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EDITORIAL: Reach out and help our teens

Barbados Nation

EDITORIAL: Reach out and help our teens

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WE MUST NEVER  give up on our teenagers and young people. After all, they are the future of the nation. We will depend on them to continue the work of our forefathers and take Barbados forward into the next century.

Theirs is no easy task and therefore, the adults need to give them all the necessary support and guidance to ensure success. Hence, we wholeheartedly agree with Rev. Mark Harewood, rector of the St Barnabas Anglican Church, in his plea for parents not to give up on their teenagers.

It would be easy to be disillusioned and lose faith in our young if we dwelled on some of the things happening in our country. Almost every week, there are cases of abuse of toddlers, reports of assaults on the youth and attacks by them on others. Almost every day we see young men and women being hauled before the law courts, some seemingly seeking to glamourise their crimes.

There are also cases of missing teens, most of whom, fortunately, are traced by police shortly after reports are made. This past week alone, six 14-year-old students of a rural secondary school were briefly reported missing.

It is very easy to be sidetracked and lose faith in our young people when we read of these cases. However, we must continue to believe, and try to bring out the very best in them, because to assume that all young people are bad,  is to say that our country has no future.

We need to rally behind them and steer them in the right direction, recognising that there are a number of people who have indeed lost their way. We must help them get back on track.

We must also recognise that some of their wayward actions, extreme as they may seem and unforgivable at times, may simply be a cry for help. Some of these children are growing up in households in which they are being exposed to things they should not have to experience at such young ages.

They also witness the abuse of those around them, and sometimes live it themselves. As a result, they are vulnerable, scarred and scared, and often they lash out.

Many need help, not only in coping with their environments, but they may also have to be physically removed from these stressful situations.

We can no longer stand by and watch our young people suffer in silence as they walk the road that will lead to nowhere good. They need our help  – so let us all reach out and lend a hand.