There is no doubt mothers play important roles in the formation of any child. Right from conception, delivery and to adulthood, a mother invests love and her essence on the progress of the child.
With youths daily becoming restless and involved in various crimes far beyond the comprehension of their parents, there is the need for mothers to rethink their priorities.
The commonness of youth related crimes, makes it almost impossible for any parent to be so categorical on his or her ward especially in Nigeria where killings, armed robberies, kidnappings, rape and other crimes are being perpetrated on daily basis by the youths; some of them from peer pressure but in totality, due to parental negligence.
Virtually in every city in Nigeria, social vices are daily being carried out by youths otherwise known as area boys. The street urchins perpetrate diverse crimes and lay siege for unsuspecting victims. Painfully, many of these youths our investigations reveal got lured into such behaviors due to the absence of their parents at home.
Regrettably, these social vices have crept into schools and no longer limited to tertiary institutions. Both primary and secondary school students are now involved.
While many argue that contemporary mothers are taking on male assigned responsibilities due to global economic crisis which gives them little time for their traditional roles of taking care of the homes, others believe that mothers must still make efforts to ensure the proper up bringing of their children.
Mrs. Ibigbami Leah Olufunke, a retired lecturer at the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), said parents have a lot to do to reduce the prevalence of crimes among the youths.
According to her, “we have mothers who still cherish moral values and pass such to their children. Parents must pray together with their children and instruct them accordingly. In my home, I have children who are in higher institutions and have warned them against examination malpractices. Mothers are performing their roles but most mothers are lacking. This is because they are career women; who wake up early in the morning and return home in the night. They provide money for gadgets but are not available for their children. Some mothers are still performing but are lacking in their responsibilities towards of bringing up the children.”
While concurring that social vices are on the increase among youths in the society, an educationist, Mrs. Franca Okpiaifo blames parents and society for the prevalence. According to her, “Prevalence of social vices among youths is caused by zero parental control because present day parents have to work to provide for their families. Parents are going through a lot of stress hence transfer their aggression on youths. There is also youth uncontrollable access to internet; they copy social vices all over the world.
“Mothers are not doing enough these days in terms of impacting morals because they are doing more than their traditional role of looking after the homes and taking care of the children. They are not performing their main duty but instead, helping in financial running of the home,” she added.
With current happenings in the society, and in a situation where affluence is being flaunted by the political class and conspicuous consumption by the elite class, the result is attendant social vices among which is the get rich syndrome. Also, ethics and family values are gradually being eroded in the society. Many parents do not spend time with their children let alone impact moral instructions.
Speaking on cultism and drug abuse among youth, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Youth and Social Development, Dr. Dolapo Badru explained that it has become pertinent to tackle headlong the prevalence of social vices in the society. He said drug abuses and its attendant social problems are fast assuming a very frightening proportion in our society today. If one has to consider the devastating and very damaging consequences on the user and the family which is perceived to be the nucleus of the society, then something has to be done urgently.
He said, “A visit to our rehabilitation and vocational centres in Isheri, Majidun and Tekunle will reveal the devastating effect of drug abuses on our youths who have been entangled in the web of this destructive act. ”
He advised parents to be vigilant and not leave everything to teachers; “Parents should not be care less. If a child asks for money to be used for something in school, parents should investigate what the money is meant for? How close are we to our children? We go to work in the morning come back in the night and spend less time with the children. They don’t know us. When they have our trust, they will be able to tell us when they have pressures outside. Moral education is not only for schools alone, all of us are stakeholders,” he appealed.
On curbing prevalence of social vices among the youths, Ibigbami advocated return to family values. She said, “We must go back to homes, gather women to let them know that the structure they are building on the children. They should teach the youths moral values at church level and relationship level including friends. For those who are wild, we must empower them and give them instruction. Most of the vices are perpetrated by drop outs that move among students. This is why social vices are prevalent.
“Parents have a lot to do. At local government levels, there are trainings centers where youths can acquire skills but mothers must play their roles to reduce criminal tendencies in our children. Mothers have so many roles to play to mould the youths and our spiritual leaders must also intercede for them,” she further stated.
“From onset mothers have not trained their children to fear the Lord, looking at Biblical angle. Those that fear God will not involve in it. I teach my children and those living around me on the need to live a godly life and shun vices. Mothers should come together and pray for the nation. Mothers should gather at the community and neighbourhood to pray. Idleness is part of what is causing prevalence of social vices and parents are not around to curb peer pressure. We must engage the youths and parents must be involved in the upkeep of their children. There should be community centres to engage and involve them in developmental issues in their neighbourhood. When we pray and guide them; social vices will reduce drastically.
“Youths are involved in yahoo plus. Imagine an 18 year old that wants to ride the best car because he is into yahoo plus. How can we get that involved in developmental project? It goes back to background. Parents have left their responsibilities to teachers and caregivers. Mothers must come together and look at what they can do to help the youths out.”