Monday, August 10, 2009

Here's an interesting, new way to view history

from the point of view of child-rearing methods. Here's a bit from the first article "The History of Child Abuse":
Indeed, my conclusion from a lifetime of psychohistorical study of childhood and society is that the history of humanity is founded upon the abuse of children. Just as family therapists today find that child abuse often functions to hold families together as a way of solving their emotional problems, so, too, the routine assault of children has been society's most effective way of maintaining its collective emotional homeostasis. Most historical families once practiced infanticide, erotic beating and incest. Most states sacrificed and mutilated their children to relieve the guilt of adults. Even today, we continue to arrange the daily killing, maiming, molestation and starvation of children through our social, military and economic activities. I would like to summarize here some of the evidence I have found as to why child abuse has been humanity's most powerful and most successful ritual, why it has been the cause of war and social violence, and why the eradication of child abuse and neglect is the most important social task we face today.

It's quite a disturbing article so I hope Dr. deMause doesn't mind if I summarize the historical development here, with help from this guy.
From Prehistory to the spread of Christianity deMause theorizes we have the Infanticidal phase.
From, say AD 300 to 1300 there is the Abandoning phase;
C. 1300 to c. 1700, the Ambivalent phase;
C. 1700 to c. 1850, the Intrusive phase;
1850-1950, the Socializing phase;
1950-the present, the Helping phase.

The dates apply in European history only.
I'm the one calling them phases because I'm a weeny. DeMause's term is "psychoclasses." The good thing about that term is that it doesn't imply that the the timeline is absolute. All later phases are infected with remnants of all earlier phases, however large or small.

Indeed, I'd have to say that most parents, especially if they fetishize ancient religious texts, are mish-mashes of most of them, but having not studied more than this few that I've already quoted (and linked), I won't presume to speculate further.


LibertyBob said...

I agree completely. Many of the problematic people I encounter these days weren't beaten adequately as children.

Al said...

Didn't C.S. Lewis write a book about you?

The probligo said...


Al, I think it might have been Lewis Carroll rather than CSL.

I (We) made sure that our kids learned about consequences. As long as it works both ways (good action = good consequence as well as bad action = bad consequence) it works well.

There is an element of balance here that seems to have been lost amonst the mirrors and smoke. People who are strongly against physical punishment seem to delight in the application of mental and psychological punishment in its place. Most particular is the practice of withdrawing contact with the child - "I don't have anything to do with you." and "You are on your own". But I need to stop before I get to ranting level...

As long as the bruises can't be seen, everything is all right.

Al said...

My mother's rule was, you don't leave a welt - or any other mark - that lasts more than an hour. Withdrawal is stage two.

Btw, LB, I did smile when I said that. The pleasing thing to me about deMause's schema (I should look up that word) is that it shows a steady and natural improvement of morals, although he also has a couple horrifying examples of things that have stunted civilizational growth. Well, I'll just tell you what they were: footbinding and female "circumcision."

Screw up the mom's and you screw up everything.

Starsplash said...

Maybe your right Al. In fact you may be so right the Government will be doing this with the health care bill.

From Chuck Norris article In town Hall .com which I found at the Rush Lindaugh site.

The qupte from the bill is as follows.

"Dirty secret No. 1 in Obamacare is about the government coming into homes and usurping parental rights over child care development. It's outlined in passages like Section 440 and Section 1904 of the House bill (page 838) under the heading: 'Home visitation programs for families with young children and families expecting children,' which would provide (via grants to states) for home visitation programs to educate parents on child behavior and parenting skills. ... The bill says that the government agents, the 'well-trained and competent staff,' will 'provide parents with knowledge of age-appropriate child development in cognitive language, social, emotional and motor domains ... modeling, consulting, and coaching on parenting practices, skills to interact with their child to enhance age-appropriate development.'" All that is in quotes from the bill.

MWHAHAHAHAHAHA! Glad I don't have kids today. But you do.

Al said...

If it even gets off the ground, it'll be a government program, so it won't work. It'll suck for anyone who gives the impression that they'll put up with it, but they won't mess with anyone with a spine. Tax evaders are the only people the government must crush.

The probligo said...

Has anyone recognised that "parent training" might just be necessary?

Not to say that the Health Bill is the way to do it at all. But I can recall (some 37 years ago now) attending antenatal classes with my wife when she was expecting our first.

There were three evenings where it was "expected" (not compulsory) for fathers to attend. They covered the birth process, how to wash a baby and change diapers, and nutrition.

That was my first, and about only, training as a father.

Anyone doing better than that?

Point is, that in years gone by children learned parenting skills usually as teenagers through caring for younger siblings, and younger children from the wider family.

These days, parents are required (through economic pressures alone) to choose between "proper" parenting and "proxy" parenting so that two incomes can be maintained.

In NZ we have a public service known as CYFS which is responsible for "rescuing" abused and mistreated children from their parents and "farming" them out. I am of two minds about this; it should not be necessary, but it sounds much the same as what is being proposed.

If this is the case, consider the public outrage when a two year old is literally beaten to death by parents who are completely unable to cope with the stresses of a fourth or fifth child, are unable to afford medical help for ailments as simple as croup or glue ear let alone maternal depression, are probably unable to afford adequate food and clothing for the family.

Yeah, just tell them to get a job, eh!

Al said...

Considering our current situation a program such as you sketch, assuming it does work as advertised - I've heard horror stories about the Foster Family program here - would be a great boon to humanity. In ways we don't expect. Well, I have my suspicions, actually, and I look forward to a world "dominated" by well-adjusted, mature, non-powerlusting people.

Starsplash said...

Weee can't afford it.

Al said...

Hence it belongs to the free market to do it. It's a business opportunity - the guy who figures out how to get paid for it will be rich.

Starsplash said...

The Horror stories you heard of in minnisnota have happened and are happening all over the U.S.. For some God Damned reason the colledge educated social workers cannot tel who would be a good foster parent and who would be nightmares and we don't have enough money to put into the deep background checks to find out. Not to mention the intrusive nature of deep background checks. The free marketeers would also like to become the new God. As it currently stands the current system is ultmatly killing kids or ruining them so badly that they become the next generation of criminals.

Weee don't have the money.

Al said...

God is the Invisible Hand.

Starsplash said...

Amazing isn't it.

LibertyBob said...

We just need to expand JROTC to early childhood. What a wonderful way to provide health care, proper nutrition, exercise, civics lessons, and indoctrination.