Love is a very strong word when it comes to being parents. Saying that you love your child is not enough. Actions and efforts are required, not words. Love and parental duty includes many things from providing food and shelter, education and health care to emotional support. For me, one of the most important role as a parent is to protect my child.
In the past few weeks we have seen several reports of murdered and abused children, many of whom were by close family members or friends. Sadly this is becoming a daily occurrence in our country.
The question is - why were these children not protected? Who was responsible for them?
The purpose of my article is to search for answers.
In my opinion, South Africans are a very respectful nation and we have been taught to respect our elders no matter what. Our kids have to greet every “oomie” and “tannie” with a kiss whether they know them or not or more importantly like them or not. They are taught to respect an adult, an older person no matter who or what they are.
Our first job is to protect our children and not to spare the feelings of an adult that does not behave responsibly. Let’s face it, every family has their challenges, a black sheep so to speak, but we feel sorry for them, allow them to be part of family gatherings, have them in our midst, trust them because they are our brothers, uncles, grandfathers, grannies.
Why are we so loyal to family members? We allow our children to be in the circle and presence of drug addicts, alcoholics, abusers… the list is endless, just because they’re family.
So for me there are a few lessons here are, firstly don’t trust anyone with our children and go with our gut feel. Follow our instincts. If uncle so and so makes our skin crawl, we must take take note of that!
And last but not least teach our children that respect is earned not given liberally and without reason. Open the lines of communication so that they can trust us enough to talk about anything. ANYTHING!