Wednesday, September 09, 2015

society depends upon competent parents


pbs |  Even though appearing to decrease somewhat recently, violence and crime have reduced public safety in the United States to an unacceptable level. The rising rates of juvenile violence and crime portend greater social problems in the future. 

The past focus on socioeconomic, racial, educational, and biological factors that contribute to violence and crime has obscured the most important element - parenting. The main source of these social problems is the cycle of child abuse and neglect that results when parenting fails. Incompetent (defined in legal terms as unfit) parenting is the most important factor in those adult outcomes. Competent parenting protects even biologically vulnerable and socioeconomically disadvantaged children from those outcomes. 

Because of the high financial and social costs of dealing with adult and juvenile violence and crime, in 1991 the National Commission on Children, appointed by Congress and by the president, urged a change in focus to preventive interventions during early life. 

By far most children who live in poverty, who come from broken homes, who receive welfare, who have been abused, or who have criminal relatives do not become habitual criminals or welfare dependent. When any of these factors converge with parental abuse and neglect, however, one of two or three of these children is destined for criminality or welfare dependency. Some are handicapped by brain damage resulting from maternal drug abuse and alcoholism and inadequate prenatal care. All do not learn from their parents the values and personal skills necessary for effective education and for productive employment. These dangerous and dependent persons are increasing in numbers to further drain public funds and to erode the productivity of our workforce.