Modern parents have spoiled their children

Unlike it was the case in the past, we, the 21st century parents, no longer play a role in the upbringing of our children in the community. And these children thrive on knowing that of our failure to act jointly in their discipline. In the months of July and August last year, Ramotswa residents were traumatized by some marauding youth gangs that were made of both boys and girls. These groups - one known as Boko Haram and the other Mathembisa - were known to target commuters to and from Gaborone. There were, of course, other smaller groupings that meted terror on people, but these two were the more prominent. Initially they snatched hand bags from innocent men and women. There were stories of some people being forced to part ways with their laptops and other gadgets including mobile phones. As if their terror on villagers wasn’t traumatic enough, these groups started to fight over territorial space. The battle lines were drawn and defined. The Boko Haram and Mathembisa were more prominent and each group was expected to stay in their territory. The village was not safe, and, unfortunately, all this was evidence that many parents had dismally failed in their duty to discipline their children. As the thing worsened, the traditional leadership was duty bound to act, and act they did. Traditional mephato were mobilized. The action taken was marvelous as they managed to successfully round up these wayward young boys and girls. As the Setswana adage states: “Thupa ga e bolaye, e bolaya peba” - these young people were flogged in the presence of their parents. Some parents were grateful for the action taken. Sadly others were against this. The worst hypocrisy was when some cried and claimed that flogging was bad. The village has in the weeks leading to the festive period had yet another act of youth indiscipline. The 24-hour Siga clinic staff were terrorized by these youth. These marauding youth forcefully gained entry into the facility and helped themselves with items including mobile phones. Everyone in the vicinity of the medical facility knew about these acts, but sadly the parents living in this area never took any action. We have chosen to abdicate our parental responsibility and expect someone from outside to guide our own children. Youth indiscipline is not only about stealing - it includes even total disrespect for the elderly including one’s own parents. Sadly we have abdicated our parental responsibilities to government and teachers. We as parents have instead chosen to talk of children’s rights. I took a walk around this part of the village in a mission to understand what could have gone wrong. I grew up here with an understanding that any elderly person could discipline me and my age mates for any deviant behavior regardless of relationship. We were brought up that way in the village. Whatever has gone wrong? Today’s parent doesn’t have time for his children as more time is spent at a variety of drinking holes. In this area we have homesteads that are known to sell traditional beer on all days of the week. There are Bo-Mma Sontaga up to Mma Sateretaga. Adults move from one lapa to the next drinking bo Setiripa-kgosi and never return home sober. Meanwhile at our homes we have children who lack role models. The children grow up knowing that lawlessness is the village order. The modern parent should look back and introspect – think of why he or she grew up disciplined while the children are so wayward. Society is full of evil children nowadays and it is us, the modern parents, who have molded them this way.