The Family Series III

This is a continuation of the previous post with the same title but III

father and child

The main functions of values are as follows:

  1. Values play an important role in the integration and fulfilment of man’s basic impulses and desires in a stable and consistent manner appropriate for his living.
  2. They are generic experiences in a social action made up of both individual and social responses and attitudes.
  3. They build up societies, integrate social relations.
  4. They mould the ideal dimensions of personality and range and depth of culture.
  5. They influence people’s behaviour and serve as criteria for evaluating the actions of others.
  6. They have a great role to play in the conduct of social life.
  7. They help in creating norms to guide day-to-day behaviour.2

It is unfortunate that values are being eroded today. Maybe because the basic institution which ought to transmit them fails, values have become scarce in the society. The attitude that does not exhibit values is brought into the Church.

A community, an organization, a company, a family is unlikely to function well if the members do not share certain values that guide their relations with one another in favourable and unfavourable situation.

There are situations where parents find that their teenage children fail to display appropriate moral values. Some causes are:

Parental Influence – Although teenagers may not have the same decision-making capacity as adults, parental influences can affect the way that a teen behaves and makes choices. In particular, parental behaviour plays an important role in how teenagers make decisions. For example, if a teenager sees his parents acting impulsively or making poor choices such as neglecting household responsibilities or skipping work, the teen might believe that he is entitled to make similar choices. Similarly, parents or caregivers abuse or neglect children, they may develop immoral or impulsive behaviours, explains Welfare Information Gateway Society, Media, and Peers.

During the adolescent years, peer influences play an important role in teenagers’ choices. Because peer acceptance is a crucial part of most teens’ sense of self and increasing need to separate from the family system, adolescents sometimes base their choices on their friends’ opinions, rather than what is morally right or responsible, according to the American Psychological Association. Generally, teenagers will outgrow this type of behaviour as they reach adulthood.

Additionally, media influences, such as television and celebrity behaviour can affect a teen’s behaviour, particularly if they do not have strong role models.3

It is a wonderful thing for children to regard their parents as role models. They see integrity when the words and actions of their parents correspond. No money, car, or property can replace the feeling a parent has when the child says and means, “I want to be like my father/mother when I grow up.” That statement brings a sense of fulfilment particularly when the parent is exemplary in conduct.

Some parents are oblivious of the effect of their failure to bring up their children. A young woman came to the parish office where I was working one day. She came with her regrets but she tried to put up a smiling face. She came to see a priest. At a point she started telling me about herself. I had not asked about her story; I had never met her before.

According to her, her father never cared. If I remember properly, her father left her mother for another woman and things were never easy for them. So at an early age, she knew what hardship was. She did not have the love of a father and she subliminally sought for it in men. You can guess how she lived. At a point she tried picking up the pieces of her life in order to move forward but it was really a challenge for her. She was working for someone then who sold fashion items. I do not remember the details but she was having serious problems in different areas of her life including her place of work. At this time she was trying to get another job but she was told to give herself before the job would be hers.

She saw the priest who directed her to a group that would assist her financially to start up her own business in a small way. She really needed that at that point in her life. The next day she came to get some something at the parish office and we saw again. This time she was not trying to put up a happy face like the day before. She was down. She disliked her father who by this time occasionally called for money but she could not express it. She hated that she did not get the level of education she wanted. She regretted all the wrong guys she had dated. In fact, her life made no meaning to her then. I just sat there silent but listening to her.

“I know you may be wondering why I am telling you all of these,” she said to me, “I do not know but you seem like somebody I can tell. You may even be wondering whether all what I am telling you is true…I am not progressing.” She brought out her phone and showed me her post on social media that day. It was something like this:

At age 27, I have not achieved anything. I do not have a good education, I do not have a good job, I am not married, I do not even have an accommodation of my own. Nothing is working for me…My life makes no meaning…

I did not know it then but I know now that her thoughts were gravitating towards suicide. I tried to encourage her at that point but I am not sure of the effect of my encouragement. She was just tired of life, overwhelmed and appeared hopeless. Maybe she may not have had the kind of experience she had if her father had really been a father to her.

This write-up continues in the next post.

Notes

2. Puja Mondal Society, Values: it’s Meaning, Characteristics, Types, Importance, www.yourarticlelibrary.com/society/values-its-meaning-characteristics-types-importance/35072/, Accessed January 15, 2016.

3. Anna Green, What are the Causes of Teenagers’ Lack of Moral Values and Self-Discipline?, Livestrong.com, www.livestrong.com/article/1007053-causes-teenagers-lack-moral-values-selfdiscipline/, Accessed January 22, 2016.

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