As parents, we always remember the birth of our children, that joyous moment, how the arrival of a child changes our lives. It is a time for savouring the miracle of life. But it is also a moment that seals a lifelong covenant between parents and child — that you will be their guardian, doing every possible to keep them safe.
Sadly, given some of the events that have occurred in the UAE over the past several days, there seems to be an element of parental negligence creeping into everyday activities — a lapse in guardianship that has had tragic consequences for children.
In Sharjah, a 13-month-old baby girl was left unattended in a high-rise apartment for a few minutes and was able to make her way to an open window before falling to her death. Those moments of inattention were enough for this tragedy to occur.
Elsewhere, four separate suicides of teens have been recorded across the country, reflecting the social challenges that our teens now face. How the grieving parents of these teens must be wracked with guilt, asking where did they go wrong, why did they not see the warning signs, why did they not do more to help. Those are questions that will haunt them for the rest of their life.
Parents need to put their phones down, focus on children, make sure they are placed in safe playpens if they can crawl, are confined in a safe space if they walk, get to school in a safe way and know who they’re talking to on social media
Certainly, at schools, educators are working diligently with experts and social workers to develop programmes that increase self-esteem and alert all to the warning signs of suicide. But, for parents, there is a need for help and advice from those experts, too.
For parents and guardians, these tragic incidents serve as a painful reminder that there can never be a let-up in providing care for our kids.
For parents with very young children, every home needs to be child-proofed. Yes, building management is supposed to ensure that windows are childproof — but is it wise to place the blind trust of your child’s life in this clause? Be practical. Check everything and secure everything. Failing to do so is negligent.
Parents need to put their phones down, focus on children, make sure they are placed in safe playpens if they can crawl, are confined in a safe space if they walk, get to school in a safe way and know who they’re talking to on social media.
Above all, parents must remember that there are no second chances — and a whole lot of love helps a whole lot, too.