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Children – The breath of life of the family – By Hilda D’Silva, Milagres B

By February 4, 2023February 18th, 2023Articles

Family is the strongest and priceless unit of the society, country and the entire universe. An individual comes into this world surrounded by family, lives in the four walls of sweet home, finds identity, establishes himself/herself, finally leaves the world bidding goodbye to loved ones. In the little world called home, children are the breath of life, source of joy, invaluable resource bestowed by the creator. Therefore wealth today is not measured by prosperity, assets or capital gains rather by the number of children in the family, the persons they would become tomorrow. 

Parents are the guardians to children, the mentors, the beacon lights guiding the path of children under their care. Famous poet Khalil Gibran penned the following lines about children.“Your children are not your children, They are sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls.” These words reveal the magnitude of responsibility parents have in framing the character of their children. Home therefore is the first school which frames the personality of their offsprings. The children from loving, secure homes definitely become the assets to society.

Unfortunately, children from broken homes, abused and bruised turn out to be highly disturbed adults carrying a baggage. They can never be happy, nor can they make others enjoy their company. Every child deserves a secure home, sufficient love and care. When children and neglected and abused, the suppressed part can never be forgotten, 

A brief account of dysfunctional childhood

  • Dysfunctional childhood due to neglect – Common type of dysfunctional childhood where children are neglected. They lack food, basic facilities and crave for attention. Such children in teenage and adulthood often are victims of crime and land in jail. The kids, utterly neglected, have to fend for themselves. Can we blame these children or adults?
  • Dysfunctional childhood due to physical abuse – This is the most common type of abuse. Parents vent their frustration and anger on children. These children are branded as very bad, ‘evil’ etc. Children fear regular beating, anger and spanking. They carry this fear and anxiety into adulthood. 
  • Dysfunctional childhood due to sexual abuse – This is the most common abuse of modern times. Technological advancement has landed us in a society of fear and lack of freedom to little children. According to recent studies, most children are sexually abused by someone they know well. Sexual abuse is kept a secret by children. In adulthood, this abuse mainfests itself in many ways such as difficulty in forming relationships, sexual addiction, sexual violence etc.
  • Dysfunctional childhood due to emotional abuse – With toxic parents, children suffer emotional abuse. When parents display emotional outbursts, they make children guilty. Parents fighting in the presence of children make them feel they are responsible for the fight between parents. Children, emotionally abused, tend to copy this behaviour, carrying a baggage and make people around them unhappy in later years.
  • Dysfunctional childhood due to alcohol / substance abuse by parents – Children in the company of a parent who is a slave to addiction develops intense fear, guilt and a sense of shame. Desire to be perfect and also escapism into adulthood, these children often have the tendency to indulge in addiction. These children grow up with trauma and insecurity, which they carry into their adulthood. 
  • Dysfunctional childhood due to domestic violence – When children see a parent repeatedly abused by the other parent, they become powerless and confused. These children in their adulthood are prone to anger, escapism, difficult relationships and poor social skills. People around them suffer.

Having written about all types of abuse of little children, let us remember that children are the most precious wealth God has placed in our hands. According to Fredrick Douglas, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Let us as parents, guardians and teachers, concentrate on creating happy and secure homes for our children and also schools concentrating on value based education. At the end of the day we are all accountable to our creator who places huge responsibility in our hands. Let us concentrate on creating a better society with healthy, happy children.

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