Saturday November 16, 2019

Parents Need to Act Quickly to Handle a Child’s Fears, Says Maneka Gandhi

Gandhi's earlier books include "Sanjay Gandhi" (on her late husband), "First Aid for Animals" and "The Complete Book Muslim and Parsi Names", among others

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Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs. Flickr
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked for setting up Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) at the state and district levels for regular monitoring of the Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAA) and CCIs. Flickr

There is no limit to the imagination of children, especially those below five. But not always what they see or feel may leave a positive image in their minds. And it is to guide not only children but also parents on how to battle such inner fears that Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi has once again donned the hat of a writer wth a new book, “There is a Monster Under my Bed”.

“The book gives parents a new way of looking at overcoming a child’s fears so that they can talk to their children. If ignored, it may seemingly appear to go away on the surface but the fear will remain in some form forever. Parents need to act quickly to handle childhood fears,” Gandhi, 62, told IANS.

Maneka Gandhi has written many books on a variety of topics. How did this one come about? Gandhi said her granddaughter Anasuyaa was the inspiration.

“One day she (Anasuyaa) came up to me and said she is afraid that there is a monster under her bed. I had to quickly act positive and responded how lucky she is and I also would like to have one. Its then I realised why the book needs to be written,” Gandhi said.

Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children, Gandhi said, adding the book has been to make parents aware about how to deal with such situations.

“A child is a newly-hatched baby they is discovering the world while growing and I think genetically they primed to be afraid of what they don’t understand…

“If we can immediately explain them like in darkness you can see the moon, stars and hear the owls then they can get rid of fear,” she explained.

The 47-page book, illustrated by Snigdha Rao and published by Penguin (Rs 399), deals with common childhood fears like dark rooms, lightening, clowns, injections and even shadows.

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Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children,  Pixabay 

“Believe it or not most children fear clowns. And of course, the space under one’s bed which is perhaps the most frightening part. Sometimes, children have difficulty in putting their feet down at night and going to the bathroom because they think something will come out from their bed,” Maneka Gandhi pointed out.

The book is a handy guideline for parents on how they can turn a scary thought or moment of a child into something positive. A bonus is the beautiful, bright and colourfull illustrations that the children can enjoy.

Although, Gandhi hasn’t included child sex abuse in the book, this didn’t stop her from talking about it and accepting it is another form of fear that children often encounter, especially within family.

“I haven’t brought that angle in book because what I wrote in this book is fears of mind that is an actual thing that has to be told to parents. And what we have done in this ministry is that we have made a helpline, childline and email. We respond very quickly to such complaints,” she stated.

Also Read- Government of Sri Lanka Urges to Uphold Laws For Disabled

Maneka Gandhi also mentioned that her ministry, for the first time, made it mandatory print details of child sex abuse and about ‘good and bad touch’ at the back of every CBSE book.

Asked about her next book, the minister said she is writing one on flowers.

“My next book would be about different varieties of flowers as today’s youngsters are not much aware of the names of flowers,” Maneka Gandhi said.

Gandhi’s earlier books include “Sanjay Gandhi” (on her late husband), “First Aid for Animals” and “The Complete Book Muslim and Parsi Names”, among others. (IANS)

Next Story

Parents With Only Child More Likely To Tackle Obese Kids

'Only Child' in a house is more likely to be obese

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Only child
Parents with only child are more likely to tackle an obese kid. Pixabay

Parents with only child are more likely to tackle an obese kid as children without siblings may be at a higher risk of gaining weight than those who have brothers and sisters, say researchers.

This is because families with multiple children tend to make more healthy eating decisions than families with a single child, the study added.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, found that this kind of obesity could be seven times more common among youngsters.

“Healthier eating behaviours and patterns may result from household-level changes rather than peer exposure, as peer exposure is also present in away-from-home care,” said study lead author Chelsea L. Kracht from the University of Oklahoma in the US.

According to the researchers, data was self-reported in daily food logs kept by mothers over the course of three days — two weekdays and one weekend day. Teachers kept logs by proxy for any food children ate while at school.

Mothers also completed the Family Nutrition and Physical Activity questionnaire to evaluate typical family eating behaviour like food and beverage choice.

Researchers have found that only-children, who researchers refer to as ‘singletons,’ had less healthy family eating practices, beverage choices, and total Healthy Eating Index 2010 score, coming in lower on three out of the 12 areas measured.

Research on only child
Researchers have found that only-children had less healthy family eating practices. Pixabay

They also had significantly lower total scores across weekdays, weekends, and on average, indicating there are both individual and collective differences in eating patterns between the groups.

Researchers found mothers of singleton children were more likely to be obese themselves. Moreover, maternal BMI had a much stronger connection to child BMI percentile and waist circumference percentile than singleton status.

Maternal BMI did not significantly contribute to overall eating patterns but did contribute to empty calories.

The research also found that time spent in away-from-home care like school and daycare was not connected to children’s eating patterns.

Also Read- Exercise More for Better Fitness After Retirement: Study

“Nutrition professionals must consider the influence of family and siblings to provide appropriate and tailored nutrition education for families of young children,” said Kracht.

“Efforts to help all children and families establish healthy eating habits and practices must be encouraged,” Kracht added. (IANS)