50 years ago: A call for better parenting

In the Jan. 26, 1966 edition of the Caymanian Weekly, a precursor of the Cayman Compass, Bodden Town correspondent Arthur Hunter wrote:

“During the course of last week four children were expelled from the Cayman Secondary Grammar School for conduct unbecoming schoolchildren. In the interests of the children concerned I do not propose to mention their names. It is however, distressing to this reporter, and should be to all residents of this town, to know that of the four, three are from this district.

“There are those who will shield behind the phrase ‘boys will be boys’ and thereby attempt to ignore the problem faced by parents in particular and the community at large of an upsurge in juvenile delinquency. Five years ago a juvenile’s presence in court was an unique occurrence, whereas today the Saturday morning Juvenile Court is commonplace. There are today almost one dozen of our juvenile citizens in Jamaican institutions.

“One only need spend a few minutes on the street at nights to find the cause for this unfortunate upsurge. The apathy of some parents toward the conduct of their children is astonishing. They seem much happier dancing the ‘Ska’ while their youngsters roam the streets than staying at home on weekday nights and ensuring that their children are preoccupied with their lessons. There are those so unconcerned with the discipline of their children that a teacher’s whipping will bring a parent’s rebuff. It is little wonder that in the long run some parents openly consent to their children being sent off to an Approved School, when they can no longer control them.

“Unless the parents wake up to their responsibilities and devote more time to the care and upbringing of their children rather than the satisfying of their thirst for their own selfish entertainment, the destiny of these islands will be little better than the jungles of darkest Africa.”