You are here
Psychologist Daryl Joseph: Nation’s youth full of rage
A counselling psychologist is predicting more cases like the one that recently occurred at the Ministry of Gender Youth and Child Development if immediate steps are not taken to deal with frustration and other pressures at work places. Daryl Joseph, a 41-year-old practitioner, also says the nation’s young people are bursting with anger. This is being manifested in the increasing crime rate which is an outcome of the neglect in dealing with this problem at the level of the schools and more so a result of bad parenting.
No social strata he warned is immune from anti-social behaviour especially among young Afro-Trinis, although he concedes that this is a worldwide challenge for people of African descent.
Q: Mr Joseph a while ago you were telling me that our schools today are a hot bed of ...?
A: Yes, of negative behaviour, particularly among the boys, although the girls are giving the boys a fair run as well.
What is the main factor responsible for this anger?
(At his White Street, Woodbrook office, Josal Consulting Limited where he is the managing director, Thursday morning) There are of course various causes but at the end of the day the one common thread that runs through all the negative behaviour has something to do with parenting.
The quality of parenting those kids receive has a direct effect on the way they behave.
How is this negative behaviour being exhibited in the main?
With the boys in particular you see a lot of anger and a lot of acting out angrily...a lot of rebellious behaviour, aggressive behaviour and in many instances, especially of late, you have bullying situations. Many of those bullies are themselves experiencing some kind of turmoil in their own lives.
I am prepared to argue that in 90 per cent of anti-social behaviour by children should be blamed on parents not setting proper examples to their children?
(Nodding approvingly) We talking about the parenting dynamics whether there is a mother and a father, whether there are not just physically present but emotionally present as well, whether there is a connection between those parents and the child. Those are the most significant factors in determining the way the child comes up.
Mr Joseph have you heard the school of thought which says it’s better for a parent to stay away from the home environment if they cannot get on well with their partner in the presence of the child or their children?
(A cautious glance at the ceiling) Mr Raphael you have to be careful with the particular statement, right? What I would say about that is that if you have a situation with two parents who are not getting along well at all, there is abuse—physical, emotional, verbal and so on—it would be better perhaps for that child to live with one parent where there is peace and calm and a more loving atmosphere than to live with two parents where there is animosity, aggression, anger, violence and so on.
Mr Joseph I am sure you will agree that this anti-social pattern of behaviour is not confined to any one particular socio-economic bracket?
Oh no, not at all. Not at all.
So why we don’t hear of these negatives from certain other ethnic groups?
Well I suppose it could be a simple case of demographics to some extent you know. And I don’t want to accuse anybody of necessarily covering up anything or utilising...but there may be that perception also, right? That if you have more (quickly changes his mind with an ironic chuckle)... look, well I don’t want to go into that.
Isn’t it a fact that children who come from a sound socio-economic background are able to have their shortcomings covered up unlike others who are daily highlighted in the media?
I can understand why that perception may be so but I cannot make a definitive statement unless I have facts to support it.
Are you sure you are not being professionally correct?
I have to be professionally correct...we not liming. If we liming at the bar I will tell you. (laughs).
Earlier you spoke about the anger emanating particularly among the boys. If that is not handled at the appropriate time could it get out of hand?
(Left elbow resting on crossed legs and fingers on his chin) Not could—that is what’s happening. That is what we are seeing on the media. Young boys especially, who are going around committing murders, shooting wildly, that’s exactly what is going on. Those kids, I doubt those persons come from a well balanced and loving environment because if they did they would more likely than not turn out differently.
There are the rare cases where somebody comes from a loving and caring environment and still turns out to be deviant and it is usually because there is something mentally wrong with that person.
To be brutally frank Mr Joseph if we should go by what we see almost on a daily basis on the news media isn’t this epidemic of violence more pronounced in the Afro-Trinidadian community?
(Hesitating once more to give a definitive response) Again you have to be very careful looking at numbers because we have to look at the ethnic balance of our society. What I would say is that it gets more coverage and remember...no hold on, I am a clinician who works under the cover of confidentiality...
But I am not asking you to break any confi....?
I know that, that’s why I will not say that your statement is correct, bearing in mind if I say I disagree with something I may be acting from a position of confidentiality as well. I may not be able to say or explain why I don’t agree but you must bear in mind Mr Raphael, I may be privy to something or I may know some things that the average citizen may not know.
So even based on that evidence we are seeing in the news media you cannot give a definitive response to my question? Those who are appearing in court charged with a series of heinous crimes?
I would say the situations we see highlighted in the press, if you look at the statistics you would probably be correct.
Assuming I am correct or we are correct, doesn’t that say something about the type of parenting Afro-Trinidadians are offering their children and mind you we are not being biased or snobbish—just looking at the cold facts?
Well I think you are highlighting a problem that doesn’t affect only Afro-Trinidadians it is a worldwide challenge among people of African descent.
Can this anger, Mr Joseph—if it is not as you said handled appropriately as a child—grow into a serious mental issue as an adult?
There is a difference between somebody who is very angry and one who is mentally ill, alright? The two are not necessarily the same thing, and a person could have a predisposition to be mentally ill and you would want that person to monitor their health very properly because of the higher risk which is involved. But to say that somebody who is very angry or who goes through a little difficulty would someday end up with a mental problem, that does not go across the board.
I am not calling the name of the person I am going to refer to because I am extremely concerned about the negative effects the current media frenzy could have on that person. But...
(Shaking his head and a somber expression) I am too...extremely concerned...extremely concerned.
I don’t think you have seen the individual in a professional capacity so you won’t be breaking anything of a confidential nature but from a cursory look at events, is there somebody in that whole scenario needs some help?
Again I need to ascertain the facts before I can make any determination. In my own mind what I can say is from the accounts I have read so far, there seems to be a lot of inconsistencies in the story and there are a lot of question marks on both sides of the fence, right? Generally speaking though from an EAP perspective certain steps should have been taken. As to why that did not happen I cannot say at this time. Whether it was sheer ignorance or...
Briefly what ought to have taken place?
From the time there is a confrontation or any kind of behaviour from an employee which might be considered abnormal or dangerous you would call the EAP who would first determine how serious the threat of violence is. If there is a reasonable suspicion that they might harm themselves or someone else you get security to detain that person.
If there isn’t EAP at that particular work place?
Well crapaud smoke you pipe as we say in local parlance. Now you really fishing, you throwing line in the sea without necessarily having your hook and bait in place, right? And I think that probably is what might have happened there. That is why EAP is necessary, it is not just for reactive counselling.
Is there really a pressing need for EAPS in this country— at work places?
Of course. Listen, people spend the majority of their time at their jobs, so if working adults are stressed out, tired, are angry, where do you think it is coming from? Not from the three hours they spend at home... it is from eight, nine or ten hours at the work place.
Are you optimistic that anything good would come out of the present matter?
I think you would see a scramble to put something in place now that has happened (heavy sigh). I don’t think it would happen overnight but I am seeing a trend. But as long as things remain as they are—the population very stressed, tried and frustrated—it is unfortunate that more incidents will occur.
You are applying constant pressure to people eventually they will crack and you will see more. I really hope similar incidents do not occur but we will see more and more instances of work place violence, work place attacks, people acting strangely.
I often wonder, in a thankful way, how come more things do not happen in our work places? The kind of tension and the kind of anger that people are walking around with. But as I said, I hope the authorities move quickly to implement EAPS to deal with this very serious challenge facing us.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.