Oct 14, 2014 Editorial
Reading Adam Harris’s Sunday commentary (The disappearing parent and the errant youth October 12) after the apt cartoon entitled “School for parents” in the same edition, brought to mind that it is time that everyone should take stock of what is happening to the family in Guyana.
First of all there is no disagreeing that the state of the Guyanese family is perilous with some categories at serious risk of extinction through the actions of state agencies.
Seeing the two parents being roped in to attend school for parents might be funny if it was not so poignantly true. Looking at the female parent in particular with her little clothes, in company of her partner who clearly has his mind on anything but parenting except as the sperm donor, is revealing.
We are asked to recognize that these two people are parents out enjoying themselves. No harm in that. The problem arises when we are asked to consider that these same two adults have probably left young children at home (or at some relative) while they take in the available entertainment.
One can perhaps understand the need for people to want to have fun; for some it is the only way they know how to cope with what they have experienced of life thus far. Careful note should be taken that it is not suggested that life had thrown anything at them because more-often-than-not, the lot that many find themselves in is of their own making.
Almost everyone knows of the many women-headed households that are left without adult supervision because the mother has to go out on a nighttime job to put food on the table. One has to wonder if any serious thought is given to what devices those unattended children are up to during the time the parent is at work.
One can perhaps sympathise, but is that all that society can do? Then there is the other type of single parent household headed by females who may be working at a day job, but can always find the time to pay attention to what their children are doing and show an interest in who their children’s friends are and what they have been doing.
Note that no distinction is being made between care for boys as against scrutiny of our girl children because it is the opinion of this column that both boys and girls are equally at serious risk of all manner of problems and therefore equally vulnerable to abuse.
What perhaps needs careful attention is the situation where female-headed households are left unattended at nights because the mother has to seek her own recreational pursuits. Some of these uncaring females who for the most part may be unmarried have been known to excuse their actions by saying that they have to find a husband and therefore must go “places to see faces.”
If that is not the height of ignorance then maybe ignorance needs to be redefined. Imagine a woman in – let us say mid to late thirties with three girl children the eldest being seventeen and the youngest four years old leaving her home at ten in the night to go and hang out with friends because she explains, she must have quality time for herself.
A casual examination of the areas which offer open air entertainment all year round would reveal an alarming fact particularly when the patrons are identified. A correlation is established between these places, the patrons who for the most part stand around on the roadway imbibing their alcoholic beverage of choice, and the type of young people who end up becoming teenage parents, or perpetrators or victims of crime.
It is high time that all stakeholders get a grip on reality and understand that something has to be done to save children from themselves but more importantly children must be saved from uncaring parents.
Parents who are only interested in going places to see faces must be condemned in the strongest possible manner. Mothers becoming mothers and grandmothers at the same time, seems to be the norm in contemporary Guyana, but this phenomenon is only an indication of a bigger social problem aggravated by a fatalistic acceptance of the burdens that Guyanese seem unable or unwilling to remove.
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