Children are salt of the world and a heritage of the Lord, according to the Holy book. But current challenges in the society have put them under threat, OLUWATOSIN OMONIYI writes
Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights activist, say that childhood means simplicity. “Look at the world with the child’s eye-it is very beautiful.” And indeed, the world is beautiful through the eyes of the child (ren). They are transparent, innocent, straightforward and have no biases.
For Satyarthi, relating children to simplicity has helped his friendship with them and aided in having a much deeper meaning than others.
This shows in the love between parents especially mother and child and the fact that such love is unquantifiable. Naturally, they are bundle of joy and pride of parents. So, it is understandable for such parents to go wild with rage or go nearly mental to see the child murdered or mistreated. In fact, no parent can withstand the pain of having his child (ren) canned even when it is done with love by another person, not to talk of bullying or scolding, it is only just natural for a parent to be displeased. The flow of love towards one child is simply boundless.
The Nigerian system back then was such that was apt with the notion that ‘it takes one person to give birth to a child but takes a community to train the child.’
However, that view no longer holds sway as the society and world at large now seems abusive and cruel to children. Again, the Holy book says ‘the heart of man is desperately wicked, who can know it.”
Similarly in the Macbeth drama, one of the characters- King Duncan said, “There is no art to read the mind’s construction on the face.” Meaning that there is no way to predict betrayal, otherwise, parent would have prevented avoidable of sudden and cruel deaths and attack of their children. It is disheartening that the world is unbelievably becoming cruel against children (tomorrow world owners) who she ought to protect and guard jealously.
It is becoming too constant in the national and international dailies as fathers, uncles, caregivers sexually abuse daughter(s),girl-child, rough handle and mistreat children put in their care. There are too many series of sad and pathetic stories of maltreated, abused and attacked children recently trending and going viral on social media and online, in fact, the flow of heart-rending videos seem thriving on daily basis
The most pathetic video was that of a baby flung to the floor from a height, thick blood flushed out of the baby’s mouth and the food she ate, earlier, came through her nostril! While the baby (maybe six months old) was gasping for breath, the care giver went farther by strangulating the baby till her last breath.
Another viral video showed a caregiver hitting a child hard on his head for littering the floor with dirt. The caregiver, a woman was seen giving the child a foam to mop the floor and as the little boy who looked like a three year old boy, was cleaning the floor, she kept hitting him mercilessly on the head and in the face, pushing and kicking with some deep seated hatred domicile inside of her. With obvious frustration shown on her face, she pulled the little boy to the floor, matched him on the head with her shoe and hit him once more on the neck and pushd him outside the room. Perhaps the pain was too much for the boy to cry, he quietly pulled himself up and staggered out of the room.
A similar video showed a lady caregiver first spanking a young girl of about 3 years as well. She ordered her to clean a table and chair. She gave the little girl a wiper to clean the table, the poor girl used it to clean her face instead and this got the caregiver infuriated more, she came down heavily on her by hitting the little girl hard with two hands on the face. The beating was like two adults trying to outsmart one another in a fighting contest. The little girl cried, fell on the ground, got up and continued cleaning. While cleaning, she was also receiving palm beatings from her caregiver.
While the above stories are credited to callous caregivers, there are other ways even parents are wicked to their children knowingly or unknowingly. Some exposed their girl-child to maltreatment and danger in the name of fashion or being trendy.
Last week, on Facebook, a 5-year-old girl named ‘most beautiful in the world, was seen. She was also declared an international model. The post received a wide range of backlash from readers online. One Edward Oyewole reacted that it is ‘Child Abuse Extra Ordinary.’ Demola Adewusi said her childhood has been stolen away from her. Yanju Uwala corrobortated Oyewole that it is an International child abuse.
However, some argued that nothing is wrong with it, after all, Pears baby beauty product has done baby pageant before. One Fadilat Idris argued that stars like Tiger Wood were captured from toddlers, hence, nothing child abuse about it.
Another video showed a little 2year girl dancing seductively in tune to the rhythm of music. She was certainly trained by an adult. While dancing, she got applauded and geared to continue.
Similarly last week, an international based mother by name Rocio Umsted couldn’t help posting her annoyance on Facebook advising fellow mothers to be at alert using her experience. Her daughter was found with several bite marks on her back. According to Umsted, her daughter was bitten about eight times on her back at the daycare centre, Sunrise Preschool in Maricopa, where she kept the child while she went to work. “I was upset, and I get it, kids are going to be kids, but when I picked and checked my daughter out, she had about eight bite marks all over her back…how can you justify this?” The mum wrote on Facebook.
