About a week ago, there was a story in the media about an 8-year-old boy in Abuja, Nigeria who allegedly committed suicide because he was losing a game he was playing with his siblings. According to one of the versions I read, the boy was said to have been playing a game with his siblings and got angry because he was loosing. He then went into the room, got a skipping rope and hung himself. The story went on to state that his younger siblings watched him hang himself but because they had seen it done on television a number of times, they just watched their brother until he died. They must have presumed that it was just another TV program. Both parents were said to have been out when the incidence occurred. How tragic!!!! I sympathize with the family. I can’t begin to imagine the shock and sense of loss they must feel. May God comfort them.
This story threw up many issues for me – good sportsmanship; the impact of television and the media on our children… But I think what struck me the most was “do our children know how to recognize danger or an emergency and what to do in such a situation?” Let’s assume that the facts as reported are true, who would have thought that when anyone (young or old) sees another person with a rope around his/her neck it should not elicit an immediate reaction for help. Then again we live in such a distracted society that it’s possible that the other children were so “hypnotized” by the game they were playing, that they were totally oblivious to what was going on around them.
For whatever it’s worth, let’s stretch our imagination a bit. Assuming the younger siblings actually noticed that their brother was in danger, would they have known what to do? Do our children know what constitutes an emergency? Can they recognize it – In the pool…on the playground…in school…at home? Do they know what to do? How to administer basic first aid? Coming to think of it – do YOU know what to do or how to administer effective first aid? Do they know whom to call when there is an emergency? Have you talked to them about ICE contacts?
Hmmm! Parenting is a lot of work!! Sometimes I wonder if we can ever really cover the entire “parenting curriculum”. There are some things one just takes for granted. Things that we assume our children should know instinctively. The reality is that we can only do our best and try and find those teachable moments in everyday incidences that occur, to pass on valuable life lessons to children.
This clip of an 8-year-old girl, who called 911 to report her kidnapping which resulted in her and her little brother being rescued, really impressed me. I took particular note of the fact that her father had taught her what to do in the event of an emergency. He did not leave it to chance. Talk about proactive parenting!
For my Naija parents, please try not to leave your children at home without a trusted adult who knows what to do in the event of an emergency. Have the emergency numbers handy. The general emergency phone number is 112 or 199 and these numbers can be called in most part of Nigeria when there is an emergency situation from the police, fire department or ambulance service. Those in Lagos state can also dial 767. It would also be wise to have the phone number of other trusted adult (who picks their phones) on speed dial as a backup.
If you’re interested in upgrading your first aid skills or you want to equip your children with basic first aid skills, you can visit First Aid By Levande or reach them on +234 817 732 1761. Dr. Oluwatosin Osikoya and her team would be happy to talk you through the various first aid classes they run.
To put it in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Let’s be proactive parents and not wait until a disaster occurs to take action and I’m not just talking offline but online too.
Credit: ABC 10 News
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