Monday column: It is summer holiday and children are bored

Opinion Sunday 30/June/2024 19:19 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: It is summer holiday  and children are bored

It is summer, schools are closed and children have nothing else to do and some are so bored they just behave badly.

This weekend, I was shocked to see a 12-year old boy rolling a cigarette in his mouth. Behind him, two of his friends were helping each other to light another one. They did not have a care in the world. It shocked me not only because of their tender age but they did not bother to conceal their bad behaviour. They were standing in a busy car park and challenged adults who looked at their way by blowing smoke to their direction.

The sad thing is that although adults know exactly what they are doing, children find such bad habit romantic. I am not attempting to blame parents for not instilling good behaviour on their children. Sometimes, children behave perfectly at home only to run riot once they are alone outside their homes. Smoking is just one of them.

I saw a gang of five kids kicking a lamp post and when they got bored with it, they went on to overturn a rubbish bin on the road. They also broke somebody’s window while playing football. One of my neighbours said he had a solution.

“We need to buy them computers with intelligent programmes so they can learn something new,” he said,” you keep them out of mischief that way.”

I thought you cannot really hole them up in their rooms all day. They need some space of their own but of course, there are risks when they are out unsupervised. It is not really healthy for them to stay indoors all the time to interact with a phosphorous screen with nobody to talk to. Computers are great but they don’t teach kids to handle physical problems like talking your way out of a fight. It is important that they venture outside the protecting walls of their houses but you don’t want them to run wild when they are on their own.

If they don’t cause problems, then they are in danger of falling in bad hands. Young children have become the targets of criminals who don’t think twice to abuse them. They are easily coerced to get engaged in illegal trade of banned substances.

Our kids are not even safe at schools, too. Criminals do hang around waiting for them to include them in a ring with a promise of making them quick money.

Perhaps it is time to redefine the role of parents. I am not sure how you do that. However, modern pressures make us so busy that we fail to notice problems in our children. How do you prepare your children not to fall in bad ways? It is difficult to raise children the way we were raised. Those days, it was acceptable to slap them but now it is against the law. We were taught to respect our elders but children these days are encouraged to challenge them so they can learn something. One thing for sure, they need a little more privacy and to be trusted to a certain degree.

I don’t know about you but it is increasingly confusing for me. Perhaps it is best to follow instincts and hope you are doing the right thing for your kids. I guess the true test of how successful you have been as a parent would only be known many years later.