Friday, December 5, 2008

Child Abuse and Murder: Spare The Rod And Spoil The Child?

Answer: The exact opposite is true.

The San Francisco Chronicle and recently reported the tragic story of an abused teenager who was shackled and repeatedly beaten in Tracy, California before he escaped. The woman charged with his kidnapping and torture admitted she beat the boy, partly because she had been told that was how to discipline him.

The misguided notion of beating weakness out of a child has Germanic roots going back to before Hitler was born, which Swiss psychotherapist Alice Miller explored in an article published in the Journal of Psychohistory 1998. One could say the misguided child rearing techniques espoused by Dr. Daniel Gottlieb Moritz Schreber were partly to blame for World War II.

We can all thank Dr. Benjamin Spock from saving the world from more victims of child abuse. Although he specialized in pediatrics, he studied psychoanalysis for six years which made him the only practicing pediatrician of his time with that combination of training. In 1946 his book The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care was first published by Pocket Books for 25 cents (Pocket Books is also the publisher of Cause of Death: A Perfect Little Guide To What Kills Us) and included the ground-breaking notion that holding and showing affection to children would not only make them happier it would make them feel more secure.

The opposite effect of a happy childhood is exposed in the excellent book Base Instincts - What Makes Killers Kill? In it Dr. Jonathan H. Pincus, M.D. points out "it is the interaction of childhood abuse with neurologic disturbances and psychiatric illnesses that explains murder." In the 150 murderers Dr. Pincus observed, 94% had experienced severe physical and sexual abuse as children.

If not for Spock, and other more recent good writers on better child rearing techniques, we might be experiencing a lot more murders in the U.S. than the 18,124 homicide deaths in 2005. Perhaps a good book on child rearing might be the perfect gift for anyone expecting a new baby in the New Year. Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Face It. We Can Go Anytime. But In So Many Different Ways!

Cause of Death is a great reference tool for writers, entomologists (some insects kill a lot of people) and anyone interested in health and death-related information. After all, we will all bite the dust, check out, buy the farm and kick the bucket but where we live, our sex, race, age, genetics and habits will ensure we will exit in our own unique way.

I can see this book being useful for people creating fiction where they need somebody to die, and fast.” - Cause of Death book review 'Where To Find Ingredients For Your Next Death Scene'

Death By Numbers

A Book In the Hand