ABC of Child Protection …An Awareness Program for Primary and Secondary Caregivers: Definition of Terms

We live in a society where we live on assumptions. We hardly seek to understand things, concepts, ideas and even words, before we begin to attempt to benefit from or use them to our advantage. We buy products and subscribe to programs, which manual we never read. We join organisations, which benefits we cannot articulate. For example, we discipline our children without understanding what it means to discipline children. We even assume we know what it means to protect children, without seeking knowledge, skills and develop the right attitude.

In view of the foregoing, permit me to define some of the terms which constitute child protection.

CHILDREN

A child is anyone below the age of 18 years old. By this definition, childhood covers the larger part of teenage age. Permit me to give attempt to describe a child by presenting CHILDREN and TEENAGER as acronyms

C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N

  • C: Care
  • H: Heritage: Abraham Lincoln says: ‘A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started. He is going to sit where you’re sitting, and when you’re gone; attend to those things, which are important. You may adopt all the policies you please, but how they are carried out depends on him. He will assume control of your Cities, States, and Nation. He is going to move in and take over your churches, schools, universities and corporations. The fate of humanity is in his hands.’
  • I: Individuality: The Holy Writ submits that ‘those who compare themselves to themselves are not wise.’
  • L: Leadership: Children are not leaders of tomorrow. They are leaders of today. Leadership simply means ability to take responsibilities for oneself and others.
  • D: Delightful: Pablo Casals says, ‘Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again? And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.’ Pablo Casals
  • R: Respect: children must be treated with respect that their individuality deserves. When we do not treat them with respect, three things will happen: first, they will not respect us; second, they will not respect themselves; and third, they will not demand respect from others.
  • E: Engage: we must engage children for the purpose of enlightenment and empowerment.
  • N: Now:Gabriella Mistrel, Nobel Prize winning poet from Chile submitted in her classical poem, THE CHILD’S NAME IS TODAY as We are guilty of many errors and faults/But our worst crime is abandoning the children/Neglecting the fountain of life/Many of the things we do can wait/The child cannot/Right now is the time his bones are being formed/His blood is being made and his sense are being developed/To him we cannot answer, ‘Tomorrow’/His name is TODAY.’

T-E-E-N-A-G-E-R

  • T: Transition
  • E: Energized by Nature
  • E: Exposed to Being Underrated
  • N: Nearly Fully Formed
  • A: Adventurous
  • G: Geared Towards Pleasure/Pressure
  • E: Eager for Identity
  • R: Reality Deficiency

ILLEGITIMATE CHILD/CHILDREN

There is no such thing as illegitimate child or children. Children are never illegitimate irrespective of the circumstances of their birth or where the child is born out of wedlock. Please note that a child does not also become illegitimate because there is a dispute on his maternity or paternity. Even where a child is a product of incest, rape and other abnormal circumstance, he/she is not illegitimate and should never be treated like that in words and in action

CHILD ABUSE

I will like to define abuse by its impact. I believe that abuse (physical, emotional, sexual and neglect) of any Abuse of any kind successfully at all times and every circumstance DEHUMANIZES the child. What does it mean to dehumanize? ‘Make Somebody Less Human: to make somebody less human by taking away his or her individuality, the creative and interesting aspects of his or her personality, or his or her compassion and sensitivity towards others.’ (Microsoft® Encarta® 2009)

Please permit me to rightly infer from the foregoing definition the following salient points:

  • Abuse CHANGES EVERYTHING ABOUT the Child and FOR the Child…
  • Abuse destroys the DIGNITY OF HUMAN PERSON of the child and VIOLENTLY STEALS his/her CHILDHOOD
  • The DIGNITY OF THE CHILD IS THE ENGINE ROOM OF THE CHILD’S HUMANITY…
  • When the child is ROBBED of his/her HUMANITY, the HUMAN RACE is ROBBED of it PEACE and STABILITY

TYPES OF ABUSE/DEHUMANIZATION

  • Physical Abuse:any physical injury done intentionally to a child.  Physical abuse endangers or impairs the child’s physical or emotional health and development. Physical abuse includes shaking a very young baby, (e.g., Battered child).
  • Sexual Abuse:is when a child (sometimes even toddlers and babies) is used sexually by someone older. This includes everything from obscene exposure to touching the genitals in a sexual way and rape, (e.g., Raped child).
  • Emotional Abuse: includes constant yelling and threatening behaviour, scaring the child or playing games with their emotions, (e.g., abandoned child/Child affected by war and armed conflict/Trafficked child).
  • Neglect Abuse: is when a child doesn’t have enough food, love, care and attention.  He/she may have not enough to eat, injuries may be left untreated, clothes may not be warm enough, the child may be dirty and at risk of infection, or they may be left alone, (e.g., Child deprived of basic needs/Neglected child/Street child/Abandoned child).

Harm to Children: ill-treatment or the impairment of health or development…For example impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another, for example children witnessing domestic violence.

Three Conduits of Abuses: There are 3 Conduits of Abuses, which also constitute the 3 Greatest Crimes against the Humanity of the Child:

  • Silence
  • Tyranny
  • Labelling

I beg to sign out here. By God’s grace, I will be back here tomorrow to continue this discussion. Do have an INSPIRED day. I charge you today to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY…Think the FUTURE…

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