How Parents Hurt Their Children

I don’t have children, but as a family law lawyer for 22 years I have seen my share of good parenting and disastrous parenting. What I run into is the best and the worst case scenarios.

Thankfully, there are mature parents who can put aside their anger at their spouse and focus on their children’s best interests.

I know separated parents who welcome their estranged spouses into their home to see the children and have no hesitation in continuing with family traditions such as church on Sunday, dinner with grandparents every week, and holiday celebrations, despite their often righteous animosity towards their separated or divorced spouse.

I also see the worst of the worst. Parents who take every opportunity to denigrate their spouse as a parent, usually in front of their children. Parents who alienate their children from their spouse and parents who selfishly abduct their children to ensure their spouse has no relationship with their child.

But bad parenting is not static, it changes over time. A wonderful parenting website called IVillage provides a list of new ways parents are damaging their children.

A few of the most egregious trends include:

1. Mommy and Me Pole Dancing

Fitness experts are always looking for new ways to attract customers. Gyrating around a stripper pole may be wonderful exercise for adults, but when it involves young girls, the obviously inappropriate sexual innuendo is nothing but trouble.

In our sexually precocious society, the last thing young girls need is lessons on how to be sexy and flirtatious, never mind having their mommy promote it.

2. Babies on a Diet

North America, the land of plenty, seems to foster obesity. Childhood obesity is also on an alarming upswing. However, parents have the ability to control their children’s diet. When they abdicate this responsibility by allowing their children to eat anything they want, they are damaging their children.

Recently a couple in Washington State were charged with criminal mistreatment when it was determined their overweight infant had been given laxatives. Their excuse? Their baby had gained an unwanted one pound.

3. Computer-Addicted Parents

In South Korea a couple were arrested after their child died from starvation. Authorities learned the parents spent most of their time on their computers playing a game where ironically, they were raising a virtual child.

While most of the literature focuses on how to prevent your child from becoming computer-addicted, the fact is that many adults spend an inordinate amount of time online.

Another new phenomena is parents who believe that working from home is a boon for their children, when they actually spend the day ignoring their kids, focusing on their online business activities.

Being a parent is the toughest and the most important job you can do. As P.D. James said ” What a child doesn’t receive, he can seldom later give.”

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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