TODAY -

Discipline and responsibility among children : A renewed challenge

Thenkhogin Haokip *



The problem of lack of discipline among the youngsters today has become a menace in the modern and technically advanced society. This menace has created lots of confusion and undesirable consequences in the group life as well as the individual life. Lack of respect for the parents, elders, teachers etc has created many unwanted situations among us, leading many people to take up hard and unpalatable decisions which are reasonable for the ultimate destruction of many lives.

Unlike the traditional world, where the decision of the elders were respected no matter what the case may be, our present world has seen the like of what is called 'Survival of the fittest' without the slightest thought of humanity and respect for values. Many of the so called problems and disturbances in our society, especially through the younger generation can be further traced back to the question of discipline.

Lack of inculcating disciplined life or principled life in the early years of our children has been responsible for the increasing strength of delinquency among the growing children and teenagers. Our society has become drastically changed to the opposite of what was the flow of harmony and disciplined life in the erstwhile traditional society. With all these concerns, the question of discipline among the younger generation needs to be addressed in a vivid term and appropriate measures.

It is a great challenge that discipline, commitment and basic knowledge etc are still not properly instilled in the children. Lack of proper and adequate academic atmosphere, parental and government support and existence of corruption are some the reasons for these situations. Therefore, it is not surprising that many parents send their children outside the State for their studies where there is more of the atmosphere for studies and where they can't see them every day.

The values prescribed to us by our religions and those that are enshrined in our constitution, which were seen in the common life in the past seem to be fading. The consciousness to which we are awakened today are not those consciousnesses that neither our faith nor our constitution adheres to take us to, rather, it is a selfish, self- calculating and narrow sphere of vision of oneself alone is where we are awakened in to. The values of love and respect for one another in day to day life are decreasing visibly. School- children have slowly adopted the negative legacy of our model examples by raising their resentments over silly matters in the class, school and home. Laziness, indiscipline and schemes have overtaken the younger generation so deeply that it will take decades to bring back this trend on the right track.

While our technology has been rapidly developed, our children seem to be born with the technologies and electronic gadgets. Especially in the urban areas, school going children watch action(violent) movies, played violent video or computer games and use the mobile cell phones to develop slang and uncultured languages. Longer hours of the day are spent by the children in witnessing this violence of different sorts and scheming various pranks and acts. This, in fact has made almost all of our children delinquents. These electronic gadgets have been abused in various other ways also. For instance, a 14 years old boy from Jharkhand, Sunny Shukla, a class-IX student of DAV Public School in Jharkhand's Pakur, who claimed responsibility for the blast outside Delhi High Court may be cited(reporter, The Times of India, 15th September 2011).

The different attitudes of the children can be seen in that they make faces and turn away or frown nonchalantly, when parents or some elders talk about their disciplines and disregards for morals and values that are essentials to the smooth functioning and surviving of the society. Scheming, they scheme, playing they play pranks of various dangerous sorts, reading they read pornography, watching they watch violence. All these have made the children a completely different and opposite person than what the society, family, parents and teachers expects them to be. A completely different trend of attitudes and mindset is developed through the modern technologies being abused.

The school going children not only have complete access to the electronic gadgets and technologies but far worse is their reach of all possible intoxicants in the neighbourhood, right from tobacco to brown sugar. Many parents are not aware of what their children eat, drink, sniff and inject in their absence. Of course, parents love and trust their children to the extreme extent, that they wouldn't bother them as long as they don't see them do it with their own naked eyes. Even when teachers reported about the negative practices of a child especially teenagers, some parents would still say, "Tom, tell me you didn't do it and I'll still believe you whatever".

They would still believe their children even if they lied too. This way, they will turn the table on the teachers who took every care to correct the child and charge them with defaming the child. Like this, many parents became supportive to pushing their beloved children toward nothing but hell. These juvenile delinquents used every possible excuse at their disposer, even toward deceiving their own parents who sweated for them without really realizing the real consequences. This way, they learn to cheat, lie and betray the trust of their parents. Silly tobacco products which are slowly destroying their body have been consumed more like a fashion from very early years. This is but a wrong and destructive culture that is gripping our younger generation. It is time that parents, teachers and community leaders heed the warning and step up to mend the ways of the youths for better tomorrow.

It is time to teach our children to be responsible to themselves first. This is time when the degrading moral values among the young people should be checked and appropriate measures taken up, to avoid unnecessary battles in the near future. It is time we draw better plans and make better implementations to produce good and responsible citizens rather than selfish individuals through our education.

Few years ago, parents and teachers uses corporal punishments to correct and chastise children, which in fact was one of the most effective traditional correcting tool, following the maxim 'strike the iron while it is hot'. With the coming of Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009, corporal punishment and mental harassment has been prohibited. Therefore, parents and teachers are asked to adopt different positive means of helping the children to behave themselves by leading them to be more responsible to themselves and others. More than ever before, disciplining children have become a challenging task to the teachers, educators and parents. Under RTE the effectiveness of a teacher as a disciplinarian through a more positive means becomes more essential.

In order to drive home the basic sense of responsibility and discipline in the life of the young children, the home atmosphere needs to be introspected. When parents are bent on following a set of rules and principles, concerning decisions and way of life, children tend to mimic them in real situations outside of the home. A home full of care and just will inspire the children growing up in the family to adopt the lifestyle when they grow up and tend to be more responsible. The first step to disciplined life begins at home, which is the primary institution for one's education and life. The mistake of many parents and teachers today is that they let the children go free and wild without paving the way and directing them. As such, when children learned the lessons by themselves it usually becomes late to mend the mistakes.

At the school level, the team work of the teachers is required to help the children with proper guidance, motivation and model. The many efforts of parents can be wasted when teachers lack in their role in the school. The same is true vice-versa. Despite the many challenges, the combined effort of parents, teachers, elders, social-workers and leaders will surely bring about a positive change in the attitude and conduct of our children our next generation.

Therefore, the basic idea of instilling the strong sense of responsibility in the hearts of the younger generation needs to be a conscious choice for the parents and teachers to strive for to instill in the hearts of the younger generation. The state has done its part through democratizing education in laying down the norms for disciplining children by the enactment of 'the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education 2009'.

Realizing the dream of this act lies in the mass cooperation of the implementing agents and the masses. With proper understanding of the vision, aims and directions suggested by the act, teachers and parents can successfully strive to achieve some positive changes and incorporate right values in the growing children. When this part of the education of children fails, we can only expect to develop our children only into selfish individuals who are bent on minting money with the least respect for humanity and social responsibility.


* Thenkhogin Haokip wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Research Scholar, Assam University, Silchar.
This article was posted on December 14, 2014.


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