EDITORIAL: Assist at-risk youth
More interventions are needed for some of our youth in Barbados, who on account of various factors, may be deemed to be in the “at-risk” category.
We have all grown up hearing that during childhood, we should be enjoying some of our best days. However, it would appear that some of our nation’s children are having their childhood and their youth snatched from them. Based on some reports, some children are forced to grow up way too fast and the sweet innocence that childhood is supposed to bring, eludes them. Some of the young ones are at times abused and by some reports, parents shouldn’t only be concerned about their girl children, but should look out for their boys as well, as they are also being preyed upon.
The days of making mud cakes and pies, riding one’s bike leisurely and watching innocent television shows are slowly slipping by. Instead, it seems that today’s children are caught up with issues that should be reserved for grown folks. Some children are exposed to movies with violent content from an early age. Others are attached to their electronic devices all day and what they are visually consuming is by no means wholesome. Some adults are leaving children to raise themselves, as they are not giving them the requisite love, care and attention needed to produce well-rounded adults. A number of these factors are causing some youngsters to go down the wrong path. Some are acting out, calling for attention whilst others are quietly stewing, upset about a myriad of issues they cannot get off their chest. Essentially, we need to be able as a nurturing society to see where interventions can be made and assist those who could do with some help.
There are a few organisations here in Barbados, doing their best to assist children and youth, who may not have the best environment in which to grow up. This is the time, especially now in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, to assist such organisations. As children and youth look to re-enter the school setting, we cannot just focus on academics alone, but must see how we can assist those deemed “at-risk”, in order to curb the spin-off effects that may likely stem from their challenges.
Meanwhile, there needs to be a greater appeal for parents to do their part to educate themselves about what really has an influence on a child’s development, especially in the formative years. It is true to say that issues that crop up in adulthood have their roots buried in the early years and one must only turn back the clock, so to speak, to determine what went wrong earlier on. This should indicate to us that we must pay attention to the tree when it is growing and that we cannot wait until the tree is firmly bent, to try to straighten out any issues that may arise. It means that we also have to be vigilant and aware, so that we can recognise when things are going wrong with our children, before the horse has bolted from the stable.
It is worth repeating. As said earlier, we need to pay more attention to the upcoming generation and give more support to those determined to make a change in the lives of our “at-risk” children and youth. An intervention made today, could make the world of difference tomorrow.