A few years ago I dealt with a client who accidentally reversed his car over his two year old son. He was absolutely distraught at having done this and suffered a breakdown as a result of this tragedy. As far as I know, his marriage did not survive this tragedy either.
Last week, in an affluent suburb here in Cape Town, a dad reversed down the driveway of their home and accidentally drove over his 14 month old son. The little boy died on the scene in spite of efforts to revive him.
This morning I read an article in one of our local newspapers of an incident on a nearby farm where a three year old boy ended up under the wheels of the family trailer while it was moving “nobody saw what happened but it is assumed that he stumbled and fell landing under the wheels as the trailer started moving”.
These are but three incidents in focus right now. Yes, I know no parent will deliberately drive over their child but I really have to question the parenting skills of these parents.
Surely if your child is not in the vehicle with you, you will first check where they are? Will you not get out of your vehicle, check the parameter around the vehicle and then go back into the house to make sure the child is safely inside the house before you even turn the key in the ignition of the vehicle? Would this not be the logical thing to do?
I am not a parent. I have never had children of my own but I come from a family environment where I am the eldest grandchild (on my dad’s side) and watched (and helped with) many of my younger cousins being raised by my grandmother. I also have a sister who is fourteen years younger than I am which means that I was very “hands on” in taking care of her while she was growing up. I learned from a very early age how unpredictable little ones are. For goodness sake – even seven year olds can be unpredictable. They have no sense of danger and can often be mesmerized by something taking their attention off their surroundings.
One source says: The negligent parents are relatively unhealthy and in their mental and psychological disposition. They cannot forget their painful past and are going through some current pains struggling to survive. The negligent parents are problematic and could not take care of themselves. They live a hand to mouth existence. Many of them are failures in making a decent living. Some may even involve in petty crimes. As a result, they are bad providers and often deprived the physiological, safety and emotional needs of their children.
In all my examples mentioned in the beginning of this post, two sets of parents are from “middle-class”/”middle-income” homes and the one from an “affluent home” which definitely does not tie in with the description of negligent parents mentioned here.
So what would you say? Negligent or careless?
We have also had incidents over the last number of years where children between the ages of two to five years have been found raped and murdered. When reading the details of these cases you will find that the child went missing while walking from their home to their grandparents (or other parent) home – ALONE!!! No adult to accompany them.
How on earth do you let a two, three, four or five year old walk out of your house, out of the front gate, into the street alone? I don’t care whether the granny/aunty/parent lives next door or not. How do you send a five year old child to the shop alone without an adult to accompany the child?
Why do we (as a society) feel obliged to have children? Society dictates that in order to be “whole/complete” we MUST get married. After marriage we MUST have a child – then, we can’t just have one child we MUST have at least two children.
When it comes to taking care of our child/children, the very same society leaves us to fend for ourselves. Where are all those people who make sure they tell us we “HAVE TO” get married and we “HAVE TO” have children?
“It takes a village to raise a child”
– African Proverb