Sun.Star Baguio

Child neglect – an issue overlooked teacher’s nook

- Melba Dumawang

WIKIPEDIA defines Child neglect as a form of child abuse, and is a deficit in meet ing a child's basic needs, including the failure to provide adequate supervisio­n, health care, clothing, or housing, as well as other physical, emotional, social, educationa­l, and safety needs. While physical abuse is shocking due to the marks that it leaves, not all signs of child abuse are as obvious. Ignoring children’s needs, putting them in unsupervis­ed, dangerous situations, exposing them to sexual situations, or making them feel worthless or stupid are also forms of child abuse and neglect— and they often leave deep, lasting scars on kids.

To get things into perspectiv­e, remember that in the psychosoci­al developmen­t needs of every individual according to Erik Erikson, trust is the very first which is from birth to 18 months. After that is from 18 months to three years and if children are criticized, overly controlled, or not given the opportunit­y to assert themselves, they begin to feel inadequate in their ability to survive, and may then become overly dependent upon others, lack self-esteem, and feel a sense of shame or doubt in their abilities.

At age three to five, when the primary feature of children is interactin­g with other children to explore their interperso­nal skills but is squelched either through criticism or control, children develop a sense of guilt. Due to this, the child will often overstep the mark in their forcefulne­ss, and the danger is that the parents will tend to punish the child and restrict their initiative­s too much. It is also at this stage that the child will begin to ask many questions as their thirst for knowledge grows. If the parents treat the child’s questions as trivial, a nuisance or embarrassi­ng or other aspects of their behavior as threatenin­g then the child may have feelings of guilt for “being a nuisance.”

The fourth stage spans from age five to 12 of the child and this is at the stage where they will be learning to read and write, to do sums, to do things on their own. Educators begin to take an important role in the child’s life as they teach the child specific skills. It is at this stage that the child’s peer group will gain greater significan­ce and will become a major source of the child’s self-esteem.

The child now feels the need to win approval by demonstrat­ing specific competenci­es that are valued by society and begin to develop a sense of pride in their accomplish­ments. If children are encouraged and reinforced for their initiative, they begin to feel industriou­s or competent and feel confident in their ability to achieve new goals.

If this initiative is not encouraged, if it is restricted by parents or teacher, then the child begins to feel inferior, doubting their own abilities and therefore may not reach his or her potential. If the child cannot develop the specific skill they feel society is demanding then they may develop a sense of inferiorit­y.

Any neglect or absence of the parents or care giver on each of the stages will negatively impact the child’s achievemen­ts and pave a way for unhealthy habits that further magnifies the child’s insecuriti­es and tendencies for negative behaviors.

All educators needs to make sure that these needs are achieved while they are at school. It will mitigate the effects of not achieving previously unmet tasks when the children get an environmen­t which allows them to make mistakes yet are not overly criticized and given leeway to make errors in judgment that can be corrected.

It is also important to note that there should be a balance in criticisms and praises since, as they say, too much of anything is bad for anyone.

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