Parents need to be more vigilant

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Acting Senior Probation Officer, Alvin Jarvis, says parents should communicate regularly with the people with whom their children associate to make it easier for them to know their childrens’ whereabouts.
“Parents will indulge or encourage other people’s children to stay by them overnight or for two to three days and not take the initiative to call the child’s parents to find out, why is your child here. I’ve noticed your child here for the past week, that inquisitive mind that we would have been hearing about in the past seems to be somewhat missing among some of our parents,” Jarvis explained.
He continued by stating that it is the responsibility of parents to ensure that the parents of the children within their care know where the child is at all times. He also pointed out that despite the growing number of teens running away from their homes, things could be a lot worse.
When asked by OBSERVER AM host, Daren Matthew-Ward, if the matter of runaway teens has been worsening, Jarvis said yes.
The acting senior probation officer said even though instances of teen runaways have been on the rise, the numbers are still quite small when the entire teen population is taken into consideration.
He emphasised that there have always been situations where teenagers run away from home.
The official indicated that throughout his career he has worked with many such cases and it is only after he intervenes that it is discovered that there are various reasons for children taking such a course of action.
He revealed that communication between parent and child is one of the main reasons children resort to running away from home. He said that it is not necessarily a lack of communication but the type of communication that takes place.
He added that double standards within the home environment could be contributing to children running away.
Jarvis said that in the early years, some parents allow children to exhibit behaviour that is not considered as acceptable in the wider society such as allowing children retaliatory hitting them, talking back to them and general disrespectful behaviour.
He said that parents tend not to correct them, thinking that the disrespectful behaviour is cute. He posited that when the child gets older and continues displaying the same conduct, the parent then tries to correct the behaviour that is already embedded in the child, resulting in resistance from the child.
The acting senior probation officer said that children also run away from homes in which parents and adults engage in double standards but expect their children to do as they are instructed while portraying something totally contradictory in their own lifestyle.
A string of runaway teenagers has been in the news recently.

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