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While we need to be wary of child molesters, there are people who touch a child unnecessarily, often against their wish, whom we need to be wary of too!
“Hello, Mr. Green Cap! Don’t dare to touch her next time!”
The premises of the indoor pool where I take my daughter for swimming lessons echoed with my voice. About fifty people turned their heads around to locate who was yelling like that. I am sure some must have already labeled me as a ‘crazy, arrogant, over possessive mother’. But I don’t care. Let me tell you why.
My four year old was merrily going around the pool with the coach. Her enthusiasm towards swimming shows from her laughter and intermediate calls of “Look Mumma!” I find that really cute. So do some other people in the pool. But does that give them any kind of authority to go and pull her cheeks repeatedly, inspite of the little girl’s resistance to the uncalled gesture?
I would really like to know the thoughts of that gentleman with green swimming cap if a total stranger woman in late sixties, appeared in the pool out of nowhere to pull his nose just because she found it too cute! I had no intention of embarrassing the guy with that scene. But the outburst was a result of piling up my displeasure at a number of instances when this has happened before. Many people catch the reason of my annoyed stares or impolite moves, but some simply don’t.
This intolerance towards total strangers taking liberty with my daughters is not limited to random ‘wooglie wooglie wush’. I have been equally rude to inconsiderate, unknown people who have the guts to pull out their cell phones to try and click a picture of my girls after a ‘Oh your daughters are so pretty!’ kind of statement. They take my smile for acknowledging their compliment as a consent to go ahead with their cameras. And I am left with the only option of using a not so friendly ‘Please don’t take their pictures’ kind of statement to correct their notion.
Many of us have done this some time. Showing our admiration for babies and toddlers through actions that make either them or their parents uncomfortable. But while doing that we forget that children are neither objects nor any lesser humans. They deserve to be treated with the same courtesy as adults. Just because they are not capable yet to express their dislikes does not make them receivers of unwelcome gestures.
Yes, I am a little paranoid. I believe we all should be. We live in bad times. I have no doubt that fellow parents today fear an encounter with a ‘big bad wolf’ with their children the moment their tiny feet step outside their homes. I do not intend to say that there is one hidden inside every passer by who turns around once to take another look at a beautiful baby. But we need to build an approach gradually, for our sake and for our children’s. An approach that makes children realize that nobody has the right to make them feel uncomfortable, be it in any way. I strongly vouch for it. Do you?
Published here earlier.
Image source: pixabay