By Chukwudi Anagbogu
Parenting is a very good experience ; one everyone, irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliation craves for. However, while childless couples wail and bemoan their fate, those with offsprings equally lament and recount the endless bottlenecks they face while catering for their children. So, being a parent brings to the fore, lots of challenges ranging from the wherewithal to take care of one's child, to managing effectively the child's inevitable behavioural transformations, to mention but a few.
It is no longer news that society is drifting towards complete lawlessness and negation /apathy for morality. Academically, socially, morally and otherwise, children of these days have been found wanting. They no longer have respect for constituted authority; they no longer take academics seriously, let alone have interest in religious activities. A lot of people have blamed this anomalies on modern science and technology, which expose children to certain information, which hitherto they wouldn't have had. This may be partly true ,but the major cause of the moral decadence in children is bad parenting.
A lot of parents have little or no time for the welfare of their wards. They spend time junketting, hunting for money, to the detriment of their children's moral and academic well-being. As important as money is, it should not take precedence over the welfare of one's children. What would one benefit making millions of naira and producing irresponsible children? What children need is time and close attention. Sacrificing one or two engagements to spend ample time with one's children would be a welcome development. This would enable a parent to easily detect any slightest change in the child's character, and make appropriate correction.
The fact that a good number of parents aid their children in examination malpractice is common knowledge. By doing so, they kill the spirit of hard work in them and create the impression that with money, all things are possible. These children end up as misfits in our society, while some metamorphose into fraudsters, killers, to mention but a few. When such happens, parents of such children throng prayer houses and 'healing ' homes seeking solutions to problems they indirectly created.
Immorality has permeated all parts of society. No section is left out. Thus, parents are not unconnected to such life style. Many of them live irresponsible lives and expect their children to be Angels. Some of them engage in extramarital affairs right before their under-aged children. Many others, especially from poor homes lure their daughters into prostitution in order to eke out a living. It is said that "when the she-goat eats fodder, its offspring watches it. " Children from such homes are the headache of our society.
Sadly, parents see schools as reformatory homes. When they try to discipline their children without success, they pass the buck to teachers, forgetting that 'charity begins at home.' They expect teachers to perform miracles on their children, forgetting that teachers are no magicians. Some of them 'dump' their wards in boarding schools simply to 'have peace of mind' and rest from the constant 'headaches' they have at home, courtesy of their wards. They forget that those children will eventually leave school and return home, worse.
Having a lot of children these days does not help matters. The fewer the children, the better. Apart from the present economic hardship taking its toll on everyone, having few children affords one ample time and opportunity to pay hundred percent attention on their children's welfare.
To this end, parents should visit their wards' schools periodically to ascertain their general performance and conduct in school. Gone are the days parents vouched for their children's innocence. This is because today, people see child bearing as a mere act of proving One's virility. Parenthood goes beyond this. If one must have a child,one must be able to provide moral, academic and social training for such a child.
The best legacy a parent bequeaths to a child is moral and academic training, and not landed property and money. A child is as good as his/her parents.
Parenting is a missionary call. Neglecting one's duties as a parent is an act of irresponsibility. It is tantamount to planting a timebomb which would definitely explode someday. Catch the children young. Do not wait till they become adults. Show them parental love, not pampering. When we begin to have a good mumber of responsible parents, children will become more responsible, and in future we would have responsible and responsive leaders.