Understanding Children in a Negative Society

October 16, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , Pakistan

World Bank photo



Zeeshan A. Shah



Children today are undergoing major challenges within the constant social settings in an extremely volatile society. Rising access to negative media and society poses a high risk to developing children in almost all geographies affected by civil and conventional war and destruction. Even in peaceful societies, child rights are being abused and ignored blatantly. As individuals committed to social uplift, we are grownups who need to make time each day to spend quality time around our children growing up, as parents, siblings, teachers and mentors.


Under Article 12 of our constitution of Pakistan, on the Freedom of Expression as a Right of every child, it is stated: “States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.”


Why are children suffering the most in today’s society and why is it extremely important to now address this issue more than ever?


For example, why does a child lie to a parent? Has nothing to do with media or education or society. But has everything to do with home psychology. When a parent replies inappropriately or rudely to a child’s natural behavior, lack of empathy on behalf of the parent towards that child leads the child into seclusion and leads to the lie. If your child is not taught to confide in you about their mistakes, you have lost them.


Do you ask your children the basic question: How was your day today? It is important not to text or what’s-app it. It takes just 10 minutes of your daily time. The problem today with most children is the ‘Attention deficit’ – the feeling they carry during the teenage growing years that stems from feelings of being ignored or isolated by a parent at any given point of their lives. Failing that puts your child at risk of seeking attention elsewhere.


Pakistan has been in gross violation on child rights in every social setting, whether it is in schools or at home. Parents are misguided and teachers have lost their moral discipline in managing children and understanding what is binding to us as our responsibility to our children. Parents openly complain about their children stating various negative child reactions and behavior patterns without analyzing inherent causes that lead to such behavior. Potentially risk is the ignorance of this subject, leading children to succumb to violence where the home environment becomes negative as it negates positive reinforcement and instead opens up the pathway to the destruction of children, right from the very beginning.


If your child had poor self-esteem, it is because you advise them more than you encourage them. If your child does not stand up for themselves, it is because from a young age you have disciplined them regularly in public. If your child takes things that do not belong to them, it is because when you buy them things, you don’t let them chose what they want. If your child does not respect other people’s feelings, it is because instead of speaking to your child, you order and command them. If your child is too quick to become angry, it is because you give too much attention to misbehavior and you give little attention to good behavior. If your child is openly defiant, it is because you openly threaten to do something but don’t follow through. If your child talks back to you, it is because they watch you do it to others and think it’s normal behavior. If your child rebels it is because they know you care more about what others think than what is right. If your child intentionally disturbs you, it is because you are not physically affectionate enough.


With this age of dynamic technology, simply buying your children expensive gadgets is criminal, unless you teach them the discipline to deal with such things. Provision of useful tools and techniques to children at an early age, ensures clarity, confidence and comfort to children, builds child-parent trust and enhances positive development in an extremely negative society. No one likes to admit facts when it comes to ignoring their own children.


Parents feel that home tutoring is limited to basic eating and sleeping habits but shy away from building regular communication with them. Some of them also seem to rely a lot on schools and teachers to reform children, simply because they lack the time and energy to invest in children- a sad reality of the cosmetic world we thrive in today. Life is about lifestyle, more than it is about nurturing your children on basics, such as ethics, morals and codes of basic human conduct.


Children are naturally intelligent if not entirely suppressed throughout their school learning years. Illegal detention of children whether at home or in schools defeats the basic objective of teaching children to become responsible adults. Punishment for the sake of discipline beyond a certain point actually creates high resentment in children for their parents and family. It also exposes them directly to the dangerous elements in outside society leading eventually to negative and criminal behavior.


We are constantly reading about children in the violation of corporal punishment laws in schools, child slavery and sexual exploitation of children. All of these factors are highly common in emerging negative societies where respect for their rights is compromised.


When will we take charge of this rising instability in children? Are we doing our jobs as parents, educators and guardians? Can we rely totally on schools?


When will our government realize that unattended street-children are a dangerous trend? When will we seek out the mafia, silently operating around us –in schools, canteens, cafes and at the mall? It takes a sensible eye to observe the surroundings while not directly invading your child’s privacy. Be vigilant.


Every parent wants to be able to learn better ways to treat their children but the initiative must come through a collective review of all policies and provisions that are available at our disposal to further control this rising negativity in our children that is sometimes directly linked to early criminal behavior. Society has a responsibility to ensure that our children are given the right cultural and social environment in homes and schools and more personal care must be ensured by all parents to further combat this challenge.


Under Article 31 of the Rights of the Child, global action towards providing a happy and secure environment for children is the basic right of every child, in every country and continent. Every country must ensure that constitutional amendments are made in this regard. The media also has to realize their responsibility by producing child-friendly content on television and other media. Social media has to be monitored and restricted against use of negative text, imagery or content that is harmful to children, especially in reviving the Early Childhood Development in our society.





Zeeshan A. Shah

The writer is a Director at CNNA Pakistan – a leading advocacy institute and is an expert on International Relations and Education Policy.

With over 150 publications in major local and global social media & newspapers, he has been instrumental in producing over 5000 radio broadcasts aired globally.

A thought leader, environmental journalist, media broadcaster and a change maker with an acute focus on development affairs & education for Pakistan.

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