Monday, November 26, 2012
Understanding Neglect of Children
At any given time, a child can have an unsightly tooth without the presence of Neglect in a household.
At any given time, a parent can have a toothache, use pain medication, and not be abusing drugs, leading to Neglect in the household.
At any given time.
Neglect is the most insidious of failure to parent; the most easily committed offense, and one in which there is an 'addiction' of sorts, with lots of deceptive excuse making and, eventually, parental boasting. It takes no effort to neglect a child; no effort at all.
This is just how insidious Neglect is.
Some of you may have read of old Soviet-era experiments on newborns, in which they tested the impact of Neglect: having new borns all given the same nutrition, but one group untouched, un-held, yet fed with as little contact as possible. The result was mental retardation, by and large.
Children are created to thrive on attention. They are deliberately 'cute', by design, so that an adult would have the most natural reaction of rubbing a head, hugging, kissing, holding, and so on. As the child grows, eventually, the 'awkward' teenage years begin where the child is not put on someone's lap and have his or her hair jostled, as was done at age 5. This is also deliberate by design, as adulthood warrants independence.
When a baby first says, "Mama!" it fills the hearts of parents with delight. If by age 12, the child still only says, "Mama!", the same parental hearts break. As the child grows into critical thinking, the 'training wheels' of life must be removed, howbeit slowly, as the child eventually takes his or her place as a responsible adult.
Neglectful parents are often heard boasting how "independent" the child is, including tackling chores that are considered beyond the child's age. We heard from Carnel's mother this very thing: she was "making him into a man"; i.e., he was not only cleaning up after them, but was likely good at fixing his own meals.
Can you imagine a child protective worker, as a stranger, leaving with a 3 year old in tow, holding hands, with the 3 year old not bothering to stop, turn, and say "bye bye" to Mommy?
I do not need to imagine such because I have seen it many times.
Young children have natural stranger anxiety. Children of Neglect often have none because they have learned to get attention from wherever and whoever will offer it. The danger of this is obvious and needs little explanation. The young girl who learns to obtain male attention will eventually become a young woman who will have learned that male attention comes from her looks, rather than from accomplishments in life, like homework, ballet, ice skating or making the honor roll.
Neglectful parents often boast. "Look how social my daughter is! She is not afraid of anyone!" not realizing how deep Neglect has taken root.
A child has natural stranger anxiety, not paralyzing fear of over-protection, but neither should the child be the "rock" of a home; parentified, and often acting in the role of peace maker, keeping the family together. Neglectful parents see the very things I am describing and brag of them in their language.
Like the Statement Analysis view of "normal", we take boasting in statements as a signal that something is very wrong in the household. As often said, good parents are too exhausted to boast and it appears that those who have a need to boast are likely those who have been previously told that they are not good parents.
Neglect appeals to the lazy.
It is easy to do. It is the easiest thing to do.
Once a child fends for himself, Neglect becomes easier to accept.
Neglect is addictive and feeds on itself, with the more that the child does for himself or herself, the more the parent can praise the child while being lazy.
Neglect is difficult to quantify.
Emotional neglect's impact is often seen years after it has been experienced.
As to CPS nightmare cases:
I know of nightmare cases and of injustice and have met, face to face, some who have perpetrated injustice. I have seen those promoted to positions of authority who had no experience with children, and understood little of the fatigue that parents experience, leaving no room for empathy. I know.
I have also known many who did the right thing and who, without intervention, a child would have come to great harm.
I wonder how many parents can envision this:
a 3 year old or 4 year old is being removed from his mother's house by a social worker, who is a stranger.
The child holds the social worker's hand, and does not turn to say "goodbye" to the mother. No tears, no interest in mom, whatsoever.
In order to have that type of reaction...a child must know nothing but Neglect, and how to seek out strangers.
Celina Cass' tooth is not proof of Neglect. I don't need dental issues to show Neglect, I merely need to look at the monster that was invited into her home to know Neglect in its worst case scenario: Failure to Protect. Do you think Celina felt safe with a monster so dangerous that the court said his violence wasn't something he could even comprehend?
A mother calls police on her boyfriend who threatens to kill her only to invite him into the home a few months later. To police he boasted, "Yeah, I threatened to kill her and her daughter too!"
Now Hailey daughter is dead. Mom got her youthful "MHMR" boyfriend, but Hailey got the monster.
Neglect often kills the soul long before the body exits this earth.
Childhood is about safety.
When a child receives a toy on Christmas, the child does not fret over overstretched budgets, nor about the upcoming bill. The child lives in the moment, in safety, thinking that life will always be like this: safe, warm, comforting and especially safe.
Inviting violence into the home is to not only put a child's physical wellbeing at risk, it is to destroy the very emotional fabric of safety. The very fabric of parenthood is sacrifice. It is the opposite of Neglect.
The window of life for innocence of childhood is open for only a short time. Loving discipline and boundary setting equates to security in the heart of a trusting child. Home is safe. Home is where no bad words can be said, nor hurtful things uttered, like at school or elsewhere. Home is where cuts are cleaned and healed. Home is where things are made right.
But when a monster enters the home, all this is broken down.
Each time a parent chooses to invite drugs into the household, the parent invites Neglect, a monster of substance abuse. Since Neglect is insidious and it means only to do nothing, it is very difficult to inspire an adult to action, once laziness has settled in.
Deborah Bradley said she needed her "Adult time", which is the best indicator of what happened to Baby Lisa, who dared infringe upon Bradley's time, likely meeting a momentary flash of alcohol fueled rage; it only takes a moment.
Understand: inviting in violence is Neglect in its highest form. Substance Abuse only makes the whole thing slide down the ladder to child hell that much faster.
There's more to a photo than just a picture.