“We pay good money to get our children taken care of. Moral of the story please be careful on where you leave your children for daycare.”
The president of the nursery Dana Vela later said the toddler “was injured by another child very quickly and while the caregiver was changing a diaper.”
“This is not meant to excuse the incident but to explain what happened,” she wrote. “We can and will do better and this unfortunate matter has provided some hard-learned lessons.”
The child responsible for the biting has now been expelled, she added.
Another mother- Alice Bryant also shared on Facebook how she found 25 marks on her 15-month-old daughter Rosalynn’s back – and hasn’t been told the truth by staff or authorities about what happened. She also shared the images on her Facebook page, explaining they happened within five days of her child starting at Creative Beginnings Daycare in Tucson.
Bryant filed a police report for negligence and notified the Department of Health, which handles daycare accreditation, but said after two months the incident was still under investigation. She said: “No word and neither department contacted me with updates, and I signed up for victim notification. All of these bites happened in one day. Please share!”
There are so many ills ongoing against children and the society seems to be losing its grip in upholding the moral values surrounding the children. The summarised adage “that it takes a community to train a child seem to have been thrown into the abyss of moral decadence. Adults encourage little children to dress deductively. Another post of children in their early teens, like 12 and 13 were seen posing with bottles of beer, in commemoration of Children’s!
Days that morals were sacred, children dare not been seen with such and celebrating their ‘Day’ in such manner. The questions some threw to the post was, “who was the beer parlour operator that distributed the drinks to them. Someone commented that, “this is just too bad. The beer parlour operator ought to be apprehended and charged for child abuse.”
The belief of most people New Telegraph spoke to, is that women mostly are culprits of evil deeds against children. According to Mrs Theresa Ajewole, a Guidance Counselor and proprietor, women are more dangerous than Cobra snake. “I agree that I’m a woman but truth be told, all the wicked deeds in the videos going viral, are committed by women so far. Watching the videos, depict how callous and vicious women could be. And that is because they are closer to the children. It’s not as if men are better than women, but reality is that not all of us are human beings, majority of us are covered in human skin but we are actually animals, deadly ones at that. Otherwise, how could you explain the scenarios painted above?
She explained further that when it comes to kidnapping children and doing it perfectly, women are involved. “Why is it like that? It is because they are closer to children, as such, the easy doorway to them,” she said.
Ajewole buttressed her point with a news report of a woman somewhere in the East who lost four of her children to a woman kidnapper. A set of twin and two of triplets were stolen by the kidnapper, according to her.
Ajewole pointed out that reason for children attack by adults is because of current lifestyles. She explained that those days were more of communal lifestyle unlike nowadays of enclosed lifestyle.
Oluwawemimo Adebiyi, child advocate and a child psychologist, therapist and counselor told New Telegraph that the incessant attack on children is alarming and at the stage of emergency which will need a global attention especially in this part of the world.
Children go through abusive situation and they end up growing into damaged adults. And these are the same adults who in turn run society. According to her, the circle must be broken and the only way out of this menace is by educating every adult on who a child is and to respect the fundamental rights of children.
Children also must be empowered with the knowledge of who they are, what their rights are and the responsibility that comes with their rights.
“To start with, what is attack on children and who is a child? I will say, the literal meaning of “attack” is an aggressive and violent act against a person. And since we are talking about a child ( an individual within the ages of 0-17).
At family level, the rights of children are being attacked. The right to protection, the right to participation (children must not be heard), the right to development(cultural embargo on how fat a child should grow both mentally, socially and physically) , and the right to Survival ( too many babies are being aborted).
Origin of children’s day- May 27
CHILDREN’S DAY is one dedicated to celebrate “childhood”, it is On this day that tribute is paid to all children in the world.
It is an event celebrated in many places around the world. The holiday is simply set to honour children and minors. The International Children’s Day had its origin in Turkey in 1920 (April 23, 1920) and later in the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925. Children’s Day was first celebrated worldwide in October 1955, under the sponsorship of International Union for Child Welfare in Geneva. The idea of a Universal Children’s Day was mooted by Rubab Mansoor grade 8 and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954.
First proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to institute a day, firstly to promote mutual exchange and understanding among children and secondly to initiate action to benefit and promote the welfare of the world’s children.
This year campaign theme for UNICEF was tagged, “For every child, every right.” It was inaugurated to create awareness about the rights of children in Nigerian society. UNICEF’s new Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Peter Hawkins, made this known on Monday in a statement to commemorate the Children’s Day, observed annually on May 27. Hawkins said that while there have been many innovations over the last few years, children in Nigeria were still not accessing health, nutrition, education and other amenities as they ought to.
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