To the Editor,
Though it’s only for April, every day of the year should be Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Trauma from unchecked child abuse/neglect typically results in the helpless child’s brain improperly developing. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it acts as his/her starting point into an adolescence and (in particular) an adulthood in which its brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines.
In short, it can make every day an emotional/psychological ordeal, unless the mental turmoil is doused with some form of self-medicating.
Meanwhile, general society perceives, thus treats, human procreative rights as though we’ll somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs. I find that mentality — however widely practiced — wrong and needing re-evaluation, however unlikely that will ever happen.
Proactive measures should be taken in order to avoid having to later reactively treat (often with tranquilizing medication) potentially serious and life-long symptoms caused by a dysfunctional environment, neglect and/or abuse. And if we’re to avoid the dreadedly invasive conventional reactive means of intervention — that of the government-forced removal of children from dysfunctional/abusive home environments — maybe we then should be willing to try an unconventional proactive means of preventing some future dysfunctional/abusive family situations.
Child development science curriculum might be one way. Also, mental health care needs to generate as much societal concern — and government funding — as does physical health, even though psychological illness/dysfunction typically is not immediately visually observable.
I wonder how many instances there have been wherein immense long-term suffering by children of dysfunctional rearing might have been prevented had the parent(s) received, as high school students, some crucial parenting or child development education by way of mandatory curriculum? After all, dysfunctional and/or abusive parents, for example, may not have had the chance to be anything else due to their lack of such education and their own dysfunctional/abusive rearing as children.
For decades, I’ve strongly felt that a psychologically and emotionally-sound (as well as a physically healthy) future should be all children’s foremost right — especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter — and therefore child development science should be learned long before the average person has their first child.
Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock, B.C.