By Sade Adewale, Ondo
Violence against children is increasing alarmingly in the society, going by recent reports of incidences. This evil trend continues to expose children who are victims to danger or untimely death.
According to experts, the biggest problem with threats of violence is that they shatter self-esteem and inspire fear or rebellion in the children. Threats are messages of distrust. Children who are exposed to violence regularly often experience many of the same symptoms and lasting effects as children who are victims of violence themselves, including post-traumatic stress disorder. (PTSD).
“These kids can feel emotional and physical “aftershocks” for months, or years or may pass away in the process. Some children can relive the event again and again in their minds, and be less able to function normally in their day-to-day lives. While some may become more aggressive, violent, and self-destructive, others withdraw more into themselves.
“Threats on the other way make children feel incapable or inadequate. This can negatively impact self-esteem and confidence.”
The16-year-old Ayomide Ajimefun’s case was more pathetic as his death was caused by his mother’s act. Following loss of money which he could not explain, he was threatened by his mother that he would be taken to Amotekun’s office for interrogation and caution.
To his mother, it was just to correct the boy over suspected stealing as the money continually got missing, little did she know that this would cause the boy’s death as he slipped into a faint and died.
Mary Ajimefun, mother of the deceased, during an interview with The Hope attributed the son’s death to shock because he was threatened.
She said “The reason why I threatened him was that whenever he went out to hawk goods, his money would not be complete. I suspected that he was using the money for gambling, and most times it was his father that will pay back the missing money. I wanted to use Amotekun to scare him.”
Speaking with The Hope, Human rights activist, Mrs Bosede Ayedun, said psychological reasons for threatening a child that committed a crime is that they may have low self-esteem.
“Some children steal because of the bad gang or friends they are keeping. They may try to become good at stealing to feel proud of something they have done if they don’t receive positive feedback from their parents,” He added.
She said the causes that make a child steal or do bad things are emotional problems such as peer pressure, low self-esteem, bullying, or neglect that could prompt a child to act out and steal. “Research has shown that children who lie and steal may have underlying conditions such as conduct disorder, or an emerging personality disorder,” He further revealed.
According to her, what parents or caregivers need to do at this point is to get close to the child and advise him/her on the consequence of their misconduct and not to threaten them.
“To a child that steals, tell him or her that it is wrong and make him or her to return the stolen object. You make sure that the child does not benefit from the theft in any way. Avoid lecturing, predicting the future of bad behaviour or considering the child to be a thief or a bad person,” He concluded.
Also speaking, Mr Andrew Ibikunle, a parent, said threats create an unfriendly and emotionally insecure culture for children, which can compromise a child’s drive to follow their parent’s guidance.
He said punishments and threats of imposed consequences are not only unnecessary, they’re counterproductive; they incite rebellion or resentment, and are often the main cause of conflict in parent-child relationships, rather than the solution.
According to him, when a child is being threatened, they feel frustrated and defeated. They feel alone. “When we threaten our children, we’re usually angry, and we aren’t truly considering our children’s perspective. We aren’t acknowledging their feelings and desires, which can help promote empathy,” He explained.
Ibikunle advised that parents or caregivers cannot only help the child to overcome the problem, but they can also put a stop to the ugly situation in a proper way.
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