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solution to bad parenting?
Posted: 28 September 2007 06:22 PM   [ Ignore ]
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A friend of mine quite recently proposed a “solution” to abusive and neglegent parenting.

He proposes that the state raises kids till the time they reach adulthood, through a new regime of education.

I told him that this idea runs counter to freedom, capitalism, and selfishness; but he counters that it is.

I told him that the idea was statist to the nth degree. He counters with “what about the abused kids?” and I said “let them work it out by the child protection laws and they’ll support themselves”

I also mentioned that the kids not interested should not be forced to continue with it, but he disagrees, claiming they cannot make their own choices.

I cannot explain it fully, but the idea sounds way too much like Brave New World. But this technique, as far as I know, remains untested.

I am conflicted over it because, on the one hand, there are really good parents out there and freedom of choice in education is part of liberty, but, on the other hand, the abuse of kids by parents is a breach of rights as well.

On Tuesday, a 20-yr old mother came home to see her 1-yr old stabbed to death by the kid’s great uncle in order to “get rid of demons” in the child.

Would this new regime solve this problem?

Anyone here support this idea?

Am I being elitist in not supporting this “equalizing” idea?

Is parental abuse necessary cause for a new governmental agency, or should this idea be run by businesses, if at all?

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Posted: 28 September 2007 06:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Ooof, I wouldn’t want the state to raise all kids in giant orphanages, no way. That’s using a sledgehammer to kill a fly.

Most parents are very good at being parents, much more invested in their kids and indeed selfless than any state system would ever be. It’s true that there are a small minority of parents who are frankly evil, and in those cases you do need the state to step in and put the child in a foster home, or perhaps in an orphanage depending on the case. But that should only be done in extremis.

Another way to put the problem is this: there is certainly abuse by biological parents, uncles, etc. There is also, however, abuse by foster parents and abuse in orphanages. (That’s why many of them were shut down). I’d wager that abuse is worse in orphanages taken as a whole than by biological parents taken as a whole. So to move all children from their parents into orphanages would worsen the problem a lot.

There’s the additional question that this is about as politically feasible as forcibly converting the entire US population to Islam ... probably significantly less feasible, actually. Many parents would use violence to thwart such a plan.

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Posted: 28 September 2007 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I absolutely sympathize with your frustrations about nasty people abusing kids.  You raise a valid question about who should and shouldn’t have access to kids.

redmartian89 - 28 September 2007 06:22 PM

On Tuesday, a 20-yr old mother came home to see her 1-yr old stabbed to death by the kid’s great uncle in order to “get rid of demons” in the child.

Would this new regime solve this problem?

No.  It might have solved the problem for the particular 1-yr old if he had not been left in the care of his horrible great uncle.  Even in this case, the violence was not committed by the parent.  The parent can only be accused of being irresponsible, if even that depending on the specifics.  Either way, a teacher or state care provider could commit an equally heinous act just as easily.  Or, they could have just as easily left the child with some other irresponsible third party.

Am I being elitist in not supporting this “equalizing” idea?

So what if you are.

Some people clearly oughtn’t have access to children.

[ Edited: 28 September 2007 07:42 PM by erasmusinfinity ]
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Posted: 28 September 2007 10:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Doug’s point is well made.  If we could learn how to identify all those inimical to the well-being of children and isolate them from all children, that would be one solution.  However, if we can’t identify all such people, and we set up government growth centers for children, who do you think would be among the applicants for jobs as attendants? 

A major value to society is the variation in thinking and beliefs of the population.  Government run centers would work toward uniformity, and whose beliefs would be inculcated - Catholic, G.W. Bush’s, Baptist, Mormon, conservative, etc.  We know for damned sure that the children would not be exposed to atheistic, agnostic, or socially liberal beliefs.

Just a dumb, poorly thought out idea in general.

Occam

edited to correct a minor typo

[ Edited: 29 September 2007 06:22 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 29 September 2007 12:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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All I can do, as is so often the case, is echo Doug and Occam. Though a firm beliveer in state social welfare and draconian gun control, I would never support mandatory state child-rearing and would buy myself a passle of machine guns before I’d give up my child. Wonder if your friend has kids. I’ll go out on a limb and guess no, and no older than 30 to boot. Either way, bad idea on logistical, intellectual, and moral grounds.

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Posted: 29 September 2007 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Here, the state perform worst at raising kids than the worst parents, or at least not better. And the parents who abuse their childrens are a minority, while the abuses on orphanages are very common. As Occam said, the orphanages are a kind of paradise for kid abuser: poors kids, with no protection, and a hughe bureaucratic systems which assures them anonymity.

