Disrespect for elders among youths: Where did we get it wrong?

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Every society is built on certain values. In Africa, respect for elders is among the core cultural values. This respect is expected to flow from the younger person to the elderly, whether they have family ties or not. In many instances it does not attract reciprocity.

However, as societies evolve, certain phenomenal changes take place, with culture having taken a hit in recent years.

Many analysts say that the growing rate of disrespect among the youth has become a threat to this critical pillar upon which African societies is built a development they said, if not addressed may give rise to future adults lacking in self-respect and respect for others.

“Youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Parents and guardians should prioritise inculcating good more values in their children.

“The society too have a major role to play in curving the act of disrespect among Nigerian youths,’’ a parent Mr Christopher Ewalefo said.

Prof. Albert Bandura, a Canadian-American psychologist at Stanford University, in his social learning theory, argues that today’s societies curiously appreciate abnormality and have no negative reward for it.

He postulated that as children grow to adolescent and to other stages of growth in their lives they become aware of the attitude of the people in the societies such as what the environments appreciate and what they frown at.

According to him, a society where immorality and indiscipline are celebrated most likely will produce immoral and undisciplined young people.

Mrs Blessing Shaka, a sociologist and a civil servant said because values can be transmitted from generation to generation it is important that parents are conscious of how they raise their children and wards.

Dr Kingsley Ehimuan, a lecturer in Ambrose Alli University in Edo, opined that many youths of nowadays are disrespectful to their seniors as they find it difficult to even, greet their elders as a sign of respect.

He said it is unfortunate that they don’t allow elders to guide and advise them neither do they take advice or instructions from their elders.

Ehimuan blamed some parents for the disrespectful behavior among young people because they have failed to inculcate good moral values in them.

“ I remember how my mother will beat me and my siblings for not greeting our elders or when we are reported to our parent for misbehaving in public. In some cases the offended elderly person will even beat before reporting us to our parents”, he said.

Ehimuan also said that in some instances, some parents go to the extent of fighting teachers whenever their children are being punished for wrong doing at school. He said that such acts create the impression that the offending student is above the law.

According to him another disturbing trend, is when youths worship or give respects to only who they consider affluent or influential.

“So many youths disregard elders or their seniors who are not rich or can be directly influential to their future such as helping them to secure jobs.

“When youth are disrespectful they become difficulty to control, advice or guide. Such a trend can increase crime rate in the society”, Ehimuan said.

Ehimuan called on government, parents and NGOs to help in correcting this anomaly through education by introducing subject such as cultural and moral studies in our primary and secondary schools. THE NATION

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