Week after week we read disturbing news of small children and toddlers mysteriously slipping from apartment balconies and tragically falling to their untimely demise. I genuinely feel for the grieving parents, because I cannot even imagine the plethora of emotions that go through a parent’s mind when they have the misfortune of burying their offspring. Now coming back to grim reality, the truth is that many of these so called mishaps could have been avoided if a little more timely foresight had been meted out. Before putting the finger on constructional flaws of highrise buildings and lack of safety measures on balconies, we need to point the fingers at ourselves as parents.
It is easy to blame the authorities, but why was this small, defenceless and helpless child left all by himself or herself in the first place? How many more innocent lives have to be lost before we take measures against parental negligence? We are too easy to dismiss parental neglect as the less severe component on the broad spectrum of child abuse, but having said that, what rational explanation can be given when a precious young life is lost? Is it that the parent was too busy to take the sleeping child with her to the school bus stop or that the parent was unwilling to take the child to the neighbourhood shop to pick a gallon of milk? Nontheless, modern-day parents have an altered perception of time, and what seems like a two-minute dash to the local store can be delayed by reasons beyond control. The intent might be innocent but the consequences in many cases are far and drastic. As a mother, I know that there is no quick or detailed handbook to good parenting and we all have our flaws. But in everyday situations we as parents must use our given gifts of good logic, rationale and commonsense, rather than taking a shortcut or what conveniently suits us over the wellbeing of our children.
There is no doubt that parental neglect is on the rise and whether it can be blamed on the pressures of a modern-day life or on the trappings of a stressful job, one cannot say. Good parenting means hard work and lots of sacrifices, which can be difficult when living in a foreign land without the support of one’s extended family. However, we need to remember to exercise caution and good judgment when raising our children because family is the first foundation in teaching children the right values, moulding good behaviour and ultimately creating an ideal social being.
- The reader is an Indian business development manager based in Ajman