Should you always hold your child’s hand in public places to ensure their safety, whether or not the child likes it?
Well, trolls on social media think otherwise, which is why they are now unhappy with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan holding daughter Aaradhya’s hand in public. The mother was clicked holding her eight-year-old’s hand in public when the Bachchans went on a family dinner. And netizens called her out for being over-protective.
Nobody perhaps really needs to argue nor justify to trolls why a celeb mother chose to hold her child’s hand while being surrounded by the paparazzi. Aaradhya does not seem to be having a problem with that either. Not to mention that children can sometimes feel insecure–a feeling which is not entirely misplaced–and would want to be protected by their parents. “We usually take children to places like malls which remain crowded. They can get lost or fall and get hurt. It is impossible for a parent to leave the little one’s hand in such situations. Children of course want to be free. No child likes their hand to be held all the time. But the fact is they need to be safe. Even children realise that. So, whenever they will feel unsafe, they will want to hold your hand,” Dr Debmita Dutta, parenting consultant and founder, What Parents Ask, told Express Parenting.
What if your child protests?
But does your child tend to protest if you hold their hand constantly? Should you continue holding their hand forcibly in that case? Not quite. Even as parents ensure their child’s safety, they need to keep in mind that their child needs to be allowed some freedom. “If you keep holding your child’s hand constantly, he or she can feel very restricted and can become too cranky or irritable. Children also tend to become too dependent which becomes a problem. They may not be ready to go out and meet people but would always expect parents to accompany them everywhere. They grow up to be either very clingy or very rebellious. That’s the child who needs to be let free,” said the parenting coach.
So, ideally while parents can continue holding their child’s hand in crowded areas, they also need to take them to safer places from time to time where they can roam around freely. “So, parents also need to take their child to some safe places like a park. Of course, you can follow them around to ensure their safety but not restrict them. That way, kids will learn to develop their own protective mechanism. This also provides exposure and fosters the ability to build their own social relationships. The purpose of parenting is to bring up a child who will be independent and can survive on their own,” she advised.
Teach safety rules
Gradually, children also need to be taught to take responsibility of their safety. Parents need to let them free after a certain age. But for that, parents have to train them step by step. “As a parent, I always tell my 12-year-old daughter, ‘No matter what happens, call me and I will be there.’ That’s an assurance we need to give children. Parents need to give some safety guidelines to children. And then, parents need to have enough courage to let go of their child’s hand after a certain age. No one is ever going to be completely safe. We need to gradually make them aware of the dangers and the ways to protect themselves,” Dr Dutta concluded.