Who’s responsible for the alienation of children? [Archives:2004/748/Opinion]

June 21 2004

By Mohamed Zaid
For the Yemen Times

Of course there are many legitimate reasons behind missing, alienated and mentally disturbed children in society, but the most common one is definitely the mistreatment of children by their parents. Many parents terminate their marriages in divorces, and some of their children are not easily adjusted to this fact. They begin to develop a set of confusing and mixed conceptions. They may have to go through a mentally unstable phase, and, therefore, become very susceptible to misbehavior that can be crucially influential in shaping up their future character negatively regarding their involvement in society and in their dealing with themselves. This is considered by many as raising or creating alienated and disturbed children, sometime of menace to society.
Some rich families serve as fertile breeding grounds for delinquent children. They are contributing, probably unintentionally, to the deviation of some of their children. They assume that meeting all of their children's financial demands without questioning what they are spending money on is good for them. They do not know that they actually provoke many of their children to enroll in illegal activities or in improper and socially unacceptable behavior. Money can pave the way for children to go astray if parental guidance is neglected. Conversely, children may become persuaded to adopt wrong approaches to life such as to steal to meet their needs if they are totally deprived of the minimum financials to meet their basic needs at various stages of their lives.
The spoiling of children by some parents in giving them extra affection, love and compassion and always meeting their demands, without raising in them the sense of responsibility, value of money, and how to learn to become independent is not necessarily in the best interests of children. It will be very difficult for them to adjust to normal behavior, especially if they were raised to get everything they had wanted even it was wrong, on the assumption of some parents that their children would grow out of bad habits. It is likely that they may not be very useful to society. Children need continuous parental guidance and a reasonable amount of discipline when they misbehave when they are growing up. They have to be taught how to behave properly, they need to learn to have stronger faith in God, to do their regular prayers and to always recite verses from the Holy Book of the Qura'an. It is impractical to teach children how to behave when they have reached adulthood.
Parents should never, by any means, differentiate or favor one child or some from the rest of their children. This could lead to having self-centered children and brothers and sisters hating each other, and they may end up fighting each other when they grow older. As a matter of fact, this is considered illegal, before it is unethical and socially unacceptable. The children may inflict the same treatment on their own children when they grow older.
Parents must not severely punish their children for committing unknowingly small mistakes. They must not be grounded nor deprived of doing their favorite activities. Instead, they should be taught the right way in behaving in order to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Some other parents do not even bother to understand or try to realize the ambitions and dreams of their children. I do not know whether this is a lack of awareness of some parents or it is their selfishness to assume that their children would grow to be like their parents. Parents ought to emphasize the proper treatment of their children and leave the rest for the their children to determine and to choose, only under their parental guidance and not interference.