Mother's wake-up call after son, 14, used pocket money to buy drugs

Dubai Police deputy chief says mindful parenting can help to prevent juvenile crimes

Dubai’s Juvenile Association organised a lecture about the risk of drugs at Al Khawaneej community centre on Wednesday. Photo: Dubai Customs
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A senior official has spoken about the important role parents can play in stopping their children from being lured into a life of crime.

Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police, said strong family values are key to keeping young people on the right path.

He was speaking during a lecture organised by Dubai’s Juvenile Association at Al Khawaneej community centre on Wednesday.

Guidance from parents can help to keep impressionable youngsters away from taking drugs and developing bad spending habits, Lt Gen Tamim said.

“It's important that parents are strongly present in their children’s lives and teach them about manners, responsible spending and the dangers of drug use,” he said.

Using pocket money to buy drugs

An Egyptian mother told of her despair after her son, who was 14 at the time, used pocket money to buy drugs.

The gravity of the situation was hammered home when he was found unconscious after taking synthetic cannabis.

“It was a horrific night when I received a call from my son’s mobile phone but it was a stranger talking,” said the woman.

“He told me my son was somewhere near our home, unconscious, after midnight.”

Drugs seizure by Dubai Customs — in pictures

The youth was given a daily allowance of Dh200 ($54), which his parents believed was being spent on his gaming hobby.

“He is a good boy but bad friends lured him into buying the drugs, when they noticed he received a lot of pocket money,” she said.

“We were blessed it went well after we received unparalleled support from authorities.”

The mother said she was terrified that her son’s exposure to drugs at an early age would increase the likelihood of substance abuse later in his life.

She said the incident proved a wake-up call, which changed how she and her husband approached their role as parents.

“We became more involved in our two children’s lives, closer to their needs and better listeners to their problems.”

“Now, my son is a top-performing first-year university student.”

Dubai, March 12, 2018:Lt.General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim gestures during the Hemaya International Forum in Dubai. Satish Kumar for the National/ Story by Nawal Al Ramahi

Caution over spoiling children

Hiyam Abo Mashall, a family counsellor and therapist at Hamsa Social Psychological and Family Consultancy Centre in Dubai, spoke of the risks of giving children large sums of money.

“It can lead to a sense of entitlement, lack of appreciation for hard work and the value of money, poor money management skills, dependence on others, and lack of respect for others,” she said.

“It additionally tempts children to try harmful products and be taken advantage of by bad friends, which subsequently gives them feelings of insecurity and abandonment that can contribute to delinquent behaviour.”

Don't neglect loved ones

Lt Gen Tamim warned of the potential repercussions of fractured family life.

He said men who take on more than one wife must ensure they are committed to their paternal responsibilities to all of their children.

“I am not prohibiting what God has permitted but I’m reminding men that God said if they are taking a second or third wife, they must ensure they grant them equal rights,” he said.

He recounted one case in which a teenage boy became involved in petty crimes after his father remarried and moved out of the family home.

“The father abandoned his first wife and their children and dedicated himself to his new wife and new family,” said the officer.

Other factors that can affect the well-being of children and play a part in shaping their futures, include domestic violence and other marital problems.

“Children exposed to conflict and instability in their parents' relationship are more likely to experience emotional distress, behavioural problems, and poor academic performance,” Ms Abo Mashall said.

This can increase children’s risk of involvement in criminal activity.

“The root cause of many of the cases that I provide counselling for, is in fact problems between parents.”

Updated: February 02, 2023, 1:23 PM