Tuesday April 23, 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

New York City’s Mandatory Measles Vaccination Order Stands Still

The health department's lawyers argued that quarantining was ineffective because people carrying the virus can be contagious before symptoms appear.

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Materials are seen left at demonstration by people opposed to childhood vaccination after officials in Rockland County, a New York City suburb, banned children not vaccinated against measles from public spaces. VOA

Brooklyn judge on Thursday ruled against a group of parents who challenged New York City’s recently imposed mandatory measles vaccination order, rejecting their arguments that the city’s public health authority exceeded its authority.

In a six-page decision rendered hours after a hearing on the matter, Judge Lawrence Knipel denied the parents’ petition seeking to lift the vaccination order, imposed last week to stem the worst measles outbreak to hit the city since 1991.

The judge sided with municipal health officials who defended the order as a rare but necessary step to contain a surge in the highly contagious disease that has infected at least 329 people so far, most of them children from Orthodox Jewish communities in the borough of Brooklyn.

Another 222 cases have been diagnosed elsewhere in New York state, mostly in a predominantly ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Rockland County, northwest of Manhattan.

The New York outbreaks are part of a larger resurgence of measles across the country, with at least 555 cases confirmed in 20 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health experts say the virus, which can cause severe complications and even death, has spread mostly among school-age children whose parents declined to get them vaccinated. Most profess philosophical or religious reasons, or cite concerns — debunked by medical science — that the three-way measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine may cause autism.

The judge rejected the parents’ contention that the vaccination order was excessive or coercive, noting it does not call for forcibly administering the vaccine to those who refuse it.

He also dismissed assertions in the petition disputing the “clear and present danger” of the outbreak. “Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion,” the judge said.

FILE PHOTO: A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg in New York City, April 11, 2019.
A sign warning people of measles in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community of Williamsburg in New York City, April 11, 2019. VOA

Secret identities

The vaccination order, which was extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to obtain the MMR vaccine unless they can otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a fine.

The court challenge was brought in Brooklyn’s Supreme Court by five people identified only as parents living in the affected neighborhoods. Their identities were kept confidential to protect their children’s’ privacy, their lawyers said.

In court on Thursday, they told Knipel the city had overstepped its authority and that quarantining the infected would be a preferable approach.

Robert Krakow, an attorney for the parents, estimated that just 0.0006 percent of the population of Brooklyn and Queens had measles. “That’s not an epidemic,” he said. “It’s not Ebola. It’s not smallpox.”

The health department’s lawyers argued that quarantining was ineffective because people carrying the virus can be contagious before symptoms appear.

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The vaccination order, which was extended this week, requires residents of certain affected Brooklyn neighborhoods to obtain the MMR vaccine unless they can otherwise demonstrate immunity to measles, or face a fine. Pixabay

The judge cited 39 cases diagnosed in Michigan that have been traced to an individual traveling from the Williamsburg community at the epicenter of Brooklyn’s outbreak.

Also Read: Short-Circuit Likely The Cause of Notre Dame Fire, Claims Police Investigators

The surge in measles there originated with an unvaccinated child who became infected on a visit to Israel, where the highly contagious virus is also running rampant.

The number of measles cases worldwide nearly quadrupled in the first quarter of 2019 to 112,163 compared with the same period last year, the World Health Organization said this week. (VOA)