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Parents’ judgment under fire

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Case of missing tot serves as reminder


Has anybody heard an acceptable answer as to why intelligent parents left three children, all under the age of four, alone?





It’s been just over one month since four-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family’s rented holiday apartment in the Algarve resort town of Praia da Luz, in Portugal. Her parents are convinced she was snatched from her bed by an abductor — and that a witness who saw a man carrying away a child in a blanket that night saw their daughter with her kidnapper.





Celebrities, like soccer star David Beckham, Virgin Airlines’ Richard Branson, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and American Idol’s Simon Cowell have rallied to the parents’ aid to help find this little British girl. And many people across Europe seem to be very concerned with how the parents and their other two children, two-year old twins, are holding up.





But no one is pulling back all the veils and asking that real question: Why was there a window of opportunity open for this tragedy to happen?





Although there’s no legal age limit at which you can leave a child unattended in Portugal, isn’t it unbelievable to leave three children in a ground-floor apartment, for 30-minute stints while the parents eat dinner 50 yards away?





So what if when you check on them, they’re all fast asleep, but five minutes later one wakes up? Is that child supposed to cry while you dip your tortillas for another 25 minutes?





And what if one becomes curious and restless, and somehow gets into trouble?





I’m not denying the fact that a missing child is a terrible ordeal, nor do I wish anything other than the safe return of little Madeleine. But shouldn’t every parent now use this horrible story as a way of ensuring that they are never misguided in deciding between personal pleasure and their children’s safety?





According to reports, the parents are about to leave Portugal and travel to Germany, Amsterdam and Morocco in search of their daughter. I don’t mean to be unkind, but I can’t help wondering who’ll be looking after the twins.





Initially, some of the British press did question the couples’ lack of judgment. What they came up with, in my opinion, is ridiculous. According to some of the McCann’s friends, because the couple had struggled with fertility for years, they felt safer not leaving their children in a stranger’s care.





What? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever! In fact, it’s almost backwards — most people who suffer in their attempts to have children, and who finally succeed, would want to keep their children as safe as possible, by keeping an eye on them at all times. Not leaving them alone.





But clearly we’re dealing with people with ill-thought priorities, for Mr. McCann’s sister is known to have said, “It’s not like they’d gone out gallivanting — they were just having something to eat.”





What a sad consequence.



letters@metronews.ca


 
 
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