Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Issue is Neglect Not Abuse

Through “group think,” the progressive elites made spanking an abusive act that most people believe is illegal. Although no law has been passed making spanking illegal in any state of the union it has turned many against parents who sternly discipline their children. Americans are being reported to government officials for doing their duty of teaching their children right from wrong. No parent wants government bureaucrats to march into their homes making their lives a living hell.

The response to this intimidation has been for parents to back off teaching their children appropriate behavior. Instead of giving an effective consequence like a spank on the toddler’s behind, parents have learned it is easier to ignore bad behavior. Parents intuitively know that not doing anything when their child acts out is less offensive than taking a stand in our PC culture. In our modern society when a child acts out parents usually just lazily tune out and do nothing.

Ignoring bad behavior produces a maladaptive child. When parents begin to dislike their own misbehaving children, they find ways to avoid being around them. This leads to leaving them a little later at after school programs or at friends' homes before coming to pick them up, going into another room to get away or just coming home later and later to spend less and less time with their child. By not being there, the parents are neglectful.

Neglect, not physical abuse is the number one culprit in damaging children in our modern culture.

“1 In 50 Infants Neglected or Abused, Study Shows,” is the title of an article by Mike Stobbe, April 4, 2008, Tampa Tribune, page 5. The title is misleading as almost 87% of the 1 in 50 children are neglected while only 13% of the children were abused. The overwhelming problem in America is parental neglect, not abuse.

Yet the brainwashing continues that any and all spanking is abusive while the main issue of neglect is kept quiet. The higher socioeconomic forms of neglect are not even being considered no less addressed.

Neglect is usually less traumatic than physical abuse although it can be even more damaging to a child’s development. Without parents dedicating their time and energy to training their children to societal standards, children will be deficient in emotional and social areas. Problems in these areas make children susceptible to drugs or alcohol because they have a strong need to fit in. The neglect of these children’s normal needs leads to antisocial and self-destructive behavior.

The profile of the majority of parental villains in our culture is not a crazed, violent parent but a detached, inconsistent one. A parent who emphasizes only the “show off” skills to impress people with his bright child while neglecting the emotional and social nurturing is creating a self-centered, ticking time bomb.

By concentrating on the extreme cases of physical abuse, we as a nation have handcuffed parents from doing their duty as the first teachers of their children. Frightened, absent or uninvolved parents cannot raise a healthy child.

For their first 18 years our society should expect parents to consider their children as one of their top priorities. In public citizens should compliment parents when they have well behaved children. Appropriate discipline of a rude child should receive a smile of approval instead of a frown of disapproval. A conscientious parent is a blessing to the children and to our nation.

Parents need to feel free to do all the things necessary to do their job. Kissing and spanking are natural practices of nurturing. We should not stigmatize these acts as potentially physical or sexual abuse or we suffer the consequences of parental non-involvement.

“Do gooders” in government and the media should step aside and leave parenting to parents. The family has proven to be the best social unit in producing healthy children. Parents need to be appreciated for all the sacrifices they make for their children not treated like perennial child abuse suspects.

Truly abusive parents stick out like a sore thumb and should be prosecuted by law enforcement not by overzealous “remake the world” social workers. Modern parents need to stop thinking about how they may appear abusive to “busy body know-it-alls” and act in the best interest of their child.

Dr. Maglio is the author of Invasion Within and Essential Parenting. He is a psychotherapist and the owner/director of Wider Horizons School. Visit:



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