Juvenile delinquency spiraling out of control?


23-September-2011

I could not believe what I was seeing despite the media’s strenuous efforts to convey the ‘renaissance morale’ theme into the heads of youngsters around the island.

Around me were young girls – scarcely 15 – in mini shorts and skirts, sporting killer high heels and tops which left nothing to the imagination.

Boys were strutting around the conference centre, pubescent waists barely keeping up with pants two sizes too big which were literally sweeping the floor – most had their underwear playing peek-a-boo over the sides of their trousers. I was shocked beyond words.

To make matters worse, most of them smelled like a tobacco factory merged with an alcohol distillery. It was absolutely horrible.

Despite the fact that policemen were patrolling the conference centre, loud teenagers lounging around the area did not seem the least bit concerned and in fact, I heard some pretty heinous swear words coming out of one little girl’s mouth.

The phrase “you kiss your mother with that mouth?” was the first thing that came to mind.
So what is really happening to our youth today? Is it really lack of morale or simply lack of rigorous discipline?
Should we perhaps be looking more into empowering and motivating youths to become more confident and thus, more cheeky, or drilling age-old savoir vivre and obedience into their heads?

I know I’ve been at the receiving end of some severe parenting growing up and I’m a much better person because of it. That’s not to say that I am perfect, but it never killed me and today I thank those older than me for making me think twice about acting like a complete fool.

In the end, everybody knows that teenage years are the peak years of rebelliousness and juvenile delinquency.
In other words, if you tell a teen to “don’t”, it’s most likely he or she will end up pursuing the very thing you so vehemently told them to keep away from.

“It got me thinking,” says Nora, a parent. “Instead of treating our teenagers like toddlers, why not treat them like adults; giving them a choice to take part in a productive society instead of expecting them to conform like toddlers do in the presence of the threatening roten”.

I would have agreed on that point except it does not seem to be working.
Adopting modern western parenting has obviously done nothing to help us with the situation of rebellious teens and potty-mouthed children.

“I believe institutions like the Youth Rehabilitation Training Centre (YRTC) should be re-introduced,” says Rita Cecile.

Diana Sinon, on the other hand, says she believes corporal punishment should be re-introduced into the school and family system. 

“Children are no longer afraid of their parents and do not care for the words ‘you are grounded’”, she says. “It just does not work anymore.”

It does look like we are in a bit of a dilemma.

Perhaps it really is time that chaperons, tell-tale neighbours and the threat of the disciplinary stick make a comeback! 

 

By Rebecca Chang-Tave

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