By Jerry Roker
for Bahamas Press
When parents fail to care for their children properly, they leave them exposed to the ills of our society. Even in the womb, children are vulnerable; the unborn child is only as safe as the ‘mother-to-be’ is considerate. Drinking excessive alcohol, smoking, and taking drugs can damage the unborn child.
Children have no say in their conception and ultimate birth; they are simply born into a setting where they are either cared for adequately, or, due to ineffective parenting, they learn to strive, against all odds. In some cases, there is a ‘minimum standard’ of care given to children that, with some adjustments, can be improved, because the children are not in any immediate danger or ‘at risk’. There is also a standard that falls, disappointingly, below what is considered ‘reasonable childcare’.
Here are some examples:
1. Children who are consistently beaten or physically abused, with belts, sticks, hose pipes, wire etc.
2. Parents who sexually abuse their children, or parents who know their child was sexually abused, but fail to report it, therefore protecting the perpetrator.
3. Parents who encourage their under-age children to engage in sex for money (sex trafficking).
4. Children who are left alone for long periods of time without parental supervision, and/or food and water.
Those are just four examples of bad parenting, which are, in actual fact, CHILD ABUSE; and child abuse is AGAINST THE LAW. Because children are unable to protect themselves, and they are unaware of what is best for their development, when parents fail to provide reasonable care, the State is left no other alternative but to intervene on behalf of the child.
It is hard for the layperson to imagine the magnitude of the impact that negative parenting can have on a child, but the damage can be irrevocable.
Damaged children act out their ‘pain’ of abandonment, rejection, frustration, and the psychological effect of physical and sexual abuse in a variety of ways. Who cares? We care!
EVERY ADULT SHOULD CARE, because adults have a duty to either intervene or prevent our children from abuse in any way, shape or form. By addressing child-protective issues today, we are seeking to ensure well rounded adults of tomorrow.
To have knowledge of an incident of child abuse and not report it to the appropriate authority, is to be complicit in the act itself.