Saturday, April 28, 2012

What I learn from 'girls running away from home..'

Reading the newspaper early this morning, I was alarmed with the news, '126 kids missing so far this year'.

And it is only April!! 

I feel saddened as I read on. It was reported that the bulk of the amount missing were girls... girls just like Alwani. It really distraught me, that girls, as young as 13, could really leave their own home, the security of family, for whatever lame the reason might be. 

On the other hand, the reason might be the insecurity of their family...
Maybe the kids are not respected as they should (physical, verbal abuse, neglected); 
Maybe the parents are too busy in fulfilling their kids' material needs (and working most of the time); 
Maybe they face a stressful situation at school (being bullied, scolded, punished etc); 
Maybe they have a fear of getting consequences for something they did; 
Maybe they did not perform as well as you wished (academically, socially);
Maybe they despise going to school because they're harassed by teachers or seniors (or even at the bus stops); 
Maybe the kids respond better with people who are not family members (by sharing their troubles). 
And surely, there is a need for an in-depth study on this phenomenon.

Yusuf & Thomas. What's your planned adventure?

Running away is like any action. In order to do it you need three things: the ability, the willingness and the opportunity. And let’s face it, kids have the opportunity and ability to run every day—so all it really takes is the willingness to do it. The source of willingness are some of the 'maybes' stated above.

What I learn after reading this article is that we need to learn to recognise the signs of stress that our children shows... sad faces, slumped shoulder, red eyes from crying, bruises, irregular mood swings.. and try to do the following.. (which are rather very general but I believe it can make it easier for the kids to grow up happier...)

  • Instill confidence in them.
  • Dont make them feel small.
  • Don't confuse our children by making promises that we can't keep. This will make them distrust us. 
  • Don't correct them in front of others. Talk to them in private. (If bad things happen over at a friend's place, excuse yourself, pull him/her aside (or outside). Talk to them there and then so that our children know that they don't have 'the chance' to misbehave away from home.... and try to do it away from others, please).
  • Don't preach and nag. It is easy for us moms, but the message can't get through.. trust me.. been there done that! haha
  • Don't be put off when our children ask honest questions. They have the right to have honest answers from you!
  • Use guidance, not force. Rationalise why they have to do certain things (i.e brush their teeth regularly or not too much TV). Reinforce your guidance.
  • Apologise when you are wrong (and they'll learn to do the same!)
  • Respect their teachers (yes, us too, as parents!) Once they know that even us, adults can respect their teachers (by thanking them with small thank you notes etc.), why can't they? (and when teachers know that we are proactive parents, they'll surely try to perform their best!)
  • Be consistent and persistent when disciplining our kids. They need routine. 
  • Hold them accountable for their actions... all of their actions, good or bad. Praise/Guide or both.
  • When doing so, be respectful. Respects are gained, not claimed.


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