Disturbing new trend

Johann Kikillus, director, Soteria Ministries, Ocean View

We are a month into the new school term and already we at Ocean View Care Centre have noticed a disturbing trend.

I have personally dealt with the parents or guardians of at least 14 children aged between 8 and 15 who complain that their children are completely out of control. In all cases, drugs were involved and the children had dropped out of school.

Sadly, in many cases, risky sexual behaviour was evident, which is a big problem for young teenagers and pre-teens.

All of the parents were completely exasperated and had run out of options.

The parents who came to me are the ones who still care. I am aware of many children whose parents simply do not care at all.

I have had comments made by onlookers saying that these parents simply need to toughen up and sort their kids out. It is very easy to pass that comment, but when the mother is single, has no support from the father and still has other children to look after, then it becomes very challenging.

We at Ocean View Care Centre are always more than happy to offer emotional and spiritual support to both parents and children. But it must be noted here that I am seeing an increase in such behaviour every year. Tragically the age of the child has also dropped. Ten years ago, I very seldom dealt with primary school children. Today that is becoming more common.

One thing that is clear is that “the system” has failed. It is far easier today for children to fall through the cracks.

I have written to provincial government asking that representatives from the the departments of Social Development, Community Safety, Health and Education hold a series of public meetings to empower parents. I also have requested that residents be informed of their rights and what service can be reasonably expected from these departments.

Lastly I have requested that residents are informed what action they can take should they receive poor service. We will wait for an answer and trust that such a meeting can take place before the end of the term. The goal this year is quite simple – not one single child must drop out of school or fall through the cracks before the year is up.

I encourage all exasperated parents as well as struggling teenagers to come to the Ocean View Care Centre for assistance. You are not alone.