‘Parent turning’ is an article about a woman with five children, with one infant who is merely a week old and in the opinion of many, she is violating more than a few child laws. She has children running around rampant in an old and run-down apartment with pretty much no clothes on. But to answer the question regarding whether or not she is a child abuser, we would have to investigate what child abuse is essentially defined as. According to the US state law, child abuse can be defined at a minimum as any failure or act committed by a parent or a caregiver which results in the death or serious physical or emotional harm to the child, sexual abuse or any other form of exploitation. And then to differentiate a little between abuse and neglect, the law defines ‘neglect’ as any act or a failure which exposes the child to an imminent risk or serious harm.
And then to clarify things a bit further, child welfare classifies child abuse into a few categories namely physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and abandonment. So in order to establish whether or not physical abuse is taking place under the woman’s watch, we can define this type of abuse as a non-accidental physical injury that is inflicted by the parent, caregiver or by any other person who is responsible for the child’s well-being. In the woman’s home, the children are suffering physical injuries at the hands of one another but not at the hands of the mother and for this reason, it is safe to say that she is not physically abusing the young ones.
Neglect, on the other hand, would be if the mother of five is not able to provide for the children’s food, shelter and clothing and other basic needs. The children may be living in meager conditions and in an environment that exposes them to security risk, but it is because of the scarcity of resources that are at hand rather than from lack of trying. So neglect would also not be something that the five offsprings have to suffer through in their home. Just like so it is safe to conclude that there is also no sexual abuse or abandonment where the five kids are concerned.
We have to be wondering why if there is no sexual abuse, did the author give the impression that the children were at risk. Despite no signs of alarm upon their visit to the home of these six people, there were a few living conditions that raised a question mark regarding the children’s well-being. Like for one, they were running around the house with nothing on except for socks and shoes, and they were also engaging one another in fist fights and were hurting one another. Then there was the matter of sleeping arrangements. There was only a single mattress which all four kids slept in. One of the few pieces of furniture which was the baby’s crib was given to the family by the hospital. The apartment had not only the four children running around, but they were also joined by a small army of mice that paraded the halls.
Looking for the explanation for all of these conditions, we can simply find the answers by paying a little bit of attention. The children didn’t wear clothes, yes but in the middle of feeding them, having them run around the apartment and the mice chewing on their clothes, it seemed quite a bit of a challenge. As for the single mattress, it was what the family could afford and as the mother pointed out, the children were happy sleeping on it. And seeing how they were occupying a vacant building, the mice completely make sense. So to answer the question, No! The children were not victims of child abuse.
List of References
Child welfare Information Gateway. (2013, July). What are Child abuse and neglect? Recognizing the signs and symptoms. Retrieved from Child Welfare Information Gateway: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/whatiscan.pdf#page=2&view=How Is Child Abuse and Neglect Defined in Federal Law?
Parent, M. (1996). Parent Turning. In M. Parent, Turning Stones: My days and nights with children at risk (pp. 304-314). New York: Harcourt Brace & Company.