Protect Our Children

Children must be safe at all times

Parenting in these times cannot be an easy task. The “children of today” are more informed, more direct in how they express themselves and have access to information that guarantees they have an opinion! Teachers and religious leaders will be challenged. The days of an authoritarian approach to discipline are all but over and those of us who fail to communicate and understand our children will fail as parents.  Many of us in the Caribbean grew up with the mantra of our parents and guardians: “Children are to be seen and not heard”. Those days are now over and those who cling to them or hope they return are victims of a dangerous form of nostalgia.
We expect the pressures of the pressure cooker society to propel many parents to the land of parental hopelessness and despair. They should not become figures of ridicule and branded failures but we should employ whatever it takes to prevent them from ending up there or try our utmost to retrieve them. Drugs, divorce, peer pressure and in many cases economic chaos in households are all recipes for the conflicts that come about between parents and their offspring. Some even suggest that the relationship between parents and their children are almost certain to be conflictual, as if by some natural design. We may not totally accept this position but we understand why many consider it a reasonable one.
However, while we accept the “conflictual’ nature of the relationships between  parents and children and we are forced to accept that parenting is now more demanding than ever; we cannot entertain or give comfort to any parent , who takes to publicly beating and humiliating his/her children. Hence, the recent occurrence of an irate and perhaps hurt parent, inflicting this barbarism on her teenage daughter in Barbados, must therefore be condemned by those of us, who are committed to defending our children against unjust and inhumane punishment and treatment.
We stand on good record, when we state that at this very moment, there are people incarcerated for ill treating animals. We witnessed a few years ago where a prominent footballer (Michael Vick) was imprisoned and his career nearly ruined for engaging in the sport of fighting pit bulls. We cannot imagine that societies are more determined to defend animals while we allow parents to brutalize basically defenseless children.
We are equally aware that in some countries the child so beaten would have been removed from that home and that parent, and place with a child protection agency. Quite frankly, if there were other children in that home, under that parent’s care, they too would have been removed. That parent no doubt would have been arrested and charged with the relevant crime. We have no doubt that she would have been imprisoned awaiting bail and or trial. Amazingly we had the alarming story of the woman’s defense of her brutal act, being publicized in the leading daily newspaper (The Nation) as if she could defend such blatant abandonment of her duty as a parent.
We therefore salute talk show moderators Messrs. David Ellis and Peter Wickham for their strong stance against the actions of the mother. We hope she gets the help she deserves and that the authorities put measures in place to protect our children and to treat such acts of barbarism with the swiftness they deserve. While we will never condone children flouting parental authority, we stand firm on our commitment that brutal acts of any kind cannot be practiced or encouraged against them. We further state, without apology, that these acts when executed, by their own flesh and blood make them more abominable. We hope never again to witness such abuse by any adult, parent or not, against any of our children. 
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