The young generation is inclined to believe that one can get anything in life if they employ violence. A friend of mine recently asked his six-year-old son why he had refused to bathe and I was amused by the boyâ€™s response.
â€œDaddy, I have gone on strike because you kept the TV locked the whole afternoon. I will not bathe until you allow me to watch my favourite programme,â€ the boy said. Amazing, isnâ€™t it?
This boyâ€™s response echoes the damage that strike has done to our children. It is moving from institutions to homes.
The recent wave of strikes characterised by violence and destruction of school property, points at the direction our society is taking on moral issues. Students resort to violence at the slightest provocation.
What is more intriguing is the fact that strike seems to flower and bloom in institutions of learning in spite of the tough measures meted out on the ringleaders.
There is clear evidence that the strong arm of the law and the iron hand of the school administrators have miserably failed to curb school strikes.
One leading trait that distinguishes human beings from other animals is the ability to reason and make logical decisions.
The perpetrators of school violence are not beasts from the jungle but children from homes. It is easy to push the blame on teachers for failing to do this or that. But before you blame, have you played your parental role adequately? Children are products of homes and schools merely build and roof a house whose foundation you have laid.
Parents whose children have just completed P7 and S4 have a golden opportunity at hand.
You can mould these children and give them â€˜anti-violence vaccinationâ€™ before they proceed to their next academic hurdle.
Psychologists believe that children who express feelings through violence are maladjusted and are in need of help.
Norman Maier in his book, Psychology in Industry observes that a frustrated human being can resort to bizarre means to let off pent-up emotions. Behind the waves of strikes are frustrated individuals craving for a listening ear.
As one writer puts it, there is an â€˜unheardâ€™ cry of helplessness which could be summed up as â€˜we have kept it for long and this is the only means to vent it out.â€™
As your child waits for the next step in the educational ladder, you could create a difference in his/her life. Teach them how to express painful feelings and deal with conflict constructively.
- Define the conflict. Focus on the conflict at hand not the people involved. The problem should be shared and not viewed as a battle to be won.
- Treat the other person with respect as you mutually steer your way to a solution. Listen and understand the other personâ€™s feelings and needs.
- Explore alternative solutions to solving the problem. Examine the consequence of each solution before you make an informed decision.
- It is healthy to express feelings whether positive or negative. However, even in your anger, you must remember that others too have feelings and rights.
- â€˜If you are bitten by one bee, you donâ€™t set out to burn the whole bee-hiveâ€™ goes the proverb. If the school serves poor food, burning the administration block and the library to express your feelings is not a solution.
Encourage the child to open up at all times. If negative feelings are not vented out constructively, they will find an outlet destructively.
Make your child strike-free