Protecting Children From Their Parents

People who feel at a loss with how to raise children should look to the past, and what worked for most of human history.  Parents frequently have not been primary care providers for children, except right after birth, because parents were the able bodied adults whose work supported the group.  The elders, who no longer were capable of the firewood gathering, or water carrying, oversaw the care of the young, with the assistance of the older children.  Great-grandmothers watched the children, sang songs with them, played games with them, aunts and uncles would listen to stories, watch somebody do cartwheels over and over, and whatever it took to make the children feel good.  Only in the most recent past have parents been closely involved with the raising of the children, as the family has disintegrated.

The family has broken down, so that parents are faced with raising their children without any help.  People have children when they themselves are still immature; learning, seeking, and growing.  We can berate them for that, punish them and the children by forcing the parents to care for them, or we can combine assisted living centers with day care, sponsor placing seniors in family groups spanning several generations, and extend school hours to provide an alternative to being home alone.  Young children bond with elderly people very easily, and often are anxious to help an obviously frail individual.  Combined with a few older children, and a teen or two, an elder can manage several children.

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