Pic­ture this sce­nario: a baby is born in a water bath (a warm hot tub) sur­round­ed by friends of the par­ents and the pater­nal grandparents. 

Moth­er nurs­es her baby and takes some time away from her full time med­ical stud­ies to ini­tial­ly care for her child.

The child is still nurs­ing at a year but the par­ents (in the 30 to 40-some­thing age group) decide that in order for the moth­er to seri­ous­ly con­tin­ue her stud­ies to become a natur­o­path­ic doc­tor (no less!) and the father to work, the child must go into full time care. As with many peo­ple new to an area, they don’t know a kind­ly fam­i­ly who could take in their 1 year old and so they opt for a cer­ti­fied day care centre.

Around the time she’s 2 years old that cen­tre clos­es (where is the con­ti­nu­ity of care?) and a new one is found.

That same sum­mer, short­ly after the day­care change, the fam­i­ly takes a sev­er­al day hol­i­day to vis­it an aunt – the dri­ve is 6 hours each way.

With­in a month the tod­dler flies for 3–4 hours (maybe longer) with her moth­er to vis­it her mater­nal grand­moth­er and spouse for sev­er­al days. It tran­spires that the spouse in some way made the child appre­hen­sive of men.

With­in the next cou­ple of weeks the child flies a sim­i­lar dis­tance with her father to vis­it the pater­nal grand­par­ents. Accord­ing to reports “she had 10 tem­per tantrums in the first day”. 

Wow, who did not under­stand this child?

She would not go to her pater­nal grand­fa­ther with whom she had pre­vi­ous­ly been com­fort­able, but in her own home. She lift­ed her pater­nal grand­moth­er’s shirt. Her father wouldn’t allow her to blow bub­bles because “it will take 45 min­utes because she doesn’t want to stop”.

After an exhaust­ing vis­it and after she returned home it tran­spired that the child wasn’t yet weaned from breast­feed­ing!! (That’s why she lift­ed her grandmother’s shirt — any long term nurs­ing moth­er knows that scenario!)

What about this child’s com­fort did no one under­stand? She has sim­ply become a ‘family pawn’. All the grand­par­ents are so des­per­ate to see the child I sug­gest that they buy the air­line tick­ets so as not to allow the par­ents to refuse the invi­ta­tion to visit.

Chil­dren will have tem­per trantrums – that’s when they real­ize that they are pawns in the game of ‘fam­i­ly’. It is uncon­scionable of the par­ents to allow the child to trav­el with­out her moth­er while she’s still breast­feed­ing. It amounts to parental use of the child. Did the moth­er think she could force her child to wean?

This is child neglect – it’s just a form we’ve come to accept.

Trust me, chil­dren who are well tak­en care of rarely have tem­per tantrums. The least cared for chil­dren have the most tantrums and the tantrums go on until a child is 4 or 5 years old, maybe longer!!

Par­ent­ing IS a com­pro­mise. How­ev­er, it should be a com­pro­mise on the part of the par­ents NOT ON THE PART OF THE CHILD!

Please don’t have chil­dren if you need to fol­low a career. Your chil­dren will nev­er quite reach their max­i­mum poten­tial when they are infants and tod­dlers nor as adults. There is a ‘hold back’ effect caused by mediocre care.

Such chil­dren are fre­quent­ly ‘health chal­lenged’, ‘socially chal­lenged’, often ‘developmentally chal­lenged’ or ‘cognitively challenged’.

I have expe­ri­enced the ‘health chal­lenged’ first hand and to some extent the ‘socially chal­lenged’. I under­stand the child rear­ing mis­takes I made and have observed those made by oth­ers and have endeav­oured to cor­rect those that are cor­rectable when­ev­er possible. 

None of us is per­fect in our par­ent­ing – it’s a learn­ing expe­ri­ence all along the line. But there are some ways of par­ent­ing that are more ben­e­fi­cial to a child than others.

We all need to keep on learning.

Child neglect is a crim­i­nal act even when the gen­er­al pub­lic doesn’t see the obvi­ous signs.