When was the last time you convinced your stubborn child to do what you wanted him to do? When he refused to consent, what did you resort to? Think of simple, day- to-day common incidents such as the child refusing to: eat breakfast, take a shower (or come out of it), go to school, take medicines when sick; or getting to: play with your friend’s kids when the child is not keen to, demonstrate singing skills in front of guests or share toys with other children. How did you get him do it? Did you ask, request, compare (with other kids) cox, bribe, bully, threaten or punish? Depending on the level of the need to get him do what you wanted him to, you would have requested him or threatened him. May be you threatened him when he refused to go to school and just coxed him to sing a song and let him go when he lacked interest.
Child predators may try multiple mind games on innocent children. From confidently asking to do a particular thing harmful to the child, to bribing, threatening or punishing. Being a parent, you need to be aware of where your child can potentially give in.
Here’s a story.
Once, in a village there lived a farmer and his 8 year old son. The farmer ploughed his land for a living. He also managed sheep and poultry. The son watched his father work hard in the fields and take care of the animals. One morning when the farmer woke up, he noticed one of his lambs missing. The next day morning, he found some chicken missing too. He realized there is someone stealing the animals from his farm everyday. Before next dusk, the farmer arranged an animal trap. The next morning, the farmer saw a jackal trapped inside. Not knowing how to dispose, he decided to go to the city zoo and ask if they would admit the wild jackal there. Before leaving, the farmer called his little son and said, “Son, we have caught the jackal stealing our livestock. I am going to the city zoo and ask if they would take him there. Till then, I am leaving the jackal with you. Please ensure that he is never let out. He can attack the animals and yourself. I am handing over a big responsibility to you. Please act wisely”.
After the farmer left, the jackal thought of escaping, taking the little boy along.
He turned to the boy and said:
Jackal: Hey, Can you let me go? (Asking)
Jackal: Please. I will never return to your farm again (Requesting)
Jackal: If it was your brother he would let me (Comparison)
Jackal: Oh, Come on you are a sweet kid (Coaxing)
Jackal: Deep in the forest there is a tree full of juicy mangoes. I can bring them to you if you let me go. (Bribing)
Jackal: I will not tell anyone that you let me free and we can be good friends too (Befriend)
Jackal: Oh, come on, Don’t act smart, you’ll pay for this. Hurry and open (Bully and Threaten)
Jackal: The loss is yours. Think about it. You father asked to to think wisely (Confuse)
Jackal: (Now howling).. You’ll not let me out, Yeah? I will kill you, your father and all the animals you have. (Punish)
Jackal: (Frustrated. Still trying) I want to meet my parents. They may be waiting for me (Sympathy)
The jackal had nothing more to say. He was convinced that the boy cannot be manipulated.
Soon the farmer came with the zoo officials and they took the jackal away.
At which stage would your child give in to a predator? Most of the time your child is physically safe, much like the jackal in the trap. But only until the child knows about it. The moment the innocent mind is tampered, the problems occur.
But remember: The predator is always more experienced and manipulative than the child. Only making children constantly alert will keep us guilt free.
I recommend you to have a role-play or a game with your little one to see where they are weak. You may then explain to them why they need not budge at any cost.
Enjoy my story narration with illustration here: