JAPEM sees sharp drop in cases of problem children

National 2 minutes, 26 seconds


The Community Development Department (JAPEM) said there was a 69 per cent drop in cases of children beyond parental control being referred to its Counselling and Probation Section in 2015 compared to 2014.

According to statistics presented by the section during a social awareness seminar recently held in Temburong, 16 cases of ‘sukar dikawal’ or beyond parental control had been referred to the section last year, down by 36 cases from 2014.

The years preceding that also recorded beyond parental control cases as the highest number of cases received by the section with 42, 25 and 53 cases respectively in each year from 2011 to 2013.

In an interview, a counselling officer from JAPEM who wished to remain anonymous said these cases involve children and teenagers below the age of 18 who are ‘difficult to control’.

These cases include parents not knowing their children’s whereabouts or who their children mingle and hang out with and teenagers constantly being absent from home or involved in ‘negative’ and negative social activities, said the officer.

“Each client is unique, so we need to assess their situation and problems first. Then from there, we take note of the proper therapy and treatment for them,” said the counsellor, adding that the section’s counsellors usually cater to individual, group and family counselling sessions.

Regarding the factors leading to such behaviour in children and teenagers, the counsellor said there are many factors involved, but family issues and ‘conflict within self’ are among the most prevalent causes.

“Being teenagers, they are usually in search of themselves, finding their identities, to who or what they belong to, so these are the conflicts they are facing,” the counsellor said.

“They don’t know what they want to be, so they just follow their friends and try whatever they want to, leading to (social) problems,” said the counsellor, adding that sometimes the ‘self conflict’ among teens also leads them to get involved with the ‘wrong crowd’ and drug problems.

Meanwhile, broken families from divorces remain the most common factor causing children to be rebellious.

The counsellor also highlighted that the family plays a vital role as a support system in deterring children from being drawn into committing such negative social activities.

“Family is the focal point. It needs to have a strong foundation and support for the children in order for them to be brought up in a healthy and loving environment.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awg Halbi Hj Md Yusof told The Brunei Times that the family plays a vital role in ensuring that children won’t resort to committing negative social activities.

“Awareness must be instilled early (in children on their responsibility to society). That is with a proper education and a good upbringing from home to deter children from being (negatively) influenced and (getting) beyond control,” he said.

The Brunei Times