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Playing Truant
Cutting Classes or Running Away from Home

Truancy or running away from home comes under the behavioral disorder of an act of delinquency, which is almost as bad as lying or stealing. Fortunately in India the problem has yet not achieved the proportions that it has done in the United States, though cases of truancy are more frequent than actually running away from home. But as they say prevention is better than cure and it is always better to nip the problem in the bud. 

Parents are the cause in Wealthy Children

Research reveals that the parents are normally the cause children playing truant in very wealthy families.  Children are most at risk in families where money is given too much importance or where parents have no the time to inculcate the right values.  Children are also of the impression that money comes in easily and that money can buy them everything in life. So why bother with school.

Let us take the example of fifteen-year old Naveen who hailed from a very rich family in Gujarat. He was not at all interested in school and would keep on doing badly in class. He was pulled up a couple of times by his teachers and as a result began to hate going school. Soon he started skipping classes on the slightest pretext. When his parents forcibly sent him to school, he found a way to pretend he was at school. When his parents finally caught on to his truant behavior, they punished him by taking him out of school and making him join the family business. He realised his loss only much later in life when he found that the lowliest clerk in the company was more educated than he was and that he could not even hope to expand his business due to his lack of education.

Schools to be blamed for underprivileged children

Whereas parents are the cause of truancy in the upper strata of society, it is the schools that are to blame for truancy and dropouts in the lower strata. Often a child from a poor family may not be able to afford all the equipment required by the school, like a compass box or paint box and extra uniforms and tends to come under constant scrutiny. He then begins to feel ashamed and conscious that he can not afford the good things like the other children and tries to avoid them, the teachers and school on the whole. After this it is very difficult for him to concentrate on his studies and he becomes a drop out.

Restless children often feel confined

Some children basically find it difficult to sit in one place and concentrate for six hours a day, with only a few short breaks. They tend to get shifty and restless and generally end up getting punished by the teacher. At this point the teacher should be aware of what is really happening and try to make the class more interesting. Instead what normally happens is that the child gets constantly punished.  He will try to avoid that particular class until he ultimately begins to bunk school entirely.

Streets can be so unsafe

This is a very grave situation because the childís parents are under the wrong impression that the child is at school. He may actually be roaming the streets where he could be prey to gamblers, drug peddlers and other anti-social elements.  These interactions, which initially start as friends to ďhang-outĒ with while cutting school, could actually lead to serious problems such as drug abuse and addition, gambling or even visiting commercial sex workers.  It is therefore extremely important for parents to be constantly in touch with the teachers about the childís progress to avoid such situations and save a young life from being ruined.

Running away from home

But an even graver situation arises when the child actually runs away from home due to pressures or disharmony of any kind. Very often a child might feel extremely lonely or misunderstood and may have no close relative or friend in whom he can confide in. And when the pain becomes intolerable he might finally just get up and run away without caring about the consequences.

Take the case of twelve year old Mishal, whose parents were too involved in their own lives and never really cared for him.  Mishal had a sister 10 years older than him.  Despite the age difference, he was very close to her.  But soon a time came when she got married and moved to a different city, Pune.  After her marriage Mishal was completely broken.  He was living in the house and under the same roof with his parents, but with little or no communication between them. Mishal was extremely lonely and depressed. He lost interest in his studies, and life in general.  One day, Mishal just packed a few clothes and ran off.  To Pune, to his sisterís house. He felt she was the only one in the family who really understood him and who cared for him.  The parents were in a state of shock when they discovered he had run away.  He didnít see any reason for his behaviors, because they felt they were providing him with the latest and most expensive games, giving him big sums for pocket money and allowing him to do whatever he wanted.  What they didnít realize was that he craved for their attention. 

Given the intense social pressures of today, it is important that parents and teachers wore together to help children grow into happy, well-adjusted human beings.  Teacher should be well trained in the basics of child guidance. Parents from their side should provide a harmonious atmosphere and emotional security for their children. This is the only way to delinquency acts and other behavioral disorders can be prevented.

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