Child Neglect – JEREMIAH KADIRI

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From all ramifications, parents are supposedly saddled with the responsibility of caring, protecting, training, loving their children. Parents often see kids as God’s blessings in their lives. A manifestation of the fruition of their fertility; God’s providence. No wonder people who don’t have kids tend to live a hapless life. There is this emptiness that thrives within their hearts and this is juxtaposed with an endless hope that one day they too will hear the cry/laughter of babies in their homes. For this reason we call children “Bundles of Joy.”

The child is born into an unfamiliar world, draws its first breath and lets off a sound to announce its arrival to the world. First few years for most children will remain most enjoyed moments as parents and relatives will continue to pour their love and fondness for the new member of the family. Sadly, very few of us remember these moments and if we do, we can only remember fragments of same. The child begins to get familiar with the world around him/her but for some unexplained reasons the fondness and love showered on him/her begins to wind down like the effortless fall of dried leaves from the trees when the dry winds of hamatan comes calling. Attention accrued the child is taken away and this leaves him/her to the vulnerability of a precarious world. To fit into this new world, the child sheds off its innocence because by this time no one survives herein a world where innocence is recalcitrant to survivor. That innocence that once endeared the child to all and sundry is now torn off most times completely for the sole aim of survival.

In this part of the world, it is common place to see a young boy/girl of about twelve, fifteen, and eighteen living a ‘my life, my rules’ kind of life. These kids most times don’t live with their parents nor with any of their relatives and this does not bother the parents who pulled them from wherever they were down to this sinful world. There are instances where the children are forced to leave their homes as a result of pressure from parents. I have heard a mother say, “Fati are you not ashamed of yourself? Look at your mates. Your mates are now making money and sending some to their parents and you are here eating my food everyday. This house can not contain you and I again o!”  The said Fatimah is between the ages of fourteen and sixteen.  A period in life when a child is supposed to be groomed and held under the auspices of their parents to prevent such kid from falling prey to the predators of time. Question is, if the said woman had started making money when she was sixteen years old, will she be requesting money from a sixteen year old child now that she is a mother? We can all agree on the fact that she may have made so much money not to need money from a little child who has no source of income.

The act of expectation from kids not minding the fact that meaningful contribution has not been done to the moral up bringing of same kids is to me the greatest of all evil. Even in commerce you can not make profit from a business you did not invest in. otherwise you become a common thief. Many a time we come across youths with equivocally terrible moral standards and begin to wonder where these emanated from. The rate at which obscene immorality is being perpetuated by some youths is nothing to write home about as we begin to wonder from which pit of hell such abominable menaces crawled out. A rhetoric that is not far fetched.
Yes, some of us have the tendencies of derailing no matter how strict/disciplined our backgrounds may be.

Fact is that ‘Child Neglect’ is not a feature of the poor as the rich are found wanting in this regard too. It is common place to see/hear parents disown their child in this part of the world simply because of religious and sometimes political differences or conflicts of interests. Neglecting any child for any reason is to me an escape from accepting responsibility as a parent. The harm caused by a child for choosing a religion, supporting an ideology, interest or political party outside the parent’s empathy is much more imperceptible when compared to the array of problems that could arise from neglecting same child; theft, armed robbery, thuggery, vandalism, arson as well as other acts of insurgency/terrorism and social vices that could decay our moral standards of living in our micro and macro societies are given birth to by this single act. It places our young beautiful women in precarious situations where they resort to prostitution, abortion, some are raped, impregnated and they too follow suit by abandoning the kids they never prepared for.

Can we now say that there is any justification for child neglect? Let’s not be too quick in blaming the youths for being what they are today as they are the seeds of long standing trees who have failed in some regards. A seed does not fall too far from the tree. The fact remains that we are all products of the society that made us and the mere fact that some of us have managed to break out of this degrading factor to become exceptional is a sign that there is still hope that we can all make it back to accepting the right values.

Parents (rich or poor) should learn never to let their kids off their watchful eyes physically, spiritually morally and otherwise. Stand by them in discipline and prayers. Show concern in their affairs. Don’t just be a father, be a Dad and most importantly be your child’s BFF (BestFriendForever). It is not enough to give your child money and whatever he/she needs at all times. It is more about embarking on a life long ethical journey of instilling the right values. Remember that a child is a bundle of joy.

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About Akinwale Poshkid

Lover of fiction and in a constant crave for junk food. I write to express and not to impress. Twitter and IG: @thatboyakinwale
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