For the Good of the Child: Part 5

Written by on October 19, 2007 in The Healing Journey with 0 Comments

Judges aren’t psychics. They can’t always tell who is telling the truth and who isn’t. Is the parent in this case a concerned parent or a manipulative and punishing one? How much can you rely on a child’s testimony? I know when I was little, there’s no way I would have ever talked bad about my father. Idealizing him was my main method of survival. I couldn’t even tell myself the truth, never mind anyone else.

But even for those children who suffer from “lesser” abuse than incest have a vested interested in seeing only the good or fear speaking the truth. Repercussions can be severe, and if you think being an adult at the hands of a narcissist, who puts forth such a wonderful face to others and reserves their abusive behavior toward you behind closed doors is bad, it’s even worse for a child.

Because you, as the adult, whether you have the psychological strength or not, can always walk out the door. It’s not even an option for a child.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gown to “appreciate”, if that’s the right word, just how many ways we can abuse a child. I’ve always been aware that even without the incest, there would have been plenty of emotional and psychological damage I would have had to deal with. But now I’m beginning to realize that all child abuse laws cover only a very narrow range of abuse.

I’m not talking about disciplining a child or being strict or laying down boundaries. I’m not referring to different child rearing practices or that a stricter style is more abusive than a progressive style. I’m not so sure of those distinctions anymore, because I have come to see that not having enough boundaries or clear expectations is just as abusive to a child as having so many that any sense of individuality is smothered out of existence.

I started to list a number of ways we can abuse a child…or each other for that matter, because after all, children are people…sadly, a novel concept in the minds of some people, but true nonetheless.

But then I realized that each thing I was listing – verbal, emotional abuse, neglect, the vicarious living through a child… were just all ways to make a person feel invisible.

I want to think some more about this, but perhaps for me, child abuse is anything that renders a child invisible under a blanket of needs, agendas or issues of the people who are suppose to reflect back to, encourage and nurture the growing sense of identity and wholeness in that child…as a general mode of relating. Because none of us are perfect, and I think we’ve all done this from time to time with our children and each other. That’s where the healing power of acknowledgement, accountability and a heartfelt apology followed by goodfaith change does it’s miracle work, and makes it much easier for forgiveness to find a home in the one hurt.

But a habitual pattern, even if the pattern is marked with inconsistency but is guaranteed to emerge at unexpected times depending on which direction the wind blows, is abuse…perhaps the worse of the two.

We can’t look to the law to secure protection from that kind of abuse for our children. It’s up to us to see to it that the children in our charge and in our world are given that kind of nurturance. It’s the duty of every person, not every parent, but every person to do their part to contribute to that end. We don’t, don’t one of us, live in an isolated world.

Everything that affects one, affects all. For the good of the children, always translate into for the good of society. No vision of utopia, no plans for improvement or even the slightest positive change can happen with any significance without keeping the children in mind. In fact, that should be the test question to any proposal.

Is it good for the children?


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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, uses spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. "For the Sake of Love” is her collection of songs written on Demian's healing journey, and “Little Yellow Pear Tomatoes” is a children’s book she wrote for her daughter about the interconnectedness of life published by Illumination Arts and endorsed by Jane Goodall. Currently, Demian is working on recording episodes for her podcast and writing on the "Where There's Smoke Series on Covert Abuse". .

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