Trying to keep the fabric intact and strong
Guyana Chronicle
April 10, 2002

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CLOSE monitoring of and genuine interest and concern in their children's activities are crucially important in parents ensuring that they embark on the correct path in life.

But far too many parents today seem too engrossed in their personal pursuits which take up too much of their time, leaving very little for paying greater interest in the welfare of their children.

This neglect inflicts in many instances lifelong psychological and in some cases physical wounds.

The number of fires caused by unattended children, which in some cases have taken the lives of children, tells a story and this state of affairs brings into focus the value system. Which is more important - the welfare of children or the pursuit of personal endeavours?

It has long been accepted that it is the duty of parents to love, protect and care for their children. In fact, it is an innate characteristic of both man and animal.

However, while animals have remained basically unchanged because their behaviour is mainly controlled by instinct, man has the unique power of reasoning.

Consequently, he is influenced by a multitude of factors and his behaviour and actions are much more complicated.

While the industrial age and modernisation have improved the material wellbeing of man, it has had a tremendous negative impact on his thoughts and actions. It has influenced him to become selfish and more concerned with the pursuit of materialism, creating in the process a man that is less concerned with the suffering of the underprivileged and downtrodden.

And that entrenched attitude has perhaps now extended itself to parents neglecting even their children.

The end result is that the lives of too many children have been affected through sexual molestation and abuse of all forms and terrible psychological harm due to lack of love, affection and attention. No babysitter or child-care personnel can replace the warmth of parents because children need both material and psychological security to realise their full potential.

Social scientists have long found out that parental neglect has been significantly responsible for rebellious behaviour of children.

This is evident in North American societies where both parents are engrossed in work and children are left at child-care institutions.

Unfortunately, this trend is catching on in many developing countries where traditionally the family unit and bond were strong.

President Bharrat Jagdeo recently pointed to the need for parents to closely monitor and supervise their children in relation to programmes they view on television.

The situation needs to be dramatically reversed or else subtly and slowly the social fabric of the country will be ruptured, undermining the developmental process.

The ministries of Education, Social Security and all institutions and agencies that have a responsibility for ensuring the improvement of social infrastructure need to review the disturbing trend and try to come up with strategies that could keep the fabric intact and strong.