If you are an avid follower of everything news-worthy, chances are that you have experienced at certain times shock and disbelief, when reading magazine articles and news reports describing the horrific abuse that hundreds of thousands of children suffer on a daily basis, at the hands of their parents. If they are lucky enough to survive at all, that is.
The media is overflowing with reports about children being severely physically abused by their care-givers. Social media certainly must have assaulted your computer screen with indescribably haunting recorded images that tucked at your human emotions in a way that made you feel furious and helpless.
You may have seen how a mother relentlessly beat up her toddler while refusing to offer any comfort or love. You may have seen a step-father yelling at his young step-children, kicking them, refusing to let them eat. You may have read about numerous parents leaving their young children, and in certain cases – their babies, waiting alone in cars, often in sweltering heat, while their parents went shopping or even had lunch. You may have read about how a young mother and father became so infuriated by their agitated baby, who would not stop crying, that they beat the baby with their fists, kicked him and threw him continuously on the floor, after which the baby passed away.
Unfortunately, these are not extreme cases. These incidences have almost become the norm because of social media and the World Wide Web, and, puzzlingly, thanks to those strange individuals who find themselves witnessing the abuse, recording it and posting it online. While reading the news-papers or magazines of your choice, it has become almost impossible not to be confronted by these types of incidences. Child-abuse is an uncomfortable reality to be confronted with.
While you, as an unknown outsider may experience discomfort, imagine how scary, confusing and painful the abuse must be to the innocent young kids who are forced to go through it on a daily basis…
Child-abuse covers a tremendous range of actions, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial abuse, to name a few. And even though most countries work hard to establish and protect children’s rights, few children speak out about the abuse they are suffering. Some children are too young to communicate properly, some children are physically detained and isolated from outsiders, some children are threatened and being lied to and some children simply have no idea that they are being abused.
While there are numerous options available by which these abused children may be helped by means of therapy, courts, foster-families, lifestyle programs and more, fixing the problem after the fact is far from ideal. Every child has the right to a safe and cherished childhood where, even during times of financial hardship or lifestyle changes, he or she will not lack love, food, shelter, education and the like.
It all comes down to the parents. Despite a myriad of informative and supportive initiatives about family planning et al being made available to both teenagers and adults in many countries, one ever-important aspect related to this is grossly neglected. It can be summed up in one sentence: ‘Are you qualified to be a parent?’
Think about it this way: When a country offers initiatives that inform and support both teenagers and adults relating to programs such as family planning, save sex and healthy pregnancy, then why aren’t prospective parents tested? If you want to legally drive a vehicle, you are required by law to take an exam in order to test your traffic law knowledge and your driving skills, before you can obtain your driver’s license. You will only be awarded your driver’s license if you have passed the exam.
Why can’t all teenagers be required to take lessons and learn skills pertaining to the massively important responsibility of parenthood? Maybe parenting classes should form part of the required high school curriculum. Basic skills should be learnt, covering all stages of childhood. The reality of having to support a family and the effects (financial, emotional and practical) of divorce should be covered. Basic life skills, such as dealing with anger, developing self-worth, taking responsibility and prioritizing should also be covered.
Doesn’t it make sense that taking on the responsibility of raising children should be seen as important, if not more, as lawfully being in possession of having a driver’s license before you are allowed behind the wheel of a vehicle?
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