I WROTE this piece after visiting various schools in Harare meeting parents who were looking for Form One places for their children recently.
The conversation that day was in the form of complaints about raising teenagers.
Throughout the discussion, I discovered that each parent was only adding one more item to the list of complaints.
Research has shown that frequently parents try to live their dream through their children and this usually results in unruly behaviour among the teenagers.
Expecting the teenager to excel in academics, get good grades, be the child of their expectations — well behaved, responsible and sometimes bring in accolades from extra-curricular
activities is in itself enough pressure on them.
Some of the teenagers end up running away from home or even committing suicide simply because of their parents’ pressure in trying to nurture them.
In other cases, some parents are alcoholics and drug users.This impacts on a child’s behaviour. Parents of this nature tend to abuse children.
Most of the teens, however, admit that as much as they cannot afford to ignore their parents in their bid to nurture them, parents in some cases must take full responsibility for the actions of their children.
NewsDay interviewed teens over the problems parents complain about.
From the interviews, it emerged that as much as the parentsaccuse teens of being problematic, the teens to a certain extent, defended themselves accusing the parents of instigating some of the unruly actions through conditions they impose.
Some teens cited family demands and strict traditional values as the greatest burden, as parents try to guard them from the harsh world.
Seventeen-year-old Richard Mberume, who once stayed in Borrowdale, Harare, but is now on the street, said: “My parents died when I was 10 years old and my guardians used to be harsh which I rebelled against opting to stay on the streets.
“My foster parents used to beat me severely for no reason. I had nowhere to report this so I just opted to run away from them to stay on the streets,” he said.
Seventeen-year-old Nathaniel Ncube of Christonbank said: “You will be bored and all you want is go out and have fun with your friends, but my grandmother used to deny me such time and kept me locked indoors.
“Such a situation forced me to scale the wall so that I could go and play with my friends,” he narrated.
Talent Mushayandebvu and Abraham Tembo, both aged (18), from Highlands and Warren Park respectively, said they were given almost “24-hours” guidance on books and less time to relax.
“My father leaves a directive that I am supposed to be indoors concentrating on either books or computer and I am well monitored that I hardly get time to go out and refresh with friends. I only meet friends at school and because of such a scenario, I have decided to use the phone to communicate with my friends and this has resulted in high telephone bills,” said Talent.
“If only they would allow me to be with my friends, I would not have become that mischievous and they would not be paying such huge sums for telephone bills, but they keep me locked inside. I have no option,” he added.
As teens in today’s society, we cannot cope with the pressure parents put on us. That’s why most teens misbehave,” Abraham Tembo said.
When a teen is physically, verbally the sexually abused, it will possibly mould the abused teen into a deviant who later turns out to be a criminal. With such a scenario, the question is: “Who is to blame?” Food for thought.