, their mind-set is already develop and is open to peer pressure
· Start discipline at the toddler stage
· Have structure in your child’s life
· Know their whereabouts at all times
· Do not leave your children uncared for to be at risked. Get involved with every aspect of their lives
· Give your children a strong foundation of discipline and godliness
· Boost their self-esteem
· Set limits and be consistent with your discipline
· Make communication a priority
· Tell your children that you love them and show that your love is unconditional
· Teach them that manners, respect for themselves and others will take them through the world
· Be more aware, attentive and alert.