Examining the struggles faced by underprivileged children and the collective responsibility to secure their well-being
This year, Children’s Day demands introspection in various arenas. Since Children’s Day is associated with Pt. Jawahar Lal in India, as children in various situations remain at the receiving end, the mental, social, emotional, and economic perversions sometimes make them a vulnerable lot in society. Various government-sponsored organizations and departments are trying to spot the grey areas in child development, and some NGOs are in service to mitigate various problems and challenges across India, if not globally. The Ministry of Women and Child Welfare Department has set achievable goals for mainstreaming all children, with the main focus on underprivileged and marginalized sections.
While food, shelter, and clothing are basic requirements, there are more objectives for their overall development, ranging from free education to healthcare and protection. In the present social setup, child protection is of paramount importance. A particular section of children needs protection from abuse due to their social and economic exigencies. Due to poverty, they get involved in hazardous jobs and work, even if they are exploited through unsuitable jobs that are not in sync with their age, thereby marring their tender prestige and dignity.
At the international level, UNICEF has called for concerted efforts to raise voices for a better sustainable future. The United Nations Convention on Child Rights has promised to protect them, with member countries being emphasized to ensure the protection of rights and safeguard their dignity.
The post-COVID period has given rise to many social and emotional problems among children because COVID has changed the lifestyle and living setup. Parents are trying to cope with the situation, but not all are proficient and efficient in dealing with the anxieties of their children. The gulf between parents and children has negatively affected the development of children. Family conflicts and parental disharmony have broken the psychological equilibrium of the child. They suffer silently due to depression, and behavioural tantrums spoil their entity and integrity. Some are ignored, and others get neglected in society. In the case of neglected children, parents or guardians fail to address and fulfill their needs. The supervision is loose or even negligible on the parents’ side, threatening the well-being, safety, and health of children. In some situations, they suffer from perception disorders.
Child neglect is a form of abuse that deprives the child of genuine social, emotional, and physical care. Therefore, it is incumbent upon caregivers like teachers, parents, and other guardians to ensure wholesome care and affection that will nurture good mental and social balance in children. Poverty, social conflict in society, and lack of resources are mostly contributing factors to the behavioural problems of children, preventing parents from fulfilling the needs of children.
In the present scenario, children and parents should develop a good bond and equation that will cultivate good habits among the children, helping them realize their role in family and society. Parents cannot shirk responsibilities due to work compulsions; they must devote time to care for and supervise their children. The healthy involvement of children in various social obligations is a must; they should be provided with a good environment within the family and outside wherever needed. Unnecessary pressure from parents to children is detrimental, and we should avoid thrusting our likes and dislikes onto them. Instead, the interests of children should be given rationalized acceptance in a socially acceptable manner.
Guidance and counselling are necessary for children during this formative period of life. Our institutions should provide them with socio and psychological succour. Internal pressure and provisions should receive a proper cathartic touch from all stakeholders. Schools should link children with past traditions and cultures, motivating them to face the present and inspiring them to be prepared for a better future through value-based education and social training in society.
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