Today’s Editorial for June 17: Blame the parenting

One of the most disturbing aspects
of the recent spate of armed robberies on Grand Cayman is the age of the
offenders.

Teenagers are now the demographic
of criminals terrorising the country, and it’s not only young men. Perhaps for the
first time ever here, teenage girls are getting into the armed robbery act.

When looking at who is committing
these armed and sometimes violent crimes, it is shocking to see how far the
Cayman Islands society has deteriorated. 
This was once a society – not very long ago – where the vast majority of
youth respected authority figures, deferred to elders, and were conscientious,
law-abiding citizens.

Now we have teenagers and young
people in their 20s committing the kinds of robberies we thought happened in
other Caribbean countries, but not in the Cayman Islands.

Many people are quick to blame
Cayman’s wayward youth on the government, television or even expatriates. They
say it’s the failure of the education system, the borrowed American or Jamaican
culture, or the fact that some expatriates get preferential treatment in the
workplace. Although there may be an element of truth to all of those claims,
none of them would lead young people to commit armed robberies if they received
better parenting.

It’s unfortunate that parents, who
so want to blame the government and others for their own inadequacies, are
increasingly finding their children wards of the government – in prison.

Somewhere along the line over the
past three decades, too many Caymanians lost sight of the fact that parenting
is hard work. Teaching children the difference between right and wrong is not
the job of the schools or another government agency. Morals are taught predominately
by parents, with strong support by the community structure, which includes the
church.

If members of Cayman’s youth are
increasingly becoming hoodlums, the blame should fall squarely on the shoulders
of the parents.  Instead of accepting
this blame, many parents are in denial, insisting ‘my child is a good child’ when
they are accused of committing a crime. Whether parents want to accept the
blame or not, it’s time the rest of the community understands the reason the
Cayman Islands is now in the state it’s in.

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