By Thandie Mzumara.

“An apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Often times, such a statement is uttered whenever a child goes astray. Such a school of thought is of the view that a child’s behavior is entirely copied from tits parents/guardians. But is this an absolute truth? I beg to differ.

  1. The society

Let’s be honest, in modern era, children have literary less time interacting with their guardians or parents. Most of the former’s time is spent elsewhere. Modern day children for example, are mostly taken care of at daycares at a tender age, limiting their time with their parents when they are very young, as they’re growing up, they have different teachers at school (and part-time classes) and at home with their nuns. By the time the parents are back home, the kid is already tired and might have found solace in between their bedsheets.

  1. Peers

Another crop of people that directly influences a child’s behavior are their peers. Teenagers are more prone to peer influences; both positively and negatively. As a child goes to school, they grow fond of their friends. This is also the period when a child embarks on a journey to self-discovery. This is the time children trust their peers more than anybody around them. Unfortunately, at times, such influences, tend to be undesirable. They do tend to get wrong influences.

  1. Technological advancements

Let’s face it! The current Young Generation is technologically advanced as compared to the Generation Xers for example. The current generation eats, lives and dreams technology.

Television sets, online media, the print media…you name it!! All these avenues are some of the breeding grounds for cultural erosion on the part of the youngsters, so, no matter hard the parents of guardians may try to shape their child into an authentic human being, use, rather, abuse of modern technology could be the difference between a well-groomed and a wasted child.

Technological advancement is the core of every forward thinking society. However, if not properly checked, it could be a nightmare to the youngsters and the whole society in general. Youths especially are more susceptible to negative influences of technological advancements.

  1. Don’t forget that cultural aspect

Culture is something that is transmitted from one generation to another. A child, as we all know, adapts to things they see. Now, because of culture, a child starts acting and behaving in ways that are seen as appropriate to such a culture. This includes the dress sense, language, beliefs and attitudes just so as to become accepted by them.

In the process of following culture most children lose themselves and the values and beliefs that they had. Let us take for example if a Malawian child is raised in America, as we all know our culture and theirs is totally different, but since the child is raised up there he/she is likely to follow their culture and do things that may be deemed otherwise by the locals. This creates a change in the behavior of the child either in a good or in a bad way.

  1. ‘Guardians’.

Who is in custody of our kids when we are away? Whom do we entrust with taking care of our kids whilst we are tied up with other equally important tasks? As much as parents teach their children ways of life and also have an impact in the life of their children in terms of how to behave, but most of the times children copy behaviors from the people surrounding the former, the likes of nuns or relatives. It is very important that when picking someone to look after the child we choose someone with desirable traits, traits that we would want our child to emulate from.


As it’s been seen, it takes the whole nation to shape a child. Therefore, it is very wrong to finger-point the parents only whenever a child goes astray.



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