But I think the concern about bad parents is valid. At least here, I’d like to see laws to punish harder no only child abuse, but lack of care on childs. I think that a parent who prevents their kid to go to the school deserves a time in prision.

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Posted: 29 September 2007 05:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Agreed Barto!  Certain individuals oughtn’t have access to children- biological or adopted parents, governmental or state authorities, or otherwise.

Raising children is not a right, it is a priviledge.  And it is a responsibility.

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Posted: 29 September 2007 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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However, there is a problem.  That is, that parents seldom have any idea of how to raise their first kid and make many mistakes.  I recall my Hungrarian dentist, many years ago suggesting that first children should be considered prototypes.  Have one kid, make all the mistakes and learn from them, kill the kid, and start over to do it right.  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 30 September 2007 12:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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big surprise  Oh my!  Well, I don’t want to be hard on parents who are just trying the best they know how and making common mistakes.  We were talking about cases of abuse, not about family dysfunction.

I enjoy your sense of humor, though, Occam.

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Posted: 30 September 2007 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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For me, the basic problem with this discussion is that there is no mention of context.  Yes, there is an extraordinary amount of child abuse in the world, but if we are talking as humanists wanting to change the world by changing ourselves, challenging ourselves, and influencing the people around us, then we need to talk about parenthood and the challenges therein.  (And in the spirit of full disclosure, I work part-time as a Parenting Educator)  Parenthood is difficult even in the best of situations.  There are very few support systems in place for parents.  The working world is not set up to support families, our health care system neglects those who are uninsured, and poverty and other social stressors take precedence over creating ideal home, childcare, or school environments in which children can grow to reach their full potential.  And the change for women (I’m also a mom of two) is extraordinary and completely unanticipated.  You go from being a fully appreciated worker bee to being someone else’s primary caregiver.  Your own identity shifts in a dramatic way.  And you need to redefine yourself in many new ways (as a wife, a mother, and an independent person in your own right).  Now add stressors such as mentioned above and you are in a desperate need of some serious support which just isn’t available. 

For me and the work I do, it is all about helping parents navigate this emotional, physical, and cultural minefield so they can have the opportunity to learn about healthy child development, find organizations that can help alleviate some of the stressors in their lives, and promote healthy family relationships.  It can’t just be about removing a child from an “unhealthy” environment (as defined by who?). 

I used to work at a runaway shelter and I can tell you that even in the worst of home situations (aside from sexual abuse), family reunification (with ongoing therapy or support) is the number one goal.

Vanessa

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Posted: 30 September 2007 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I agree Vanessa, and don’t want to bash struggling parents.  I only see removal of children from their parents as appropriate in extreme situations.  Keeping children with their parents should be the most desirable public policy.

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Posted: 30 September 2007 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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vanessa - 30 September 2007 01:09 PM

The working world is not set up to support families, our health care system neglects those who are uninsured, and poverty and other social stressors take precedence over creating ideal home, childcare, or school environments in which children can grow to reach their full potential.  And the change for women (I’m also a mom of two) is extraordinary and completely unanticipated.  You go from being a fully appreciated worker bee to being someone else’s primary caregiver.  Your own identity shifts in a dramatic way.  And you need to redefine yourself in many new ways (as a wife, a mother, and an independent person in your own right).  Now add stressors such as mentioned above and you are in a desperate need of some serious support which just isn’t available. 

Exactly so. The majority of parents are good and decent people, there is a very small minority who are violent to their kids, but in between are a group of usually poor, stressed parents, whose chances could be helped significantly by having health insurance and childcare provided to them. This would reduce stressors on the family and allow the parent or parents to work if need be.

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Posted: 30 September 2007 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Ditto vanessa. Gosh, I think that’s more people agreeing to agree than I’ve ever seen here! wink

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Posted: 30 September 2007 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Well, I have been told I’m a good diplomat.  (At least with issues close to my heart!) 

Vanessa

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Posted: 30 September 2007 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Damn, I’m supposed to be the cantankerous old fud.  I’m going to have to work harder to find something to disagree with here.  LOL

While different families may have somewhat different methods of child rearing and value inculcation, I think essentially all of us, even non-parents, want what’s best for our kids.

Occam

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Posted: 01 October 2007 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I believe the children are our future
teach them well and let them lead the way
show them all the beauty they possess inside
give them a sense of pride to make it easier

- Whitney Houston, Greatest Love of All

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