According to Tagaloa Avau Sagato, from the village of Salelologa, Savaii, parents are at fault for all the problems caused by the youth these days.
Aged 64, Tagaloa feels that Samoa is starting to lose its old ways of bringing up children and is replacing it with a more western cultural upbringing.
She says that in the past, parents used both communication and discipline to raise their children and it worked well.
“It is obvious that for all the hardships, struggles and problems that a child faces is the fault of the parent,” Tagaloa said.
“It is the duty of the parent to nurture and protect their children and when they don’t, the children run into all sorts of problems.
“Growing up, we were taught through different disciplines. If we didn’t listen and were naughty then we would get a smack and other parents discipline with words.
“That’s the way of the Samoan and we have lived that way for a while. Our children grow up well because of these methods but nowadays, parents are starting to get soft with the way they discipline their children.
“I know for sure that lack of discipline in a child’s life is why they end up troubled and causing trouble.”
Tagaloa says that the most important thing for any parent is developing their family.
“That’s what I have noticed; there has been much change in the upbringing of children,” she said.
“On the other hand, even if the discipline methods have changed, I feel that if a parent unites a family well and brings them forward then they are good parents.
“A family who works well together will always prosper and the children will grow up in a good environment.”
Some families nowadays focus a lot on the disciplinary side of teaching but they don’t try and communicate with the children. Tagaloa says that communication is key for a child to learn.
“When a child goes through things in life then the best way to handle them is to talk to them,” she said.
“Communication is the best way to fix the problem. If communication between family members is good and clear then the family will move forward very well.
“No matter what duty a parent has, the most important thing is to put the family first so that everyone can grow up in a happy environment.”
Tagaloa says that both discipline and communication needs to be mixed. One can’t go without the other.
“You see, discipline needs to go hand in hand with good communication,” she said.
“If you don’t make the child understand why they are being punished or why the thing they did is bad, then they won’t learn anything. Communication is the biggest key to a good family.
“We can’t just do one without the other. If we just discipline the children then they won’t understand, if we just communicate with them then the words won’t sink in.”
As Tagaloa recalled how life was back then, she remembers how well the parents communicated with the children. She says that we need to go back to those days.
“Back in the days it was very nice,” she said.
“After the family prayer at night then the family will sit around and the parents will ask the children how they are doing. That’s true communication and that’s what I think should be done.
“The children can express the hardships they are experiencing. It was always a lovely time for the children and parents to be as one.
“Nowadays that doesn’t happen much. The parents and children prioritize many other things other than each other. We need to go back to the old ways.”