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Their powerful 'sixth sense' might save them from baddies

By unknown | May 17, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Amanda Ngudle

Amanda Ngudle

The reward for Madeleine McCann, a child from England who is missing, might have reached R35million, but the worry about her safe return has not dimmed.

The four-year-old was abducted in Portugal while on holiday with her parents.

A child psychologist says the child might have had a feeling about her fate before it happened.

"We are all born with a sharp 'sixth sense' that gradually subsides as we grow older," says child psychologist Rita van Reeth.

"Children aged 0 to about 17 still possess this gift and some of them share the most amazing observations."

But the suspect might not have sent out the vibes in time for little Madeleine to tell someone, Van Reeth says.

"I think it's God's way of protecting children.

"Intuition though, is best honed if acknowledged and respected."

Her beliefs are echoed by the missing children website which reports that most are spotted by other children.

So when your child tells you he doesn't like someone or screams if a certain individual holds her, be wary of that person.

"But because it's often the people towards whom we are empathetic, even sympathetic, nine out of 10 times we will dismiss a child's opinions about that individual."

Van Reeth says parents often dismiss children because of their behaviour.

"Naughty kids are often on the receiving end of parents contempt, but they are often the most intuitively gifted."

Children test their parents' trust by initially reporting little things.

For instance, your child might report that the maid is "using your perfume when you're not there". Your reaction will determine future reports.

Van Reeth says that some teachers can also harm a child's development and sense of self-worth.

"I have umpteen cases of teacher-pupil abuse. The child reports that the teacher teases him and calls him names. The saddest thing is that his parents never give him an opportunity to delve into the abuse until he was physically ill from worry, and refused to go to school."

But this intuition must not be the alpha and omega of character assessment. Van Reeth says parents must put their intuition to good use too.

Forensic clinical psychologist Ketso Moorosi-Mabusela says: "If there was ever a time to be vigilant in watching and monitoring our kids, that time is now.

"Kids will often argue when their parents say so-and-so is a good person by saying: 'but I tried telling you so many times and you dismissed me', and once you hear that, you know that trust is lost forever," she says.

Trust should be built from the smallest things so that children know they have an empathetic ear in parents and guardians if someone tries to lure them away, Moorosi-Mabusela says.


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