I was distressed by the letter from “Concerned Mother in New York” who believes that families should have the freedom to raise their children as they please, and the rest of us should “mind our own business”.
While families do have the right to make many choices in their approach to parenting as with any other facet of their lives, they do not have the moral right to hurt another person. No one has that right. There can be nothing right in one human being deliberately hurting another human being, no matter what their relationship happens to be. Would “Concerned Mother” agree that families who are caring for an elderly, bedridden relative have the right to hit that person if it is “needed”? I suspect that anyone could see how cruel such treatment would be. Yet babies and young children are even more helpless than the elderly, and they have the right to learn by example what compassion is.
Babies are born with vast quantities of love to share, and no one has the right to betray that love and trust. And if they do, the suffering that betrayed person can inflict later on can be staggering. For more on that subject, I recommend Alice Miller’s illuminating books on Hitler’s childhood, and her article on my web site, “Adolf Hitler: How Could a Monster Succeed in Blinding a Nation?” at http://www.naturalchild.org/alice_miller/adolf_hitler.html. While not all punished children will become as heartless as Hitler, their capacity to love and trust others will inevitably suffer to some degree. With that in mind, it seems clear that the welfare of children should be everybody’s business.
As Lillian Katz has warned, " Each of us must come to care about everyone else's children. We must recognize that the welfare of our children is intimately linked to the welfare of all other people's children. After all, when one of our children needs life-saving surgery, someone else's child will perform it. If one of our children is harmed by violence, someone else's child will be responsible for the violent act. The good life for our own children can be secured only if a good life is also secured for all other people's children. "
I hope Concerned Mother will consider the wisdom and seriousness of this statement.
Jan Hunt, M.Sc., Director
The Natural Child Project Society http://www.naturalchild.org/
All children behave as well as they are treated.