Friday, June 01, 2007

Summary Article About Child Abuse and Neglect

One of my blog readers named Reverend Brenda Hoffman wrote this article about what child abuse and neglect is.

I think this is a good thing to read because of the issue with homeschoolers who are reported for child neglect to their state's DCF (or whatever the equivalent department is called in their state). When I read this I think “this is so far removed from our family that it is ridiculous”.

In my state (Connecticut) a separate category is "educational neglect". That doesn't have much description in that article.

What I see of child abuse and neglect as represented on shows such as Dr. Phil and less often, Oprah is very far removed from what I have seen and know of homeschoolers in my area. And actually, what I see on Dr. Phil’s shows on topics of problems in a family, problems with one person in a family, or problems in a marriage shows footage of horrible interpersonal relations also with children in the family. The conditions I see some people living with were scenarios that I’d never imagined people could live with or could actually do to another person. I can’t imagine why a person would want to treat another adult or a child so badly; I just don’t get it. In my ‘real life’ see much more abusive treatment of children by parents of schooled children, at sporting events in my town, for example, I witnessed a few things. I knew the children were enrolled in the public school. If you want some examples of child abuse go watch some Little League games (with young children, not the older kids who get dropped off; our Little League here begins at age four).

I have seen other instances of cruelty to children expressed by parents in public places. For some reason Wal Mart is notorious around here! Every time I go to Wal Mart I see and hear at least one of the following things: adults speaking very meanly to their children, including profanity or shaming with name calling, yelling or using terrible tones of voices, threatening children with punishment when they get home, threatening children with spanking to be done right in the store, or actually seeing a child hit, slapped, or tugged upon in a too-rough way. I also see lots of shrieking babies, most likely very hungry, who are being completely ignored as they lay strapped into the baby car seat in the shopping cart. Less often I have seen small children in strollers completely screaming and crying for something and being told to shut up or else completely ignored while the parent shops. I try to avoid Wal Mart on a Friday night as it is the worst time of all to see these things. It drives me crazy to see children and babies treated in those ways and I just want to go and tell the parent off and to comfort the baby or child. I mind my own business though, with an occasional, if possible, terrible dirty look given to the parent.

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1 comment:

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...


Once in a local mall, my daughter and I heard a mother threatening to spank a young toddler (maybe 18 months) for crying. The mall was crowded and the bathroom was really warm and humid. My dauther asked the woman not to spank the baby and offered to keep an eye on her while the mother used the bathroom. Then other people also intervened--there was a long line waiting for an available stall-- gently suggesting that the toddler was probably tired and overwhelmed and that the mom was also.

The young mother responded by saying, "She's my baby and I decide what to do about it!" But she didn't spank the baby.

Sometimes I think the parents involved are probably overwhelmed and have very little social support. I don't know the whole answer to this, but I think gentle intervention might be a better proposition than hostile confrontation. But I do note that the mother in my example still responded defensively. And I don't know what happened when she went home, either.