TODAY marks the start of Child Month, which is a time reflective of innocence, growth and learning. However, Child Month 2012 is overshadowed by the gory and gruesome article published in the Jamaica Observer on Sunday, April, 2012 that revealed to the nation the scope of child abuse.
This revelation became all the more frightening when it was learnt that most of the perpetrators are family or close family friends.
TEENage would like to invite everyone to shatter the silence and celebrate our youth by keeping them safe and informed about the different initiatives that are designed to keep their best interests at heart. Also we would like to give you some ideas of how to celebrate your child and children in general.
Today's significance is also attributed to the staging of a children's march/rally, which is geared towards raising awareness about child abuse and the need for child protection and shattering the silence.
This campaign is called Help JA Children and is spearheaded by chief advocate and past TEENage Observer Writers' Club president, Brandon Allwood.
Help JA Children is representative of taking a stand and getting others, who share similar sentiments and want to see a change to follow suit.
The march is slated to begin at the Bustamante Hospital for Children and follow route to Emancipation Park where there will be a rally, featuring speakers from various stakeholders involved in the care and protection of children. Give your support today by showing up and being a part of the movement to earn our children a bright and safe future.
This is the attitude that we need to take in order to find proper solutions to our nation's problems and more specifically the problems our children face today.
The residual question then becomes, what can we do to make our children's world safer and let them feel special in a world where others seem to lessen their importance?
The first step is to pay attention. Being in tune to your child means being up to date on everything concerning them from school to who they are socialising with.
This may be perceived as an invasion of privacy but prevention is better than cure and this is one of the significant instances in which ignorance is not bliss. This also applies to the persons who you deem worthy to be around your child because the shocking fact is that they are the persons most likely and most often involved in the abuse of a child.
The second step is to be firm and fair.
Disciplining a child is something that is subject to the style employed by the parent or guardian. However, there is a basic outline that it should not be abusive and lead to the child suffering from trauma and physical scars.
The third and most important step is to listen to your child. This is where the true celebration starts. A child needs to feel that they are able to effectively communicate without being judged or quickly silenced for being perceived as not knowing what they are talking about.
One has to create the environment of love and protection at home so it is not sought after or used against the child by someone who has bad intentions.
Celebrate a child and protect their innocence by daring to care.