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“Hug your kids at home, but belt them in the car.”
- Author Unknown
The ravishing of the tender psyche of the 5-year old ‘Gudiya’, perpetrated in the most inhuman, beastly and barbaric manner shows a grossly depraved mentality of the culprits. The victims are as young as 2 year olds, 5 year olds! The age when these young girls should be playing with dolls, they are subjected to a cruelty of unimaginable horror. The age when they are not even supposed to know the nuances of physical intimacy, they are taken to a level of a mental state by some perverts that we may all be compelled to secretly pray that the victims should rather die than live or suffer from complete amnesia to be able to live a normal life later!
Delhi and NCR are having thousands of nuclear families where the parents have to go to work leaving their young ones in the care of domestic helps. Such parents are understandably becoming panicky. Those, especially having daughters, are having a mentally harrowing time and are on the verge of becoming paranoid. The scenario looks scary! What are we headed to?
All said and done, let’s make utmost efforts to try and keep our children safe. They are innocent and we should be extra cautious in maintaining their innocence intact. They have a tender psyche and it should be our first and foremost concern to ensure that it always remains so. They are gullible and believe all those who are nice to them. They do not have orientation in setting good and bad people apart. It is our duty to be on the guard all the time and prepare them delicately as to how do they have to remain insulated from the bad influences lurking dangerously around them.
Answer their questions: Children see many new things in their daily exposure to their surroundings and are full of inquisitive questions. Let them develop their complete trust in you. Their trust in you should be unshakeable that if, God forbid, something undesirable happens to them, they should not hesitate in immediately confiding in you. You should be your children’s most trusted reliable source to satisfy their ever-increasing urge to understand everything around them! This is one way of keeping them safe!
Gently educate them: Children should be taught to maintain safe distance from school bus-drivers, servants and strangers. They should be told that physical touch should be kept to bare minimum when dealing with these people and should be encouraged to report to you if their ‘space’ is encroached by any of these. Ever since I remember I delicately taught my son while giving him bath that no one should touch his private parts. Only I could touch him and that too only for the purpose of cleaning his body as long as he was small and I was giving him bath!
Communicate with them: Children live blissfully in their own sweet world and are not aware of the existence of the bad elements in our society all around and we have to ensure that they are gradually and delicately sensitized to this danger so that they do not learn about them the hard way in their tender years!
Always try to ensure that small children do not go in the building lift with anyone alone, especially not with the drivers, servants, etc. The family members should go with them to see them off out of the lift even if they are going to play in the park in the guarded community. Small children, irrespective of their gender, are easy targets for perverted people.
We have provided our young son with a cell phone despite knowing the adverse impact of the radiation emanating from it. He has been instructed to keep its use to the minimum and use it only for keeping us informed when he goes to play with his friends in the society premises.
Give them emotional security: Caring for children must be one of the most important jobs of our lives. We should take great care that children are not exposed to any unpleasant scenes in the family. Sometimes in the heat of the moment the parents or the elders of the family become careless and are past caring while hurling abuses at one another. They even forget that their impressionable young children are around. Such unpleasant family scenes are likely to make them feel emotionally insecure.
The lack of emotional security may lead them to the same bad elements you want their safety from! Try and ensure that they are neither over-protected nor under-protected. They should be given the right amount of emotional fall-back and encouraged to go ahead and explore the world.
Make them a little aggressive: They should in fact be taught to be a little aggressive. Teach your children to scream if someone comes close to them with a gesture or expression they do not like. Several case studies have shown that people with a criminal bent of mind normally avoid messing up with aggressive people, even if they’re kids! Actually, the criminals want least resistance from their victims and they normally look for submissive targets that are less likely to create any scene.
Give them age-appropriate atmosphere: As far as possible children should not be exposed to situations which are not age-appropriate for them. They’ll learn everything they are supposed to, but only at appropriate age and time. If small children are sleeping at night in the same room with their parents, the parents should be extra careful about what the children should not be exposed to. A balanced behaviour and judicious parenting on our parts will go a long way in giving our children the much needed support towards growing into balanced personalities.
Recognize the signs: Please always monitor your child’s behaviour for any change. If a talkative child suddenly becomes withdrawn and introvert he may be facing a serious crisis. Leave everything aside to go to the root of the cause. Help your child regain his natural self on priority basis. Without doubt, he should always be your first and the foremost priority. Make it a habit to keep an eye from a distance on all those who come near your child whenever your child goes to play and you happen to be around.
Help them develop constructive approach: Parenting is a very challenging task. Children should be exposed to constructive ideas and stimuli. We see some children with a destructive streak in their behaviour which is laughed off by some parents. In fact, this is the most appropriate time for parents to gently and firmly make their children change their ways. I feel people with a destructive bent of mind must have been deprived of a broader exposure to positive atmosphere in their childhood. If we are successful in making them positive personalities, they’ll be more confident and will spread happiness all around!
Maximize their security: On the front of physical security, help them avert preventable accidents. They should be oriented on the dangerous repercussions of playing with electric appliances, sockets, match box, lighter, gas stove, etc. Make your home completely child-proof. Our children are small and uninitiated. We should make conscious efforts to make them aware of right and wrong at the right time.
Give them mental, physical and emotional security to enable them to have an impeccable psychological development. After all, a healthy mind lives in a healthy body. Children are our future. Give them healthy wings and let them expand their horizons.
Take utmost care to give your children beautiful and fond memories of their childhood free of any kind of mental trauma. It’ll go a long way in having a better world to live in for all of us!
About the Author: Suman Arora is a senior class I gazetted officer (Director) who feels strongly about issues relating to women and children. She believes it is a collective societal responsibility to bring about positive changes. Her first book on interpretation of human emotions/relations in a lighter vein is ready to go to print. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image Source: World Bank Photo Collection