Safety of the Girl Child: Tips for Parents | Sunday Observer

Safety of the Girl Child: Tips for Parents

1 November, 2020

The world can be a dangerous place for children, particularly for young girls. Numerous news articles report of crimes against girl children, from violence and abuse to infanticide and child marriage on a daily basis. Even in our day-to-day lives in urban areas, girls are often targeted, making their safety of utmost concern.

But it isn’t just safety concerns that guardians need to be vigilant about. The health of our daughters is crucial to their overall well-being. Good health and proper healthcare is the strong foundation that doesn’t just guarantee physical wellness, it builds robust personalities, confidence and the ability to pursue dreams - qualities that set up individuals for their whole lives.

As a parent, you wish to do everything in your power to ensure that your daughter is healthy, safe and feels secure. Here are some precautionary measures you can take to help protect her.

Boundaries and Consent

Inform your daughter about safe and unsafe touch from people they know as well as strangers. Make sure they are aware that they have the right to say no to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or strange. Also, reassure them that they can come to you if any situation arises where they feel uncomfortable and you will be on their side no matter who the person they had been interacting with.

Practice consent by requesting adults in your company to not force your child, no matter how little they are, to hug or kiss them if they do not want to. Likewise, tell your child not to feel pressured to go along with physical contact simply because an adult insists on it.

Health and Wellness

Safety of the girl child goes beyond just protecting our daughters against worldly harm. Their health, mind and body, is also a crucial part of a well-rounded upbringing.

This means teaching them about nutrition and promoting positive body image and giving them all the healthcare they need to grow into strong and stable adults. From the time they are infants, regular doctor’s checkups and timely immunization can give girls the strength and vigour they need to tackle the world and its challenges.

Providing them with good healthcare, such as vaccinations, ensures that they are protected from a host of preventable but potentially dangerous serious illnesses such as hepatitis B, measles and chickenpox.

Make A Noise

If your daughter is in a situation where she feels pressured or unsafe, tell her to not be apprehensive about creating a racket to get attention and help from others. For small girls without a strong grasp on vocabulary yet, teaching them to shout “no” loudly when they feel distressed or discomfort is useful.

Stranger Danger

In certain scenarios, young children may forget that talking to strangers is a bad thing even though you have tried to drill it into them. For example, in locations where they are comfortable and familiar, such as at home or at school, a salesman, delivery person or stranger might drop by, and your daughter may not feel the need to keep their distance. Inform your child that even in these situations, it is important to never engage with people she does not know, accept food or drinks or allow them to take her away from where she is, even if they claim to have permission from you.

Cyber Crime

The digital space can be a treacherous area for young girls as there are many predators online who prey on vulnerable youngsters and teens. If your child has access to the internet through a phone, computer or tablet, teach her about the potential dangers.

Limit their social media presence, keeping it age-appropriate, and put a cap on daily screen time. Teach your daughters about cyber-crimes such as identity theft, harassment and grooming, and why she should not interact with strangers on the internet or share any personal information online.

Self Defence

When your daughter is old enough, enrolling her in classes that will teach her how to defend herself from dangers is a good way to build confidence in her ability to handle unsafe situations should they arise. This will also teach her to be aware of her surroundings and notable signs to look out for when out and about.

As parents, you are the most important and trusted people to teach your daughters how to be safe in the world. Encourage them to ask questions and feel comfortable bringing up topics and scenarios they may need clarity on when it comes to safety and their well-being. By keeping the lines of communication open, your child will automatically be encouraged to approach you in their times of need.