Saturday, April 07, 2007

Child Abuse

When we hear about child abuse, we see in our mind images of children with bruises and cuts. In my opinion, many parents abuse their children without realizing it. These are some examples:

1. Allowing babies and children to travel in the front passenger seat without a car seat. Most times, the child sits with the mother or maid (depends on who is driving). Goes across the board for people with Kancil to a Toyota to a Lexus! Unbelievable that people will spend up to a couple hundred thousand ringgit on their car but will not pay a couple of hundred ringgit for a car seat. Their child's life is worth less than a couple of hundred ringgit? So many times I've seen young children sitting in the front passenger seat, not only without a car seat but without the seat belt on! These people training their children to be human cannonball? Sadly, I know someone who lost her 3-year-old daughter in a car accident. She was in the front passenger seat with their helper. Mom wasn't driving fast either.

2. Children who stands up on the seat so they're sticking out of the sunroof, while the car is moving. This has got to be made a crime! Most of the children I've seen allowed to do so are in MPVs. These are vehicles which are already raised. In a moving vehicle, there is always the risk of hitting a low lying branch. Sure, it's fun for the kids if you want half a kid after the drive.

I found this video on YouTube when I searched for "importance of child seat". Imagine what will happen to your child if he wasn't restrained.

3. Children who gets everything they ask for. How cruel for parents to not let their children experience striving for something. Ever wondered why children seem to have a room full of toys and still complain they have nothing to play with? To deal with the guilt of not spending time with the kids, parents buy stuff for them. I am not totally free of guilt in this department. I have had to check myself many times not to reward with toys or treats when what my kids really wanted is time with me. I really do not want my kids to grow up thinking the world owe them a living, and that they should get everything they want. Well, if the parents want whiney, demanding, selfish children, then I guess giving them everything is alright.

4. Calling the child names like stupid or undermining the child's ability. One of my daughter's friends have parents who both work full time. Their helper/maid/nanny sends her and her siblings to and from school. Most times, the nanny will hang out in the school with the girl until she goes into class, watching her like she's made of glass. Yes, I do agree that the girl's wellbeing is her responsiblity and I do commend the nanny for keeping a close eye on her. However, I have heard, "Girl, don't climb so high. You know you are very clumsy, you will fall down." or "Girl, don't run so fast. You're clumsy lah." That makes me livid! See if anyone dares plant in my child's head that she's clumsy or stupid or careless. He/She will have quite a mom to deal with.

5. Over praising the child to the point of giving the child false confidence On the other end of the spectrum, there are parents who praise their children too much. Every little action is "Brilliant!", "You're so clever!" with loud thunderous applause. Alright, I'm all for positive reinforcement but again there is also the danger of building over-confidence. The American Idol is a good example of how over-praising our children will lead to over-confidence and much embarrassment. How many hopefuls we've seen and laughed at for being totally devoid of talent yet confident that the judges had made a mistake not to pick them.

When one sees a child with bruises and cuts, whom we suspect to be abused, we can report to the police or to organisations like PS, The Children. What about children who are emotionally abused, whose self-esteem is slowly eroded?



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