Did Harambe the Gorilla Have to Die?

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Harambe the gorilla, who was shot dead when a four-year-old boy fell into his zoo enclosure
Harambe the gorilla, who was shot dead when a four-year-old boy fell into his zoo enclosure

I was interviewed this morning on BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester about the sad shooting of a beautiful gorilla called Harambe.

It’s always so easy to judge others isn’t it, but I wasn’t there and all I know is that the Zoo had a duty of care to keep the little boy safe. Hindsight is a wonderful science & we can all point fingers at people but a more helpful response I feel is:

‘What can we all learn as parents from this incident?’

We need to ‘talk & teach‘ our kids, our rules about their behaviour when they are in public places from zoos to restaurants and we need to have simple, consistent consequences if our kids choose to ignore them.

We need to be in it for the long haul, not the short term, quick fix.

Beinging up kids is demanding, tiring, exhausting as well as joyful, rewarding and wonderful.

We do our kids no service by allowing them to run free, cause havoc and ignore rules. Rules are there for a reason – to keep us safe and respect others.

As a former Deputy Head we taught the children that  running in corridors causes accidents, so the children understood the reason for the rule.

Children feel safer, happier and more secure if you ‘talk & teach’ them your rules.

You don’t have to shout at them, smack them or get constantly angry but you do need to be insistent, consistent and follow through on what you expect.

Children will challenge you, test you out and ignore your rules from time to time but they need to learn to follow the rules if they are to succeed at school, in their workplace and in society. They learn this from you at home first, as you are their primary role model.

The furore would have been very different if the little boy had been injured or killed – so instead of blaming those parents in the Zoo, I choose to highlight the learning & lessons from such a sad incident.


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