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DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE DOING?

Due to some parenting questions and concern which were raised on YTS Forum on children safety and their behaviour and extra activities after school, we would like to bring to our attention this article published by Fiji Sun in 2011.

Written By : Source: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.

The catchphrase ‘Do you know where your children are?’ is often telecasted on Fiji One as a public service announcement reminding adults of their role as parents and guardians. This column would like to add another question “Do you know what your children are doing?” as the title of this feature article. These two questions reflect the concerns of the Ministry of Education over the lack of supervision parents ought to offer their children. As a result many children are abused physically and traumatised by the experiences they go through. If such incidents are not detected early and without early intervention, these children could be caught in a vicious cycle and scarred for life.

Do you know what your children are doing?

While most parents like to believe they know their child (children) too well, they are often surprised at information received regarding the reality of their children. In fact that is also the reality of our children/home supervision as parents. If your children are not in the rugby /netball teams this term or having afternoon classes, yet often arrive home late in civilian outfit, then we need to check them out. Just inquiring from the children themselves is not enough. Follow-up at school with class teachers, principals, family members and friends is not impinging on your children’s right but an exercise of your right as a parent or guardian. The following are some pointers parents need to be informed with.

Constant requests/want for money

When children give excuses for extra spending money every day, loose changes from the shops are not returned, coins from the dressing table missing, bus voucher exchanged for cash, money box constantly shaken/emptied or the option taken is to always buy lunch, then the child must be involved in some secret activities. As parents and guardians, check their lips and breath as they return home late from school. They could be indulging in cigarette smoking, glue sniffing, marijuana use, brewing home-made beer or involved in other sinister activities. Truancy cases have also been referred to the ministry and upon investigation, students are found to be with their peers in secluded areas smoking and or indulging in abhorrent activities.

Short/long /early absence from home

Do we as parents and guardians inquire when children are spending more time in the neighbour’s home? There is always an insistence to be sent on errands and they take longer than usual to return. Frequent requests to sleep out with friends on weekends, leaving home too early for school, constant calls from schoolmates/teachers to work on assignments after school hours with no stamped school consent letter should influence adults to enquire further. There have been incidents where young school girls have been offered free rides by private vehicle owners, taxi drivers, bus drivers, van drivers before and after school for sexual favours. While the intention of the article is not to influence parents to be too trusting, it is reminding adults to be more vigilant in monitoring students’ whereabouts and occupations.

Wearing of expensive jewellery, perfume, shoes and clothing

Parents ought to know and be familiar with things bought /given to their children. The wearing of an expensive bracelet or canvas shoes should raise questions. Some young students have been used as ‘drug peddlers’ and given cash as rewards while young girls are given ‘gifts’ for sexual favours. Mobile phones, free car rides and early pick -ups are some attractions used by strangers to entice young vulnerable students. Recently a student was raped by a businessman who used the mentioned attractions.

Consequences

Once young girls and boys start trading themselves for ‘gifts’, it would take some time to get them out of it. Their sense of values will diminish thus the low self- esteem which will result in prostitution. For students who have abused drugs at an early age, their thinking will be distorted, physical growth affected and they can be damaged for life. Other likely consequences would include academic failures, relationship between parents and children becoming distant and children being alienated.

End

The article is from Fiji Sun – https://fijisun.com.fj/2011/06/10/do-you-know-what-your-children-are-doing/