Shield your child

By Julia Fernandes

September 21, 2011


Two recent news reports left me a bit sad. One report was on how two teenagers (both 16 years old) admitted to having being inspired by crime-based television shows killed and robbed a senior citizen in Mumbai. Another report I came across today was on how modern day pressures are causing alarming rise in suicides among kids.


Both the reports have one common factor -- children harbouring and eventually succumbing to negative tendencies to the extent of either ending their lives or taking somebody else’s life. So, what exactly is driving our kids to the edge? Childhood is the time of joy and wonder, of playing, studying and dreaming towards a wonderful future. What is it that is robbing our children of their innocence?


Is it the explosion of information constantly being thrown at us? While reality TV shows place exaggerated emphasis on success and money, we have crime-based television shows that provide graphic account of how crimes can be committed. Not to mention the news channels that constantly harp on negative news such as bomb blasts relaying disturbing images of the blast sites as and when it happens.


As an adult if these things can disturb me one can imagine what impact such information could be having on kids? Children lack the coping mechanisms which adults have. They are unable to process the plethora of information coming towards them. Inevitably, then end up subconsciously absorbing most of what they see and hear. Later on, depending upon their overall emotional and mental makeup, such information leads to negative behavioural changes.


One of my colleagues had bought his cute 3-year old child to our office. When the child entered the office the first thing he said, clutching his toy tightly to his chest and walking in a determined way, “Papa, I want work.” He kept saying it two or three times. I was a bit taken aback. Now, why would work figure in a 3-year old’s wish-list? Something has given the child an impression that work is a very good thing and that is probably why he is asking his father for work!


Which just goes to show that what we discuss and how we behave in the house greatly impact our kids. Today, children are growing up seeing both their parents working with little or no quality time for them. No amount of material things can replace a parent’s undivided love and attention. Unfortunately, parents have everything to give to their kids except their time.


As parents it is not enough to ensure the physical well-being of your child. Take care of their emotional and mental well-being too. Listen to your child. In a child’s world even the smallest things matter a lot. Observe and note changes in their behavior. A little alertness in addition to dollops of love and care can go a long way in shielding your child from negative tendencies.