The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Where Has All the Respect Gone?

opinion

Do you want trouble? Easy! Just graduate into parenthood and see it in its rightful colours. The problem comes clearly into perspective during this time of the year when children make their

presence felt through demands that are not without a strain to the pocket.

"I need a new phone," "I need a bike," "I need a new toy," "I need new shoes," "I need cash to attend a party" are the sort of demands parents wake up to daily.

The demands differ from one individual to the other and one social class to the other. What a child in an affluent family demands is far bigger than that demanded by one in a poor family.

A 32-year-old Gokwe man reportedly fatally struck his 82-year-old father with an iron bar because he had failed to assist him with money and cattle for lobola.

That is no different from a child who early this year was yanked to court by his mother for selling household property.

Another child from Mbare reportedly assaulted his mother for not showing him his late father's will which bequeathed the family home to him.

There are children across the country who, in their wisdom or lack of it, want to control their parents.

If their demands are not met, they take measures which leave one questioning whether they are real children. Some children dress in their fathers' suits and mothers' best costumes to impress friends.

They will vanish with the family vehicle to create an illusion of greatness and sometimes hurl imprintable words on their parents whenever what they think they deserve is not delivered.

It can be worse if the parent is a weak disciplinarian.

The children will literally walk all over them with reckless abandon. What children demand does not take into account how much their parents earn.

So blind they are even to other costs like rent, food and transport. As long as one is a child and yours for that matter, they just expect you to do it for them.

The voice that demands cash to watch a movie before you retire to bed is the same that yells at you in the morning seeking money for breakfast.

It can be worse if you allow their friends to sleep over. Children of today will make you live as though your whole life is sworn to hopping from one problem to the other. They just will never get certain things right. Theirs is a case of righted wrongs from start to finish.

You really wonder how the children they are rushing to have will fare in the future.

Tisu tinotuma vana, isu vabereki,

Tisu tinotuma vana chipfambi,

John haana kwaakamboshanda,

Tomutenda nezita redzinza, sang troubadour Steve "Dhongi" Makoni in his album called His rural highness.

True to the song, most parents are true victims of the ways they raise their children.

"Spare the rod and spoil the child," the Bible says, but some children will never be beaten. All they get after every misdeed is a half-hearted reprimand.

How on earth can an uneducated jobless fool bed from one bed to the other impregnating equally useless women demand to be treated as a child?

Some daughters will bear as many fatherless children as they can at their parents' because of a false sense of security which often falls away the moment the parent dies or retires. Sons will also be out to spoil anything wearing a dress, but truth often comes to bear when they are sued for maintenance.

Parent-child conflicts can be ascribed to media and the people we associate with. Some of these conflicts can be so deadly that some parents can be assaulted for trying to get things right in the home.

Some children of today do not even understand the importance of going to work. All they do is live by the parents' income and exert more pressure on the little that is available at the home.

According to livestrong.com, before you have done anything as a parent you are already in conflict with your child.

"As soon as you learn you are going to be a parent, you and your child are already in conflict. This is true whether you are becoming a parent through birth, adoption, fostering, step or blending families together."

The source of this problem, the Website states, is that you and your child want two different things that seem to be in polar opposite directions. Amazingly, every parent has the same wish and hope for their child.

Parents all want their children to grow up to become happy, healthy adults who contribute to the world.

They also want to maintain a good relationship with their children so they will return home to visit and invite them to visit them as well.

This dream and wish contains another hope that all parents also share. They want their children to live to grow up.

As soon as a parent realises that she is carrying the life of her child within her womb she immediately becomes concerned about the health and well being of the growing foetus.

Spouses are also worried and concerned about the health and well being of their growing child.

Potential grandparents are worried about the health and well being of their own child, the new parent as well as the health and well being of their growing grandchild.

This worry, concern and desire continues forever.

Parents strive and drive to keep their children safe, secure and alive. Sometimes this desire is obvious, as when a parent directs her children to put on seat belts.

Sometimes it is less apparent, as when a parent encourages, nags and insists that their child successfully complete his homework.

Understanding that parents have this desire for safety, security and survival of their children explains half of the equation and half of the conflict between parent and child.

"Children enter the world with no worries or concern for their safety and survival. Children enter the world itching to explore, driven to discover and investigate everything. Children want to put everything in their mouths, touch everything, jump on it, roll in it, shove it up their noses, your nose and see what happens when they push that button.

"In fact, many adults spend much of their time with children asking and directing them not to touch that, not to do jump on this or not to eat the dirty something. Children are driven by curiosity, wanting to learn and explore the world and themselves in the world."

Gentle reader, so entrenched are child parent conflicts in most homes that most parents are now staying in bars for fear of being heckled by their children.

Some are finding solace at church and in doing some other things just to be away from home.

Let's work hard to ensure our homes remain safe for our parents.

Inotambika mughetto.

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