So you’ve had a baby.
I’m sure you have many ideas about how you want to raise this squishy little thing and how well you’re going to parent them. Maybe you’ve even been in the trenches long enough to know that your children have totally different ideas on how you are going to parent them, so you change it up a little.
But no matter if you choose to breast feed or bottle feed, co-sleep or cry it out as well as all of the other trivial matters that parenting involves – you are the person that needs to be there for your little bundle of goodness.
As the parent you have a set of rules that you need to stick to. Unlike the ones that I mentioned above, these ones are not negotiable. Not even a little bit.
Here are the non-negotiable rules that you need to commit to when parenting your child. In case you needed a refresher:
Your child needs to travel in a car seat.
Besides this being an actual law now, you should be doing this because you LOVE YOUR CHILDREN. I’ve written about this before, but seriously, before you tell me how hard it is to get children to sit in a car seat – something I quite easily liken to getting an octopus into a gorilla suit – let me just tell you that I have 3 children. Every single day of my life I have to struggle to get them into the car – it’s quite possibly one of the worst parts (yes plural) of my day. But I do it. Whether they kick me or scream in my face or cry all the way to our destination – I do it. Because I love them with every little fibre of my being and I would hate myself for the rest of my life if anything ever happened to them.
You could probably argue with me that you’ve done it so many times and it’s been fine. But what if I tell you that car accidents are the LEADING CAUSE in the injury and death of children under the age of 5? Leading cause guys. That means it happens a lot. If you travel with your kids running free in the back seat (or worse – on your lap), how many times have you braked too hard or had to swerve and they have hurt themselves? Imagine this time it wasn’t just an injury. Would you be able to live with yourself?
It is your job to look after and love your children
Obviously right? This really should go without saying. But the unfortunate truth is that after car accidents the next big thing that threatens the lives of our children is abuse. This abuse is not limited to physical, but emotional and sexual abuse as well. There is nothing, NOTHING that makes me angrier than this. Nothing.
How could you?
What kind of sick person does this to a child.
I implore you to ensure that you look after and love your children. I implore you to thoroughly investigate any care givers that you may be leaving your children with. Please talk to you children, listen to them, look out for the signs of any kinds of abuse. I have written about the signs of sexual abuse in children here if you want to know what to look for. If you come into regular contact with other children where you are witnessing signs of abuse, you need to say something! Report them. Without your help, they will just end up as another death statistic or worse, grow up to continue the cycle.
Protect your children
Did you know that just in the Western Cape – between January 2014 and March 2015, 118 children were reported missing. Of those, 96 were found alive and two were found dead. That leaves 20 Western Cape families with no idea where their kids are. That sends chills through my spine. I can’t even imagine it. I don’t want to. If you want to read more about the 20 families living with the unknown go here.
A common misconception is that you need to wait 24 hours before reporting the child missing but that’s not true. Parents or guardians should contact their local SAPS branch the minute they realise a child is missing.
There are many ways that we, as parents, can ensure that we empower our children. Familiarise yourself with these tips and work them into your daily lives. It could save your childs life.