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Monday, January 27, 2020

A child wanted Santa to ‘stop CAB’: How to talk to kids about protests

Not just at home, kids also hear comments from their peers, who themselves might be actually echoing what they might have overheard from adults in passing. This can put them at the risk of developing biased points of view and that is unhealthy.

Written by Disha Roy Choudhury | Updated: December 26, 2019 2:06:20 pm
CAA, CAB Should you talk to kids about the ongoing protests?

Amid the current agitation surrounding the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), what might go unnoticed is the impact it is leaving on children. So much that one child wrote a letter to Santa Claus asking him to “stop this CAB” among his other wishes. His mother Prachi K Monga recently posted a picture of his Christmas wish list on an online mom community.

The mother wrote, “He folded this card and put in the socks placed around Christmas tree and decorations. But since mamas are real Santas I had to read it so I could fulfill his at least one wish. After reading wishes though I feel only SANTA can fulfill these. Last one stole my heart.” Take a look at the child’s card:

CAA, CAB Source: ‎Prachi K Monga‎/Facebook

Prachi told Express Parenting how the current situation in the country has affected her child deeply. She revealed, “He was disturbed that there is so much chaos in the country and disturbance. Hope his wishes get fulfilled even after so many people read it. He will be so disappointed otherwise.” To put her child’s speculations to rest, the mom explained what the recent protests in the country were all about.

The debate around CAA has naturally got people all over the country talking about the issue. But as you watch the news on television or take part in dinner table conversations, it is likely that your children are being exposed to varied opinions on the matter but are unable to make sense of it. Or they might be perplexed as to why you had to suddenly cancel their much-awaited day out or why their school announced an unexpected holiday. And that’s what happened with Sidharth Ghosh’s son, who was eagerly waiting to attend a popular comic convention a few days ago. “He was disappointed was when we could not go out to attend an event due to the unrest,” said the father.

Sidharth’s son did not ask too many questions about the ongoing protests, and is busy enjoying his holidays and planning for Christmas and New Year celebrations, he remarked. He believes parents should avoid passing comments on sensitive issues such as this in front of children.

However, when another parent Gagan Deep Kalsi’s son asked her, she decided to address the issue. “My son’s annual day production at school has been cancelled, something they had really been preparing for a long time. When my child asks me, I have no other option but to tell him the truth. You can’t just beat around the bush and tell them they cannot go out because the weather is bad. Not just protests this time in particular, any such turmoil can have a negative impact on children,” the mother expressed.

Not just at home, kids also hear comments from their peers, who themselves might be actually echoing what they might have overheard from adults in passing. This can put them at the risk of developing biased points of view and that is unhealthy. So, what would be an age-appropriate way to tackle kids in these cases? Ritika Kumar, who runs a children’s newspaper The Young Chronicle, commented, “Kids do hear a lot of things from peers. But a child always looks up to the parent or their teachers. So what they hear from friends does not impact as strongly as an opinion from an adult would. Currently, just telling them that all religions are equal and we are a democratic country with a Constitution, and we will come out of the crisis soon is good enough for a child.”

Ritika warned, “In this environment, our views are literally colouring the views of kids. And I think it is very difficult to give an objective viewpoint at this time. Most children are not aware of our country’s history and its foreign relations with other countries. I would suggest that parents do not indulge in any discussion surrounding this with their child, in these heated times. Anybody who speaks to their child about the issue without having absolute clarity is doing injustice. This can also influence the child’s social interactions with their friends. Maybe, when things settle down, and everybody has been heard, and a perspective is in place, you can speak to your kids.”

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