(7 December) The Department of Mental Health has warned parents that bringing their young children to protest camps may harm the kids? physical and mental health.
Anti-government protesters led by People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King as Head of State (PCAD) have been camping in a number of sites around Bangkok, such as Ratchadamnoen Avenue and the Government Complex. Some parents have been seen attending the prolonged protest with their children.
But Dr. Jetsada Chokedamrongsuk, Director-General of the Mental Health Department, said it is not advisable to bring small children to such crowded protests as the events can be harmful to the kids. "Young children are easily infected by germs, and they have a higher risk of suffering from heat stress or exhaustion".
The demanding nature of the protests, with extreme temperatures in various times of the day and the overnight political activities, will also disrupt the sleeping pattern of young children, Dr. Jessada said.
Dr. Jessada added, “Parents should spend their free-time daily with their small children in a relaxing environment," instead of bringing them to political rallies.
He said any parents or children suffering from exhaustion or depression caused by their stay in the protest sites are advised to call Department of mental Health hotline via the number 1323 at any time.
Furthermore, Dr. Jessada said, the ongoing political confrontation would also expose young children at home with aggressive, impolite rhetoric uttered by protest leaders when they watch television.
However, according to the official, the department does encourage parents to allow their children to engage in political debate within the family. In a statement, the department suggested that ‘parents should notice how children react to the news and engage them in discussion where they can voice their ideas’.
The statement also advised parents to be open about different perspectives from their children and allow them to explain and propose ideas freely.
"Parents should look toward the issue positively and be tolerant about alternatives ideas," the statement went on ,"And at the same time, they should use appropriate language when communicating with the kids or use books and word cards to help them understand the situation better".
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