Lack of parental guidance a major cause of indiscipline among children
Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA) Executive Director, Beverly Braithwaite-Chan is adamant that lack of proper parental guidance is a main contributory factor for disciplinary behaviour among children.
Speaking at the recently held open forum to promote safe, acceptable behaviours and positive values in schools at the Guyana International Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Mrs Braithwaite-Chan said that parents have to first understand their children before they embark on addressing their problems.
She said that many parents seldom interact with their children on matters of relationships and the changes from childhood to adolescence or try to find out the issues that might be affecting them.
The seasoned counsellor is adamant that the communication gap between parents and their children may be as a result of many parents being young and ill-prepared for parenting.
Chan stressed too that parents cannot enlighten their children when they do not have the knowledge to do so and their failure to connect with their children is the reason they cannot correct their problem.
This communication gap, she said, has allowed the children to venture into various types of negative behaviour, a view supported by several Georgetown secondary school students.
Fifth Form student, Erica Chappell, of the Bishops High School, one of the most disciplined schools in the country, said that on most occasions, students with rude behaviour hail from backgrounds where they receive little supervision at home.
The fifth former who also posited that indisciplined behaviour at Bishop’s High is seldom, stressed that parents need to communicate more with their children as this will go a far way in helping them to overcome their challenges.
At the forum too Chappell’s colleague, Krysta Newton, was of the view that all schools, irrespective of their track record in discipline, should institute a mentoring programme. This, Newton noted, will not only ensure that there are disciplined students in schools, but also play a vital role in building their self-esteem.
Apart from the mentoring programme, the Bishops High student believes that all schools must have sports, environmental and other clubs to channel students’ negative energy into positive and productive behaviour.
Florel Harris, who is also a fifth former but of Tutorial High School, said that unlike the Bishops High, students at her school are not that well behaved.
She observed that the indiscipline at her school occurs primarily among third, fourth and fifth form students and in some cases, the behaviour displayed by the perpetrators at school is quite the opposite to the one they show when at home.
Celeste Lindo, a fifth form student of Cummings Lodge Secondary School, said that most students misbehave to get attention. She suggested that parents should communicate more with their children because this approach can be an effective measure to solve the problem.
Lindo also underscored that all class teachers should have clearly established rules governing students behaviour, penalties for the various kinds of misdemeanours and the rules must be rigidly enforced by the teachers.
The Ministry of Education recently instituted several interventions to address the problem of indiscipline in school. These include the placement of Guidance Counsellors in schools where the problem has been reported the most, searching students and recently, launching of a National Mentoring Programme.
The Health and Family Life Education programme will also be introduced in more schools and will be part of the curriculum in the next academic year according to ministry officials. In addition, the Ministry has also been working to resuscitate and strengthen the Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in school as parents have an important role to play in imparting values of discipline and proper conduct to their children. A national PTA Coordinator was recently appointed to oversee the process.
More recently, stakeholders at the education forum have proposed the introduction of a special training programme for parents to sensitise them of their roles and responsibilities.
It was not determined who will take on the responsibility of the training workshops for parents and Education Minister Shaik Baksh has indicated that his ministry cannot carry off that task on its own.