Teenagers abusing Lusaka malls


THE mushrooming of shopping malls around the city has added a new dimension and given it an improved status.
With some malls within reach of most shoppers, ease is now at the hands of shoppers and others who just want to ‘chill’ at the places.
Indeed, a shopping mall provides a number of facilities suitable for individual, children’s or family outings.
We all know that Saturday is the most popular day for outings. All people from different walks of life want to forget their office or school engagements and take a light moment with friends or relatives.
Some just want to rewind because it is a weekend. And this is where the trouble can hide.
Some of these shopping malls have become familiar ground for school-going children, a dangerous excursion for our children who still have their books to attend to.
I am not saying all they have to do is immerse themselves in their books without taking a breather and setting aside some time to ‘chill out’.
The adage, “all work without play makes Jack a dull boys” holds true for all time and so there is need for anyone, including the school-going children to shove their books and head for some place to rewind.


But my concern, and I hope I speak for every parent who cares about the welfare of his child, is the kind of people a child chills out with and at what time of the day that chilling takes place.
As a parent, I do not mind my child taking time off to be with friends and they have their laughs, take selfies while they spoil themselves over some goodies.
After all, it is healthy, as earlier said, for them to surround themselves with similar company, away from their parents, as long as their occupation at that time is pervaded by pure motives.
Once in a while they have to cement their affiliations with their peers and chat about issues that commonly affect them (as long as they are useful issues).
But this may not be the case, as observed from the many instances where these teenagers are found in the company of the opposite sex.
It is common at the shopping malls to come across a girl in the company of a boy, perched on the deck of some car park and from the observation, the company smacks intentions of a pure motive.
What makes it even so obvious is the embracing and hugging and the intimacy that characterises the two solitary teenagers.
A workmate one day found himself assuming a fatherly role over a girl and boy he found deeply kissing on Kabelenga Road.
Incensed by their conduct, he asked them what they were doing and all they could do was to remain mute and quickly change course. We are talking of girls between 12 and 16 years old going with boys of the same age.
Now if that is a mild encounter, there are worse ones at some first car park deck where it has now become common to find teenagers paired up with the opposite sex and indulging in beer.
Because they cannot afford the expensive liquor sold at the mall, they take an option of carrying their own stock to imbibe when they are on that deck.
I am talking about children who leave their parents’ homes and my question is, When this is happening, do the parents have an idea what their children are engaged in?
Any caring parent would take time to know their child’s acquaintances so that one has an idea of the kind of company their child associates with. We all know the dangers of bad company.
An honest child will inform her parents where she is going and the mission that has necessitated that outing.
But more often than not, obtaining such information from a child is not an easy task though it becomes achievable when a parent cultivates a close relationship where the child sees the parent as a friend to confide in.
A child should be made to feel at liberty to share any information with their parents and such information would include events that take place where the child goes.
This helps to instil a sense of confidence and a parent has nothing to fear whenever the child is away from home and at the same time, it places the responsibility on the child to behave in a manner that will please the parents.
In all this, I am convinced that the best starting point is a parent who has a relationship with God as this will form a foundation on which godly principles will be imparted to a child.
A child who has such a foundation has the benefit of learning from infancy such tenets like honesty and truthfulness and it is from this point that parents will have no fear for their child whenever the child is away from home.
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