Making parents aware of their responsibilities Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
August 8, 2002

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THERE have been several recent incidents in which especially young children have been seriously injured, or in some cases, have died, after being left on their own.

In one case, an infant who was left alone at home unfortunately perished when the house was destroyed by fire.

In most such tragedies and incidents, it has been reported that the parent or parents were away from home, with the children under none, inadequate or inappropriate supervision.

There are several reasons why children are left alone at home - working parents who have no one to take care of them; frustration resulting from the pressures of trying to eke out a living.

But it is apparent that in some cases, parents failed to exercise due care and attention and a programme is needed to ensure all are aware of the obligations of caring for children.

While it may be difficult for working parents especially to always have their young children under proper supervision while they are away from home, they have to make every effort to avoid leaving them alone.

Many people are under difficult circumstances but nothing can justify parents neglecting their children to the point of endangering their lives.

The first and foremost responsibility of parents is the protection, well being and upliftment of their children and that must be the priority.

It is universally accepted that the children of today are the future of the world and it is the responsibility of society to prepare them to fulfill their roles in fashioning a world that is peaceful, harmonious, disciplined and progressive.

And in that process parents have the greatest responsibility.

While it is undeniable that part of the solution to this problem lies in greater and more effective education of parents, the authorities should look at steps to help those who are hard-pressed better care for their young.

The Government has announced its intentions to make legislative changes to bring laws up to date with current changes and developments.

Laws and acts pertaining to the neglect of children should also be included to see if these meet current conditions.

Parents have a legal responsibility to looking after their children and the authorities should move to ensure all parents are aware of this - and the consequences of failing in their duty.

In this regard, the Human Services and Welfare Department and non-governmental organisations can play an integral role.

They can help in the revision/institution of new laws and enforcing them in an effort to curb what is a disturbing trend among some parents in not seeming to care enough for their offspring.

They can also help in better educating especially young parents about the heavy responsibilities of parenting.