Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 14th 2015 Contents Iam still astonished at how
masculine my six-month-old
son Kyle is. Mere days after
his birth, he already had a
muscular-looking chest. Now
he has biceps and big thighs.
He even sleeps in a position
that his sister Jinaki never did,
on his back with his arms fold-
ed behind his head. And, also
unlike her, when I hold him by
his torso over my head, he
stretches his legs straight out
like Superman flying.
All of which confirms for me
that boys are not girls.
I hope this seems to you a
marvellously obvious statement
but, unfortunately, this fact is
often not taken into account in
the way boys are raised. Yet, if
you are the parent of a typical
boy, then you face somewhat
different challenges than par-
ents of a typical girl or parents,
like myself, who have both a
girl and a boy.
For example, when children
develop enough to display
empathy (between one and two
years of age), girls do so more
than boys and girls are also
better at reading facial expres-
sions and gestures.
But, as research child psy-
chologist Paul Bloom notes in
his book Descartes Baby: "We
are dealing with averages here;
there are plenty of empathetic
and socially-savvy men around,
alongside plenty of cold-heart-
ed and nerdy women. And
nobody denies that cultural fac-
tors of all sorts can exaggerate
or inhibit these differences."
The differences, however, are
shaped by genes and hormonal
factors within the womb.
Right after birth, boys display
more motor activity than girls,
which grows more pronounced
around two, and peaks at about
seven or eight. Both parents
and scientists know that girls
speak sooner than boys and
also speak better. By 18 months
of age, boys vocabulary range
from zero to over 200 words,
whereas girls from two to over
300. But researchers who
recorded months of verbal
interactions in families also
found that parents tended to
talk to their boys less and were
less likely to tell them stories or
give them books. How large a
child s vocabulary was at age
three correlated with the num-
ber of words spoken to them
by the parents, and this was
equally true for boys and girls.
By age five, girls are six
months ahead of boys in gener-
al development. But is this
because of innate factors or
because boys are not given the
right kind of teaching? It is
probably both. For example,
boys innately develop fine
motor skills slower than girls,
which makes it harder for them
to hold a pencil and hence
learn to write their letters.
However, if the boys are pro-
vided with a fat pencil or
allowed to use the computer
keyboard, learning is easier for
But even parents who accept
these fundamental differences
often treat with their boys as
though they should behave
more like girls in terms of dis-
cipline, such as being quiet.
Worse yet, many of our edu-
cators from kindergarten to
secondary school, expect the
same. "Too many teachers
expect all boys to sit still like
girls and to like it," notes jour-
nalist Peg Tyre in her book
Why Boys Fail. Too often, such
expectations hampers boys
development emotionally and
Parents who conscientiously
care about their children, male
or female, will pay attention to
such differences and try to
ensure that their child s partic-
ular predilections and needs are
met so they can fulfil their
As far as I'm aware, scratch bombs are
illegal. Furthermore, the use of fire-
works is prohibited in residential areas. It
can be surmised therefore, that the use
of scratch bombs as well as the use of
fireworks in residential areas constitute
breaking the law and as such, committing
My layman's understanding of all this
is that once a crime has been committed,
the perpetrator or perpetrators are held
accountable to the authorities for their
Assuming that this is so, why would
several calls by more than one citizen to
the police regarding the use of scratch
bombs and fireworks in Lange Park, Ch-
aguanas be ignored?
The response from the police was one
of a total lack of concern and scorn al-
most for what must seem to them to be
a crime of no real consequence or signifi-
If there is no mandate to seriously ad-
dress what can be loosely termed "petty"
crimes, what message are perpetrators
receiving regarding the law and its en-
forcement? It tells perpetrators loud and
clear that it's okay to break the law be-
cause it's a "small thing" and there is no
need to fear any consequences for their
This thinking is encouraged by parents
and facilitated by the authorities as it
breeds and fosters a lack of respect and
regard for what is right from wrong. Fur-
thermore, it cultivates a mindset of ab-
solute disrespect, which as can be seen in
our society, continues to escalate and
flourish from the little ones up.
Why then do we complain or demand
justice for "larger" crimes running ram-
pant in T&T? These "larger" crimes
should be of no concern also as they are
built and structured on the blatant per-
missiveness of the "smaller" crimes. The
"smaller" crimes provide the foundation
for our ignoring right from wrong and
give the impetus and "legitimacy" to our
thinking and actions.
If we can see that dealing seriously
with the small crimes, which, incidentally,
I don't regard as small at all, then maybe
people will respect the fact that the laws
of a country need to be upheld and it is
the duty of every citizen to ensure that
this is so.
I will end by making my usual plea for
the elimination of fireworks from the
hands of private citizens and the total
eradication of scratch bombs. I don't see
how noise and terror can be celebratory
as I am forced to endure a destructive
and distressing experience without re-
Saturday, November 14, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
THE LAING GROUP
HAS A VACANCY FOR THE
A Please send resume to:
LP#82 Cipero Road,
Contact office: 299-0500
Deadline date for application is
30th November 2015. 1114073
We often here of so many people
being held for guns, drugs, drunk
Can the police give us the statistics, if
there are any, on how many people have
been arrested and charged for setting off
fireworks and scratch bombs for Novem-
ber 2015 thus far? The public needs to
know how much of these offenders have
been dealt with by the law.
We all know that it is an offence to set
off these explosives in and around places
where people live but one can do so in
open areas like parks, savannahs, etc. Or,
one can have a licence to do so.
It is nonsensical to have these laws and
little or no one being held accountable.
We, the majority of law abiding citizens,
need the police and the law's protection
from these inconsiderate "criminals" who
continue to take advantage of us with
such unnecessary noise pollution.
Where is the Environmental Manage-
ment Authority (EMA) in this? Further,
wasn't an Environment Police Unit estab-
lished? Where are the local government
police units, city police, borough police?
Are they benefitting somewhere or just
falling down on their jobs? Do they need a
directive from the Commissioner of Police
to uphold the law or can their oath of of-
Why is no one doing anything to help
us? Is it that they are awaiting for some-
one to trip off and do some other illegal
acts and then we will see action?
Did the police form a task force, team
or squad with plainclothes officers to go
around communities and apprehend such
people during the recent Divali season?
This can be a "seasonal" unit established
by the authorities.
We love to speak about joint arrange-
ments with the police and defence force.
Why not use the defence force in this area
as well? This would have been an obvious
thing to do. But do we turn a blind eye to
the law and say "it is a Trini culture thing"
and leave it alone?
I hope that with the onset of Christmas
and New Year's that some action is taken
by the authorities. Don't do us any favour.
Just do your jobs and implement the law.
Rescue us from the demons of fire-
works and scratch bombs!
Loud sudden noises have
absolutely nothing to
do with Divali.
Forgers of fireworks are
not remotely connected to
the celebration or might be
unable to correctly spell its
name. They are business
people. All they see is blue.
How does it feel to see
your money go up in
smoke with a bang? Easy
come, easy go. Injuries
range from burns to loss of
fingers. Seeing a missing
digit, you will definitely
have unpleasant recollec-
tions. It will not grow back.
Who wants to lose their
hearing does also feel.
New Year's is approach-
ing. I happen to know an
excellent ear doctor and a
loans officer. Go ahead,
A PARENTING COLUMN BY KEVIN BALDEOSINGH
MAN AND CHILD
Boys will be boys
Police ignore calls over fireworks
How many arrested for scratch bombs?
nothing to do
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