Parents can use holidays to instill morals in children

A child and a parent. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Let your children do something tangible other than raising an academically oriented generation.

In the past few months, the media has reported a lot of things that our school-going children are doing, leaving the public in shock.

Among the outstanding ones included the bus incident where students were recorded dancing in an indecent manner, pupils who were found at  Entebbe attempting to escape for work, and a student attempting to commit suicide because he was told to shave his hair, to mention but a few.

We also read a story about 13 students suspended for being involved in lesbianism in a girls’ school.
These could be among the very few incidents that we learned from the media, but many more don’t get to be seen or read.

I would not want to rush into judging the schools or parents for failing to do their part in raising a generation that is sexually and morally pure.

You cannot sit back and think that since your child’s school is not mentioned anywhere or you have not seen your child do any of such things happening in schools, your child is safe.

True, your child could be safe today, but this may not be the case tomorrow. As the African proverb goes, “you bend a tree when it is still young”. Holiday time is here, you can’t miss to alert your child of the undesirable and unacceptable manners happening in their schools.

Now is the time to talk without wavering. Out of the 10 things you tell your child, two to three may be implemented and still, you will have achieved something.

There are many issues to address if you happened to watch the video clips, watched the news, or read a story somewhere about such vices. 

Start by asking each holiday-maker to give his/her schedule for this holiday. What will they be doing daily? Their schedule should have activities that involve skills development. You must be ready to supervise what they do daily according to their schedule.

If you have children who have been in boarding schools, even day scholars, ask each to evaluate how the term was, the good and bad things. Try to discover certain things happening in their lives which possibly you may never know if you don’t take a keen interest in learning from them.

Most of the time, we leave our children, including adults, to be parented by televisions or other electrical gadgets in the house.
An adolescent gets out of bed at 10am, he/she is served breakfast, and watches TV from morning to evening. The nanny, or even you, the parent, is the one serving them.

You claim you want them to rest. You don’t even have time to find out what they watch or what kind of music they listen to. Start to involve your children in domestic chores and raise them as responsible adults. Time will come when they will be independent, but you can’t do those things for them anymore, nor can they do them themselves.

As they saying goes, charity begins at home. No one is a better discipline teacher than you. As a parent, use this holiday to instill good morals in your children; let them unlearn bad habits from school and their peers.

As you do this, remember each of your children is unique in their own way. Take time to provide warm moments with each child and share it together.

You don’t need to take a child for a special outing as if it is the only way. You can take a walk; do domestic chores together as you talk, go on a drive, swim; or play any game together. You can choose any way possible within your means as long as a child feels, this is my “Me time with dad/mum”. Whichever activity you choose, have a fruitful discussion.

Let everyone spare time to address issues that shock us with their children this holiday. Let your children do something tangible other than raising an academically oriented generation.

Dickson Tumuramye is a child advocate, parenting coach, marriage counsellor

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