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From the moment when children are born, they are dependent on their parents for every need. Parents play a pivotal role in giving every child an essential social unit, a family. Children learn to utter their first words, develop their language, their values i.e. sanskaars and skills from their family. Hence, it would not be entirely incorrect to say that the family is the first school of any child.

According to UNICEF, every child has the right to grow in a family environment that promotes holistic growth and development. However, worldwide over 2.7 children are raised in institutional care. Children who grow up in an institution are at the risk of physical, social and emotional harm with consequences that can last a lifetime. In institutions, there are very few caretakers or providers for a large number of children. Institutions often fail to provide an environment where a child feels emotionally secure and loved. Such children are more likely to become victims of abuse and violence.

Research suggests that children who do not experience direct parental care during their growing years mature at a slower rate and are more likely to have a poor intellectual quotient. Thus, children succeed where they experience positive growth and complete development.

According to experts, it is important to interact with children and spend quality time with them. It is through such qualitative interactions children can adopt essential values from their parents and learn from their experiences. Parents too can learn about various strengths and weaknesses their children possess and enable them with sufficient support and guidance making them confident and resilient.

Organisations like CHILDLINE 1098, India’s only 24-hour, emergency, toll-free helpline for children in distress play a great role in reinforcing the importance of a family in a child’s life. Over the years, they have rescued and protected thousands of missing, runaway children, victims of child abuse, child marriage, child labour, trafficking and beggary and restored them with their families. During the pandemic, CHILDLINE restored 4735 children with their families.

Lastly, Aristotle, the legendary Greek philosopher said, “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual”. An individual cannot break the bonds of mutual dependence in the family or society. This probably develops in the womb with the mother and continues till the last breath.

4 Feb 2021

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