Children being what they are, we cannot stop them from exploring, moving about and around because it is this exploration of surroundings that contributes to their learning and leading a successful adult life – we are all but animals in the jungle. However, what worries me no end as a parent are the wolves that are hounding our children and us – these are the predators from whom we have to save our children and make them survive.
The recent Nithari case is not that happens only once or for that matter happens only in some Delhi suburb, the abduction of Adobe CEO’s son, is not something that happens to “other people”. All of us, even in the smallest of towns, as parents and teachers, need to keep our eyes open, our ears within reach so that we can see and hear that cry of help from our children.
More and more children today are being looked after by hired help, thanks to our busy lifestyle, more often that not, we are just happy that we got a help and don’t bother to check the background of the help. It is not that every household help is to be looked with suspicion, but we have to learn to find the ones that lurk behind the mask of a “simple servant” –a maid, a boy help that comes to your house for household chores, a milk man, an autowallah – all these people spend some time with our children. Children get friendly with them and trust them because as parents, you have entrusted them with your children, This makes their task very easy if they want to take advantage of the situation and molest, abduct or even kill your child. There are enough people around us with twisted mentalities and sadly the number seems to be growing.
Nagpur has been a quiet city for a long time, it is now turning around with more malls, more companies and more people coming in the city for various purposes. It has ceased to be a city where everyone knew everyone else.
It will pay for us to be paranoid, to educate our children and teach them self defence methods, to teach them the difference between a good touch and a bad touch –and not just to young girls, but to young boys as well. To make them understand whom to trust and who not to trust, to make them aware and educate them that things can go wrong, tell them to keep in touch with the family for their own safety. Little tips that can save them from getting into danger and most of all trust them to trust you and tell you things that happen to them outside the secure boundaries of your home.
It is never to early to tell your child all this. Remember, if he is old enough to be left with an autowallah to go to school, he is old enough to be taught how to save himself. It pays to be paranoid, it pays to be safe.
— Swati Sani
24th January 2007