A couple of recent incidents of violence featuring young children have left parents, educators and caregivers extremely rattled. While we spoke about the video showing a mother slapping her three- year-old child for failing to learn counting (https://www.klayschools.com/the-controversial-video/), another video has surfaced of a school boy slapping a friend with a viciousness that is unnatural for his age. And even as we write this, the shocking news of the murder of seven-year-old boy in a Gurugram school, has parents and caregivers in a huddle. What are we doing so wrong that our children are exhibiting such violent and aggressive behaviour at such a tender age?
Let’s face it. We have all grown up with rough kids amongst us. There were always those boys and sometimes girls at the playground or in school, who would be more aggressive and assertive than the others. And while most of us did not think twice about it, circumstances have altered significantly between then and now. It is one thing for a child to take the lead, or even perhaps exhibit an alpha personality trait. But it is something else if aggression and physical violence goes unchecked. Just because your child is a child, does not mean you let matters escalate. It is important that your child is made to understand – in a manner that works best for him her – that causing harm, grief, distress in any form to any person is not acceptable and that there are consequences for such behaviour.
This is also a time for self-censorship. Children pick up violence from their environment, their adults. If not from what they watch on TV and games, from our words and actions. Even when you are watching the news coverage of a murder, and your child is probably in the next room, be ready to face the sudden, shocking questions. You cannot keep your child wrapped in cotton wool forever they say. We say, you should, for as long as you can.
Finally, this is also a time to pause and reflect on the time your child spends away from your supervision. Your trusted nanny, who may be good with the massages, or prepping nutritious meals, may not be the perfect adult company for your child who could pick up certain elements of social behaviour, words, gestures, from her that you may not totally approve of. While she may be all heart and sincerity personified, how do you control her social interactions when the child is at the playground, away from you? Or even at home?
It is important therefore to consider whether children, of working parents, are better off in a professionally managed child care centre. Importantly, under the supervision, care and mentoring of trained care givers and educators, your child is likely to channel his/her abundant energy and talent in a more positive, constructive way. It is the difference that a child care provider, whose focus is creating a high quality environment, will make to your child’s life.
At KLAY, for instance, there are certain checks and balances in place. We ensure that all our staff have gone through a thorough background check and are police verified. We do not allow unverified people into the centres, no matter who they claim to be.
Further, there are certain filters applied when it comes to communication with children, and helping them work on their social skills. There is an insulation from potentially violent, aggressive, abusive behaviour and elements, which you can trust. Every little one enrolled at KLAY is in safe hands.
We cannot change the world. But we can certainly keep our children safe from the world, for a while.
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.