There have been a number of news stories concerning children over the last two weeks. They are all separate yet underneath is a theme which ties them all together.
A 20-month-old girl died after sustaining critical injuries whilst she was under the care of the state. The child had been placed in foster care with relatives. Two separate inquiries will be conducted.
A man in his 60’s was fined $1000 – for slapping a child. He pleaded guilty. The eight-year-old child and other children had allegedly been repeatedly ringing the man’s doorbell and then running away. The man chased the boy, and after slapping him took him home to his mother and explained the whole situation.
A man in Queensland is being prosecuted for, wait for it, leaving his nine year old son alone at home for half an hour. The “offence” came to light when the boy walked down the road to join his father and in doing so was “picked up” by police’.
A researcher at Murdoch University claims that between six and ten percent of children could have Oppositional Defiance Disorder. To his credit he adds the “condition” is not a serious mental health problem.
Let me be blunt. Children not doing as they are told is not a medical condition.
Meanwhile each week there is hand wringing from all the usual suspects about out of control parties involving young people who have no respect for authority.
What is the common thread in all this? We have lost any sense or proportion and have lost the capacity to discriminate which is defined as “ to note or observe a difference and distinguish accurately: to note or distinguish as different”.
The lunatics are in charge of the asylum when it comes to policy making. This applies in a number of areas but is particularly stark in child health and welfare. In their politically correct fear of offending anyone or any group, all offences become equalized.
Hence rather than “discriminate” against people who abuse children, in a way that can even lead to death, any small “slap” (and I am not saying what was done was correct) is treated the same as genuine child abuse.
In the same way a parent who leaves a nine-year-old child alone for half an hour is prosecuted for child neglect so that those who are actually leaving children unattended for extended periods whilst they may gamble or drink are not made to feel “discriminated against”.
Rather than acknowledge that some parents are not adequately bringing up their children, the children get the label of Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Much easier to give the child a medical label than “discriminate” against parents who, for whatever reason, are not mastering the task.
With so much focus on the wrong areas it is perhaps not surprising that real problems are not managed. And where parents may need help this is bypassed by labeling the child with a condition. Whilst this serves to not “blame” the parents it also means the real problem is not addressed.
But it gets worse. By wasting resources and casting the net far and wide agencies can then claim that there is a crisis and that they need more funding to deal with it. So more money is wasted in the wrong areas.
There is another aspect to this too. And that is the tendency for everything to be dealt with legally because to take a moral stance may be seen as discriminatory.
Instead of the eight-year-old child being told that he had done the wrong thing and that both the man and the boy should apologize to each other, the matter goes to court.
One wonders if some of those holding disruptive parties or getting into fights on the streets were brought up to believe they were “untouchable” and their behavior was OK regardless?
There is such a thing as right and wrong. The more we hide behind legalities rather than apply the moral (note not religious) standards to community behavior, the worse things will get.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.
He has self-published two books: Dr Joe’s DIY Health and 60 Minutes To Better Health.
Through all this he continues to see patients as a GP each week.