“There Is A Breakdown In Traditional Values and Social Bonds”

Emmanuel Yenshu Vubo, Professor of Sociology, University of Buea.

Several cases of children killing their parents have been reported in society of late. What can explain the recurrence of cases of parricide?
The cases of parricide recorded of recent are all cases of domestic crime, some of them being very gruesome and extremely horrible. They reflect the breakdown in traditional values and social bonds. They show the extent to which societies and our own, for that matter are losing in the things that make them social entities. Several reasons are responsible. We are going through a global transformation that ushers in the breakdown of social structures, institutions and values. Unlike revolutionary period that may witness cultural revivalism and the production of new values, we witness rather a situation of near anarchy. Instead of liberties that are encouraged for better self- realisation we find an upsurge in permissiveness and counter values. Children are not properly brought up because, it is thought that this is their age and they can decide what they want. As such, they are allowed to do just what they want. That is how middle class children find themselves in drug gangs where they learn violence and utter disrespect even for life itself. The counter value drive heroism of this generation leads them to experiment in the horrible. This is how gang members can encourage a child to try to kill a family member and even a parent while their peers watch to make sure that this is effectively done. This emboldened by drug addiction. Families themselves show what I can call negative love, the love that gives all what a child wants and gives in to all what the child does, even to the extent of protecting in cases of known criminal activities. That is called permissiveness. It even grows into fear when the children become incontrollable. Some societies even protect this in the name of liberty as when guns are allowed in the case of children who kill their peers in school and are not heavily punished. It is not limited to Cameroon. It is a global phenomenon. It also looks like it is more of a male adolescent phenomenon than that of the female children.

What could possibly provoke the child to kill his/her own parent? 
Definitely, when the parents refuse to continue to be permissive and when they cannot continue to wrongly tolerate. There are cases where a parent has been killed by a child for refusing to give money for a child to travel out of the country. Gang behaviour and drug consumption to stupefying levels emboldens young people to kill their own. In a more recent case, the child who killed the mother was done reportedly in complicity with a gang friend. Children who are already violent, tend to disagree violently over behavioural tendencies with parents before such acts are committed. 

What is the responsibility of the society in this disturbing situation?
Societies are finding it difficult regulating moral behaviour because issues of morality are denigratingly treated as outmoded. New forms of barbarism and counter values are encouraged in the name of encouraging freedom. 

What should be urgently done to curb the scourge or even eradicate it? 
These acts should be heavily penalised even with capital punishment or the life sentence with heavy labour. This will be dissuasive to others wh...



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