What exactly are we teaching our children?

Published: June 9, 2012

We, as elders, fail to identify what might be going on in their young immature minds, as they absorb each and every detail that we subconsciously tell them. PHOTO: REUTERS

I opened The Express Tribune’s online edition this morning and read a news report saying that an eighth grader shot himself.

Out of habit, I then opened the online news version of Deutsche Welle, a German national radio channel and found a report on how an increasing number of juveniles in India were being implicated in cases as serious as murder.

With instances where there have been juvenile terrorists, and in a time when children decorate the first rows of protests and young ones attack cars and burn tyres, there is little hope for these kids to grow into sane human beings. And when they won’t, we will be the ones to blame for their actions with the reason being ‘too much exposure’.

While a school of thought might believe that children must be made aware of what’s happening around them, it is unnecessary to bring them face-to-face with the violence that surrounds us today.

Watching people self-immolating on the television screens, men and women larruping at public buildings and at each other, students committing suicide because their teachers said something to them or their parents don’t have the time to appreciate them, and other acts of negligence or violence don’t qualify for ‘healthy’ family TV-viewing time.

Children observe and copy. When they question, our sarcastic responses don’t help.

Our convoluted explanations might mislead and confuse them even more. We, as elders, fail to identify what might be going on in their young immature minds, as they absorb each and every detail that we subconsciously tell them. These details and snippets develop the foundation of their future.

I would certainly not want my children to laugh at political and gender-insensitive jokes or appreciate vandalism of buildings, view graphic pictures of gory violence and footages of suicide attacks.

We have to sort it out now; do we want our children to grow up into mentally healthy humans, or do we want to raise aggressive and delinquent individuals.

Read more by Ayesha here.


Ayesha Hasan

A sub-editor on the Lahore desk of The Express Tribune. She graduated from Kinnaird College with a masters in mass communication and is a Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Fellow of Journalism at DW, Bonn.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Anita

    It’s about time someone addressed this issue. I agree with you. I’m 18 years old, but when I was younger, I was depressed. I contemplated suicide countless times because I was afraid I wasn’t smart enough to get good grades, because I was afraid I was ugly, because of countless other ridiculous reasons. The only reason I didn’t do it was because I knew that suicide was haram.

    I don’t blame my parents, they had no idea whatsoever and still don’t that i was so troubled. But other parents need to be made aware of these issues, particularly with younger children. Even now I see my younger cousins acting more like teenagers even though they’re 4 and 7 years old.

    This issue needs to be addressed quickly before it gets out of hand. Recommend

  • Muhammad Aqib Khan

    Good Question raised Ayesha.. (Y)

    I hope we find a good solid solution to it.Recommend

  • nandit

    @Anita: Recommend

  • Nandita.


    You’re so young sweetheart, just concentrate on enjoying your life. I am glad you’ve realized that grades aren’t that important after all. Some of the most successful people I meet are people who just scraped through school. Education is very important but not all successful people are educated. The right ATTITUDE is what matters. Your Attitude determines success; attitude and sucess are directly proportional to each other. Attitude is the single most important factor to determine which direction your life takes. Even the most highly educated people fail in life due to a wrong attitude and a lot of uneducated people succeed because their outlook and attitude helps them make the right decisions and reach the pinnacle of success.
    I’ve been through loads of really tough phases and The only thing I’ve concentrated on since a long time is my Attitude. And after a lot of work on myself, I still do not have a very positive attitude towards life. But I am a ” work in progress ” and one day I shall be what I desire to be.

    Your comment really rattled me but I guess you’re fine now and I wish you all the very best life has to offer.Life has a lot of goodies in stores for you.Recommend

  • BM

    You have brought up a topic that is vey relevant, yet less discussed in our society. Child Upbringing.
    We have a term in subcontinent, that says ‘Khandani’, intimating someone of high birth. I have always argued that Khandani kids are those that have good morals, and have the distinction of differentiating between right and wrong, regardless of their position in society.
    I would want my children to be non aggressive, help the poor, and make a positive contribution overall to society. Respect their elders (when due) and still remain independent enough to make judgment calls on issue that require one to take a stand.
    Sounds idealistic, but I can assure you this is what I was taught (thanks to my parents) and there are countless similar cases in Pakistan. Our society isn’t as dead as many perceive.
    Looking at the current younger generation (including the author), I can say that all isn’t lost. If all of us made a pact to teach our children to respect women, be non aggressive, be law abiding citizens, make education our priority, contribute to society, pay our taxes and condemn injustice, we could change the course of our countries history within one generation.
    I will do my part, and hope the rest will too.Recommend

  • Parvez

    The saying goes ‘ It takes a village to raise a child. ‘ Today the village itself is in trouble so the task falls on the parent and if your lucky the immediate family.
    Having worked my way through this process, I suggest spending quality time with your child, is of paramount importance. Recommend

  • R.A

    We will be asking our children to find out
    what was the religion of Rana Asif
    when he was born.

  • Atta

    thank you , very nice article its very important to find a solution for it , i can see every day people posts scary pics and videos about people suffering in different areas and countries to put awareness in people all over the world its not the solution to show their pohotos , footages , and videos in which they are suffering . its directly effects human minds and they come on voilence , hatred and so on ….
    we should keep our childrens away from such activities , and should do our best to make a good envirnment around them so that they have a good future and learn tolerance patience rather than to put voilence and hatred in their minds . thank you Recommend

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Pugnate Noman Ansari

    It still isn’t too late. Recommend

  • wahwah khan

    Bring me solutions, not problems!!
    The most disdain words “We have to”….We have to sort it out now (The last paragraph of the article). Recommend

  • Hasan

    it’s time we need to sort things out seriously.Recommend

  • Sara

    @wahwah khan:
    Journalists only dig out problems… not solutions.
    That’s the job of govt functionaries, NGOs and social workers. Recommend

  • http://www.astrocounsellingservices.com kay Cee Punj

    strong textThe main culprit, accused and criminal is the sycophancy, not to tolerate dissent, claims about the truth of his faith, concept of God, creation, and messenger. ways of worship, and 3 roots of sin —greed, anger & lust. The ideology of Shirk, Trilogy, Hell, Heavewn and lure of 72 virgins, Darul-harb & Islam, son of God, Rights of women, JIhad, terrorism, castism, Lunatic, intolerance,fundamentalist & taqaiyya. All World religions claim that are revealed by God then WHY there are contradictions amongest those. ” RELIGION WAS INVENTED, WHEN THE 1ST CON MAN MET THE 1ST FOOL.” ( MARK TWAIN).
    The moment u declare ur faith to be immune from questioning, reasoning,criticism, freedom of thoughts & speech become impossible.
    Choice-based and forced based religions, apostasy and hatred are to be openly discussed.
    Think …………..Does religion offer remedy to address issues like education, health, human development, prosperity and bright future ?
    Denounce hatred, intolerance, terrorism, killing innocent people in the name of religion.

  • http://no dr.asif

    very niceRecommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/DrIQkhan Paki Kart Driver

    i agree with you that generalist can only dig out issues. but they should recommend the solutions also.some problems are our self created which we cant get solved without our personal involvement. like a child’s behavior …. if they behaves wrong its moral duty of parents to watch there children warn & teach them good manners while listening there complains or problems which there kids are facing. interactivity between children and parents is much less nowadays that cause such Gap that child goes for misbehavior,hate,drugs,suicides ETC Recommend