Parents must be good role models

Editorial

PARENTS should monitor their school children and the peer groups they hang out in.
Whether we like it or not, alcohol and drug abuse among school children and other teens is becoming a contentious issue in the country.
Parents who model positive behaviour, have good communication skills, set limits, and supervise their teens can improve the chances that their children will avoid alcohol and drug abuse.
Having friends who do not abuse alcohol and drugs help protects children, as does having a zero tolerance policy in the local community.
This week, officer-in-charge of the National Drug and Vice Squad Chief Sgt Sirike Zisomein called on parents to keep an eye out on their children with the rise in street sales and consumption of marijuana. The media has overtime been reporting cases of drinking sessions by male and female students that have resulted in violence and criminal acts such as rape.
The NCD police command has warned time and time again that many teens are putting their lives in danger and their health at risk by drinking, smoking and behaving in a disorderly manner.
Relevant authorities have talked and talked about this issue.
Harsh as it may sound but the solution to this is to take students caught to court.
Let the law deal with rogue behaviours appropriately.
And parents should be required to accompany their children to court to witness for themselves the seriousness of what they have done.
While the courts, at some stage, is sympathetic with young offenders, the law should be respected.
Many teenagers who get in trouble with the law, end up in court and spend time in juvenile detention centres.
Teenagers copy what they see the adults in their lives do.
Therefore, it is helpful for parents to give clear messages about the potential dangers and pair those messages with rules and consequences that are firm but fair.
What happens in a family unit sets the foundation of how children will move and interact in the community.
The family is a place where children can be raised in a safe and stable environment.
Both fathers and mothers have an important role to play as each have different perspective and can uniquely help children of both genders to learn important skills relating to marriage, education, work, morality, ethics, and social interaction and so on.
Changes may not happen overnight but it can be achieved if all the effort is put into dealing with the issue.
Schools may help by providing after school activities, sports, teachers and coaches who are good role models and quality education.
Indeed, alcohol and drug abuse requires the total commitment and concerted efforts of parents, schools and the community to drastically reduce its harmful and even deadly effects on our young generation now and in the future.
Everywhere there are talks about breakdown in law and order, increase in alcohol and drug abuse, increase in domestic violence, police brutality, and sorcery related deaths and generally a breakdown in services.
Realistically, given the current situation the country, the Government can only do what it can do and the rest now falls back more specifically on families.

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