Dubai: Warning children not to talk to strangers isn’t enough anymore. Parents should teach their children about “appropriate and inappropriate” behaviour even around family and friends at an early age, a psychiatrist said on Monday.
The warning came after police found the body of an eight-year-old Jordanian boy, Obaida, in Al Warqa on Sunday. Police said the suspect was a friend of the boy’s father, who lured the child to go with him after promising to buy him a scooter.
Dr Mohammad Tahir, General, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist at Westminster Clinic, said children are vulnerable to attacks because they are not mature enough to tell whether another person’s intentions are pure or not. But this can be addressed if parents can teach them child safety early on.
“More than 50 per cent of perpetrators of crimes against children are family members, friends or neighbours and this is because they have close access to the children,” Dr Tahir told Gulf News.
“Kids assume it’s okay to go with their family friends on their own, but this should not be. Strangers or not, there are no exceptions. Parents should teach their children that they should not leave or go with anyone or accept anything, whether food or gift from someone, even someone they know, without telling them,” he added.
Dr Tahir said parents should encourage their children to be open to them at an early age. Parents should teach children their body parts, including their private parts, as soon as their sense of self or shame starts to develop, even at three years of age.
They should teach children that their bodies are theirs; no one is allowed to touch them inappropriately. But parents, too, should not break these rules and should always be available to their children.
“Parents should not mistrust their child’s calls even if they’re busy. They should answer the phone even if they’re in an important meeting and ask if they’re OK.”
1) If the child shows signs of anxiety, depression, or cannot establish eye contact, or if his or her normal behaviour has suddenly changed.
2) If he or she comes home with torn clothes or with any unusual signs or marks.