A Conversation for Children as Animals - Origins of Anti-Cruelty Laws

Thank you

Post 1

Mirror

I just wanted to say thank you for a very interesting topic.


Thank you

Post 2

David Conway

You're welcome. I think it's an interesting bit of history, and more than a little sad. The bits of history that they don't teach in schools are always the most interesting bits.

NBY


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Post 3

coelacanth

A fascinating entry. Thank you.
I'm glad you included details about Mary's adulthood and the fact that she became a wife and mother. A happy ending to a sad beginning in life.
smiley - bluefish


Thank you

Post 4

David Conway

Welcome.

It would have been downright cruel of me not to include Mary's happy ending, since there was one. This entry was about stopping cruelty, so I figured I shouldn't do some.

Besides, I spent my childhood where she spent her adulthood.

NBY


Thank you

Post 5

Mirror

If only history had been taught in little sketches of humanity like your posting, I may have enjoyed it instead of being bored to death! You would make a good teacher, I think.

Certainly, a sad story, but as others have said, with an amazing and happy ending. What worries me, rather, is feeling that similar stories are still being enacted behind closed doors. Since we are becoming isolationist and not interfering anymore, like Margaret Bingham the landlady in Mary Ellen's case, perhaps more children are suffering similar fates.

Unfortunately, here in the UK we have had a spate of children being tortured, usually, but not always, by a non-related person, even the social services are seemingly unable to prevent this sort of thing.


Thank you

Post 6

David Conway

Sigh...

I'm afraid that sort of thing is a daily occurance, and not just in the UK or just in the US. Social Services simply doesn't have the personnel to handle it.

IMHO, what's needed is more people willing to be nosey neighbors when it looks/sounds like there might be a problem and more people willing to make a scene in public places when it's appropriate.

If it does nothing else, loudly telling off an adult who's mistreating a child in the supermarket will at least result in the child knowing that SOMEBODY is on his/her side.

Sometimes, in situations where a parent or guardian is simply reacting to a situation emotionally (and not a determined/long term abuser like the dear Ms. McCormack), pointing out that the kid is tired, hungry and two years old, then asking the adult what his or her excuse is, makes said adult actually stop and think.

NBY - stepping off the soapbox for now


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Post 7

Party like it's 1999 (late of Summerisle)

On the other hand, there are malicious old neighbours that make up things to report to social services.


This was a fantastic entry, I loved it.


Thank you

Post 8

JanetPlanet

I am interested by what you say about telling off an adult who is mistreating a child in a supermarket. I have always wanted to do this, but I am worried that by challenging and embarrassing the adult in this way I might make them even more angry and they will take it out on the child. Simply that my intervention might cause more suffering to the child.


Thank you

Post 9

David Conway

Mina,

Yes there are malicious old neighbours that make up things to report to social services. That's the problem - no absolutes. If child protection agencies had the funding and the personnel to actually investigate complaints, and complaintants, in a timely manner and then file appropriate charges of abuse/neglect or filing a false report, we'd start to have something approaching justice. The average person isn't willing to pay the taxes or make the charitable contributions that would allow that to happen, though. It seems like the best we can do with underfunded, understaffed agencies is applaud when they get someting right and fight them when they get something wrong. Or volunteer some time to help them get it right.

Glad you liked then entry. Thanks for taking the time to say so.

NBU


Thank you

Post 10

David Conway

Janet,

Some level of judgement is always called for. The problem is still that there are no absolutes. I think it depends on how a particular situation "feels."

Some people will end up taking out their embarassment on the child, making it worse for that child as soon as they're in private. Those are the type of people who blame the child for their own lack of control. "Now look what you made me do!" "Because of YOU, I was humiliated in there!" They're already in the pattern of abuse. Those are the people who will escalate anyhow, for any reason. Those are the kids who know that they'll be in trouble no matter what and who gain something by knowing that someone was on their side, just once. Unless the parent *really* loses it, in which case far more harm than good will have been done. No absolutes. sigh... Luckily, the vast majority of parents don't fall into this category.

At the other extreme, there's the normally kind and loving parent who has had a really rough day, followed by the babysitter cancelling at the last minute. The parent is tired and on edge anyhow. The child is tired and is picking up parent's tension. The parent starts snapping at the child. In that situation, reminding the parent which one is the adult can actually be very constructive. In my earlier post I talked about loudly calling the parent on his/her behavior. Sometimes a reasoned approach is far moe effective, especially if it's obvious that the parent is on the back end of a bad day. Again, no absolutes.

Sometimes, I wish there were.

NBY


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