Cruel treatment of children is often justified by outdated parenting advice from the Bible. It is tiresome and insulting to our intelligence to hear people who lived centuries ago being praised as experts on how to raise children. A favorite to be quoted is King Solomon—but a look at history belies any claim of his wisdom and expertise. His son Rehoboam became an even crueler king than his father had been. When his people asked him to lighten the "heavy yoke," which his father had put on them, Rehoboam’s response was that he would make life even harder for them. The revolt against him led to a civil war that lasted until his death. The Jewish kingdom was divided and in the end overrun and conquered. (Read more at: http://www.nospank.net/maurer3.htm) It could not be any clearer how this adult son of a violent father passed on the violence, which he had learned and endured as an innocent child, against innocent others, and how he sowed and reaped nothing but destruction.
Children are the weakest, most malleable and vulnerable human beings. A child’s brain grows dramatically during the first three years of life. If a child is treated with violence, cruelty and neglect during this time, it has lasting and devastating effects on the developmental process of his or her most delicate brain. How unfathomable and unconscionable it is to portray the dangerous beliefs of a long dead abusive monarch as the ultimate wisdom on how to raise children. Have we human beings not grown and changed, developed and learned since the days of Solomon through many new insights, among them important psychological ones? With what religious arrogance and unscrupulous excuses do such people ban Jesus and his insights and wisdom about children from their conscience? It is grossly misleading and untruthful to use the ancient words of a cruel despot to endorse physical violence against children in our day and age—just because these words made it into the Bible. Would any reasonable person follow so blindly and obediently the words of any other despot, much less let him dictate how to raise children in the 21st century?
The truth is that people, who were beaten as children and who never dared to question their parents and the perverted cruelty, which these parents inflicted on them, will use anything to justify their blindness and the obedient, cowardly continuation of their parents' wrong and absurd beliefs and ways. They are still the frightened, obedient children of tyrannical, cruel parents, who do not dare to realize the truth—that abuse begets abuse; that violence against children creates violence and destructiveness against oneself or against innocent others; and that hitting or spanking a child endangers not only his health and well-being, but can also often be a form of sexual abuse that can lead to life-long misery and perversions, above all if inflicted on the child’s exposed behind.
Interested readers can find in Alice Miller's "For Your Own Good" or in Philip J. Jr Greven’s “Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse” useful enlightenment about the dangers, origins and consequences of abusive and cruel parenting practices. I could never die peacefully, as a human being and mother, knowing that I left behind such a horrible legacy of enticing others into inhuman and irresponsible abuses against their own children. Children need love. Love is never about humiliating, abusing and tyrannizing another human being, especially not defenseless, powerless children. Completely and utterly dependent on their parents, they need truthful, respectful guidance to become decent, caring, free human beings with integrity, who can be true to themselves.
© Barbara Rogers; January 2006
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