Ronald Olusegun Olaiya
Photo Credit: 123RF
There are number of distractions that tend to prevent families from achieving their set goals and targets. These distractions take their attentions away temporarily or permanently from the family issues. So, while these distractions are going on, the families receive/enjoy very little or no attention from the father, mother or the child involved. Consequently, the family suffers some setbacks during the period. It is therefore important to identify the sources of such distractions to enable us manage and minimise their impacts on the families.
Frequent and Open Disagreements Among Couples and Children
Many families are plagued with all manners of avoidable interpersonal conflicts and disagreements. These may be between the couples; that is husbands and wives. At some other times disagreements may be between the parents and their children. We may also experience intractable differences among the siblings. All these have serious effects on the unity of the families in question and their ability to discharge their obligations to their children, especially the growing ones.
Some of the disagreements explained in 1 above could sometimes degenerate to domestic violence in extreme cases, especially when the parties involved could no longer control their anger. This is a dangerous dimension because violence could result in physical harm and injury that can deepen the hatred in the family. Death could also occur from domestic violence too. Whichever way you view it, domestic violence does not yield fruitful result. It can only tear apart the entire fabric that holds the family together. Of course, any family that stands against itself is bound to witness retrogression.
In some cases, couples are just too busy with their work/business pursuits to the extent that they have little or no attention for their families. The husbands do not have time for their wives and children. In the same vein, wives do not have time for their husbands and children. They all claim that they are as busy as bees. Responsibilities to the children are either ceded to the housemaids or schools or both. The process of parenting suffers as parents cannot say for sure the true nature and character of their children. The children hardly recognise their parents by their characters. They are closer to the housemaids who most children in this situation recognise as their parents. Many of these children are therefore easily abused and sexually molested by the “foreign bodies” that have been charged to take of them.
Infidelity on the part of the Couples
Engagement in extra marital affairs no doubt is a serious and dangerous distraction in the family. A flirting wife shares the time and attention she should be sharing with her family, especially her husband and children, with another man outside. And because of her emotional attachment to the man outside, she can easily sacrifice her time, money, and other important resources to make her man friend happy. She does not care what happens to husband and children. In the way a husband who is into extra marital affairs would not mind giving to his woman friend the money that he should have used to take care of his family, especially the wife and the children. This is a serious but avoidable distraction if only couples can discipline themselves. This is worse where the involvement in extra marital affairs is a mutual thing among the couples. The children in such situation are under serious and precarious conditions.
These are people you did not expect but they bump into your home without prior notice. They could be a source of friction between the couples depending on who the visitors are closest to among them. Unplanned visitation means unplanned expenditures and pressures on the existing facilities and resources at home. For families with meagre resources, this is a very big deal. Usually, such unsolicited visitors are relatives and friends of either of the couples or both.
Mass and Social Media
This is information era. At least that is what everybody is now saying. On daily basis, mass media like television, radio, newspapers, magazines, journals are bombarding us with loads of information. They engage our attention with real and sometimes wrong information. The social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Video games, etc are not left out in this process. Apart from the fact that they reduce the quality time and attention we have for our families, they also share some information to us as well as our children. Quite a number of such materials being shared have negative and provocative effects on the socialisation process of our children.
This is another source of distraction to the families. The time that should be used to take care of members of the family will now be used to look after the sick ones. The impact is more severe if the sickness involves the bread winner of the family. The family’s meagre resources are also eroded by the sickness as there are bills to be settled. Sickness also drains family members emotionally and physically. Depression related diseases may even be worse as this could be more difficult to take care of.
Death of any member of a family comes with devastating effects physically and emotionally. The death of the bread winner may call for greater agony and pain as it could lead to stoppage of the pursuit of the educational dreams of his/her children. It could also result in loss of resources due to inheritance. In other words, some assets the family could use to augment their little income may be taken away from them by their kinsmen who may claim the right to inherit such assets by virtue of existing traditions and culture. It can also delay in progress being recorded in the family.
Over dependence on alcohol is a threat to the welfare of all family members, not just the actual person engaging in alcoholism. The limited family resources are being misapplied and thrown on irrelevant project at the expense of children’s education, health and social development. And since the children see their parents as role models, chances are that some of them, if not all, may accept alcoholism as an acceptable norm and start drinking as well.
Gambling is an evil that has come to destroy families. And this monster is working tirelessly to destroy many homes today. In most homes, it is the man of the house that is addicted to gambling. But in some, the women are more active in gambling than the men. Gambling can be compared to taking little drops of water to the ocean. The person engaging in the exercise will always lack water, but the ocean will not lack. Expending the limited amount of money in the family on gambling believing that you will win more money at the end of the day is useless greed that should be avoided. Gamblers will end up in penury. It is not arguable.
Smoking and Drug Addiction.
Smoking habit is one of the deadliest distractions before any family where members are known for being chain smokers. This is not limited to cigarette; it also includes cannabis, marijuana, etc. Drug addiction/abuse involves over dosage of drugs for the very wrong reason. It also includes inhaling of substances like cocaine, heroine, caffeine, etc
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