Have you ever wondered what the intent behind the question, “Is it a boy or a girl?” is? What difference really is that question fashioned to achieve? The joy of a new born shouldn’t be diminished by the gender of the child. But we find, more often the neglect and rejection of a girl-child normally starts from birth when the news of safe delivery is broken to the family and especially to the father. As soon as the gender status of a child is announced by the medical attendant after the delivery as a girl, some parents receive such supposedly good news with disappointment and dismay. While it is taught over and again that the sex of a girl is determined by the dominance of the male chromosomes, most men still castigate their wives for bearing a girl child.
Now if this is the foundation of the girl child’s existence and if unfortunately, this rejection is emphasized to her time and again, there is already a major fundamental issue which will only take constant counselling and encouragement and love to change. Rejection or neglect isn’t even what we as adults can bear in most cases. Now try to imagine the hurt and deep rooted issues being planted in a child just because she is born a girl.
If you listen to Radio Lagos, you’ll have noticed at the end of each News reading that parents are advised to be careful who they leave their children with as kidnappers and child abusers are rampant in the society. These issues have been from as long as I can remember but with social media, it’s either become more prominent or it’s given perpetrators leads to better execute their evil works, believe it or not. Child neglect can have serious and long-lasting effects. It can be anything from leaving a child home alone to the very worst cases where a child dies from malnutrition or being denied the care they need.
Whether rejection or neglect, the effects are deep and constitute long term issues. There are signs you can tell a child is suffering or a person has suffered from child rejection and neglect. Unusual behaviors to watch out for include anxiety, insecure, depression, aggression, wets the bed, changes in eating pattern, obsessive behavior, thoughts about suicide, etc.
These sound like problems we would ordinarily scold a child for but I believe there’s no action without a cause. Let’s not focus on the child as the offender. Let’s look inward, as adults, in our behaviors around children, our behaviors towards them and be careful to identify what the problem is before being too harsh on the child. I can’t overemphasize the sensitivity around these effects on the gild child. Like I said in my first article of this series, the girl child is worse at the receiving end of child development issues. Emotions, character, psychology, anatomy and everything are tailored differently from the boy and the effects of any damage is long term. The first years of a child’s life have a big impact on how their brain develops. That is why neglect can be so damaging. A child’s experiences can change their thought processes forever. If a baby is malnourished, for instance, neural cells can become weak or damaged and this can cause lowered brain function. If a child has a poor relationship, attachment or little interaction with a parent as a result of rejection or neglect, then it can change how their brain develops emotional and verbal communication.
The family is the smallest, most powerful unit of the society. A woman holds the family together. Let’s teach and raise our daughters with love so that there can be enough love to fix the world.