Deviant behaviors among students have become rampant and predominant in the contemporary Ghana. There are stacks of unpleasant behaviors that have defined students in the modern times. For all we know, students go to school to get themselves equipped with required knowledge and skills to make them fit well into society. On the contrary, students in the present age (mostly from Basic to the Tertiary level of education) behave obnoxiously. It looks very obvious that, schools and other educational institutions have turned into places where students are trained to indulge into such aberrant behavior as sexism, crime, teen alcoholism or juvenile delinquency, corruption, prostitution, gambling, robbery and occultism inter alia. The result of this is that bohemianism has become normal in modern Ghana. This situation has posed a very terrific question as to what are the fundamental causes of these deviant behavior among students. While people blame the societal structure, others also consider peer influence as the main cause of devious behavior among students. In lieu of this, this article establishes the fact that, the twenty-first century parents are partly the brain behind the immoral behavior among students.
In fact, it must be stated emphatically without any fear of refutation that most parents in modern Ghana are actually irresponsible. Yes, they are irresponsible because they lack the abilities and capabilities to execute or discharge their duties apportioned to them as parents. It must be strongly asserted that most parents are ignorant about their children’s school life. Most parents in Ghana have little knowledge about their children’s school life. It is jaw-dropping to know that most parents don’t even know the name of the school their wards attend; the courses they offer or even their class or level. Instead of parents to visit the school and inquire to know much about their wards’ performance and their way of life in schools, they sit and relax comfortably as if they have nothing to worry about. Since parents fail to check on their wards periodically in their schools, what happens is that, the children easily go astray. This is factually true in the sense that, should parents inquire about their children in their schools, the information they will have would assist them in their dealings with their children. For example, if parents visit their wards’ schools and familiarize with some of the things transpiring in the school, it would urge them to advice their children.
One major fault identified with parents which has also amounted to irresponsible behavior among students is in terms of financing students in their schooling. This is problematic in contemporary Ghana. My encounter with some students at the university and Senior High School levels is an empirical evidence to this. Obviously, from the information I gathered, most parents after paying their ward’s school fees feel that they have executed their entire educational responsibilities. Meanwhile, there are other pressing needs such as text books, exercise books, pens and pencils, foot wears and the almighty “chop money” just to mention a few to be taken care of. In my interview with one university student, she said; “mostly if I request for money from my parents while in school they don’t give me. So at times I tell them lies that for example, I have been admitted at the hospital so that they will send me money.” The refusal of parents to provide their children with these basic educational needs makes the children end up becoming bloody liars, and also engage in prostitution, gambling, robbery and pick pocketing among others just to make ends means.
It is also very interesting to note that, in this contemporary world, some Ghanaian parents fuel the zeal of their children to engage in some of these anomalous behaviors. What most parents have been doing is that they tell their wards, especially females to go in for boyfriends who can take care of them. I had a private chat with a Senior High School lady whose story was very tragic. While she was in Senior High School, as a boarder, her mother could phone her requesting for money from her. I asked her how she got the money for her mother, only for her to reply that her mother knew she had boyfriends. In the same vain, I know some parents who were very much aware that their son (a student) was an armed robber. They claimed their son was doing that to take care of them and himself too. They never discouraged him to stop until he met his death one night when he went for operation.
Adding up to the above, one most important point that cannot be left unstressed and thus must be pointed out as a parental factor urging students to behave atypically is lack of parental control. Majority of the contemporary parents lack control over their children. Mostly, parents don’t have time for their children. Many parents are only concerned with their occupations. They wake up early dawn, leave for work and return late in the night. When leaving, they leave messages with the eldest of the children thinking that they would take care of the younger ones. I remember when I was in the primary school, the only day my younger siblings could get the opportunity to see our mother was Sunday. Because she left home at dawn when they are still in bed and returned home at night after they are abed, from Monday to Saturday. The only excuse such parents could give is: “I’m working hard for you, if I don’t do it that way, you can’t survive.” They usually forget about their children’s emotions which can influence them to engage in some of these obnoxious behaviors.
Drawing the curtain down, parents are supposed to be responsible. I think on their “scale of preference”, their wards should be “the most pressing need” that without them, they can’t survive. Our wards are future leaders; the future of the country lies in their hands. They must therefore be adequately prepared and well equipped with all the necessary skills that would make them fit well into society. Parents, let’s not leave the responsibility of raising our wards to teachers alone. When it comes to raising of children, teachers only play about thirty percent role. The remaining seventy percent lies on parents because charity they say, begins at home.
AUTHORED BY: GIDEON OFORI ARTHUR
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY EDUCATION
UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION, WINNEBA
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