The children that you scold are a direct reflection of you. Children learn what they live,they absorb the activities in the environment .I listened as the old man said that his grandson stole condensed milk just like he did . Instead of scolding the child ,he explained to the child the problems associated with excess sugar . As I commuted ,I listened to the stories of the old man. He said that young parents were punishing children for the same things that they were doing. He said that this practice was wrong .
“He bought me the dress,I like it and I am keeping it” said my 16 year old neighbour to her mother. Her mother screamed at her,advising that she ought not to accept gifts from men,because something is always expected in return. Her mother,while screaming at her ,told her of men who purchased items for her and demanded her body in return. This was a clear case of prostitution,in my legal mind. She proceeded to scold her and told her to return the dress at once.I usually listen to all their quarrels and or fights,mainly for my infornational purposes. The mother told of how she saw her daughter going down the same road that she travelled. She beseeched the daughter to reconsider her choices ,or run the risk of ending up like her mother. Her mother was by no means a role model,and she admitted that life has been hard to her because of her choices. The daughter then wept,audibly.
The mere fact that the daughter was now accepting gifts from men,spoke volumes to me. It indicated that she was vulnerable to being manipulated by persons who had economic power. It meant that she may be willing to compromise her values to acquire the latest phones and accessories. This is a critical time in her development,as this represents her last year in secondary school. She was a direct reflection of her mother and this was a nightmare for the latter.
Coincidentally,there is a 16 year old young man residing on the adjoining property. Every evening his father argues with him. The arguments range from stealing cash,tablets,lack of interest in school. Again ,the father ,although present in his life, is not a role model and the son reminds him of this . On this particular occasion,the son appeared disheveled at the end of the school day. The father shouted that the son was fixed on embarrassing him in any way possible. The father boasted of his neat decorum after the school day. The son stated that he was not his father. He was right,but in many ways,the father saw himself in his son.
Admittedly,it is a difficult time to be a young person. In this age of social media,internet and changing trends,it is difficult to keep up. Boys are told not to cry but men are expected to be sensitive. Boys are forbidden from playing with dolls,yet men are expected to understand the landscape of a woman. It is confusing for a young man to understand what manhood is,where there is only estrogen in the household. Being a young woman is hard, so many expectations of you,it is difficult to meet them. The hardest part is, the parents of our generation are struggling to find themselves. They are in no position to guide us. My humble advice is to let the children love and learn. The children just may teach you something.
Antoinette Sydney LLB LEC CAMLFC CFRMP is an author and entrepreneur based in Trinidad and Tobago.
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