Sunday, February 11, 2007

When parents go wrong

Who in their right mind would knock their child unconscious, in the middle of the night, then wrap the body in a blanket and leave the toddler, still breathing, in a snow-filled playground in below freezing temps? It's hard to believe that this could actually happen; that a parent, entrusted with the love and safekeeping of their flesh and blood, could be capable of such an horrific act, and yet this was the fate of Nyia Miangel Page. Not yet 2 years old, Nyia's tiny body was found frozen to death, wearing only a diaper and sweater, approximately 10 minutes from her home in Pittsburgh, PA last Sunday. Her 23 year old father, William Lorenzo Page, was arrested Wednesday and charged with criminal homicide, along with several other charges including sexual abuse of another child prior to Nyia's death. From the small footprints in the snow, authorities determined that the baby girl must have wandered for a while, before succumbing to hypothermia. The temperature at that time was approximately 2 degrees F.

The reason for the little girl's death: refusing to go back to bed.

There is something drastically wrong with our society when parents kill their own for no reason, and yet it happens all the time. Parentsbehavingbadly blog catalogues the numerous cases of extreme child abuse that occur with all too great a frequency all around the world. I'm not talking about a good spanking that errant children sometimes need to correct behavioral problems. Nothing wrong with that. I'm talking about forcing a child with cerebral palsy to eat their own feces, which Kimberley Harte, 23 and Samuel Duncan, 26, of London, England did. They also kicked her, poured boiling water over her hands and ripped out her hair, among other things. Or throwing a child against the wall because he won't stop crying or beating a child to death because they threw up in bed after a nap. The reasons are endless and totally unjustifiable.

When you take it upon yourself to have children you should know that there are certain responsibilities that come with parenthood, and if you are unwilling to take the good with the bad (i.e. the crankiness and everything else that comes with childhood) then you have absolutely NO business giving birth. Too many children are having children which seems to increase the chances of child abuse. They are usually ill equipped emotionally and mentally to be parents and oftentimes resent having to take care of a child, resulting in anger and frustration, which the child is then the unfortunate recipient of. Most perpetrators are under 30, which is quite telling.

This is probably going to be an unpopular notion, but I think that anyone who wants to have children, like marriage, should have to apply for a license and take mandatory parenting classes. In fact, it should be a subject all schoolchildren should have to take, to prep them for the realities of parenthood. And if someone shows a propensity for anger, they should definitely have to take anger management classes before becoming a parent.

Not every one is able to have children. I know of so many deserving people who have tried, but to no avail. Parenthood is a gift. Choose that gift, if it is bestowed upon you, wisely.

Rest in peace, Nyia.


Purist said...

It's an idea for potential parents to apply for licences to have kids, but not practical.

Drawing up guidelines by which people would be judged would be neigh on impossible. Would ex-junkies be allowed them? People holding criminal records? Reformed psychos?

Although I like the idea, I think that perhaps having a state run organisation that would judge us on our abilities to be good parents, would be taking away far too many of our human rights, and perhaps also be messing with nature/evolution. It's also very difficult to judge how being a parent can change a person - surely someone's capacity to love a future child would be extrememly difficult to measure?

Not having a licence wouldn't stop those who want to from having kids.

Good parenting should be taught in schools and in the home, I don't see where else it can be forcefully taught.

I think the Nazis brought in a form parental selection in the early 1940's.

Papa J said...

You know, rather than try and limit what people can do. We should make certain offences have parents labeled unfit parents and have their rights to their children severed. Currently crack junkies can keep having children while their children spend years in foster care before any judge will ever feel compelled to act. If it were statutory, then both parents addicted would equal unfit, and then those children could be spared the kind of fate you described.

Removing freedoms would only punish good people who seek to obey the law.

Incognito said...

I know, Lambent, I actually agree with you. It *is* highly impractical and *would* be an infringement on human rights (smacks a little like the Chinese restrictions on 1 child per family issue, no?).
You are right, there is no way to determine how a parent will react, after birth: just as someone might turn on their children, there are others who are changed by childbirth.
And yes, absolutely, parenting should be taught in schools and at home, but unfortunately isn't. Maybe a parenting class should be recommended along with all those LaMaze classes etc.

It's just that reading stories like this make's one cringe. And there are far too many like it.

Incognito said...

Good idea Papa J, but unfortunately laws don't seem to help. Unfortunately, the government's Children's Services agencies are understaffed and so very often abused children are returned to their biological parents. And within a short time are re-abused and often killed. How many times do we read about those stories in the papers.

Lutheran Enigma said...

It is truly a sad commentary on mankind that those who are most vulnerable among us suffer great harm. But state licensing of parenting is not the answer. Among state-trained child raising experts, there is this litany ‘spanking, hitting, child-abuse.’ They cannot seem to distinguish between appropriate discipline and inappropriate discipline.

This is not an isolated parental issue, but a societal issue. Those who harm others should be punished, whether they are harming their own children or strangers.

Why are certain people willing to do bad things to others or go into blind rages?...because they know the judicial system will treat them softly; and they will claim to be victims of society. If people knew they would actually be punished for criminal behavior, many people would think twice before engaging in criminal activity.

PS - I came across your blog by using the ‘next blog’ button and have since bookmarked it.

Bert Bananas said...

"When you take it upon yourself to have children..."

This is where I think you went wrong in thinking about this issue. What would you say the percentage is of planned first children among Americans? My wife and I were 'living the life' when her BC pills failed her. We talked about abortion, but were too lazy to see it through, so we just had the baby. Our parents, and society, had imprinted us sufficiently to be good parents. We didn't 'take it upon ourselves' to have the kid.

Right now, thanks to babies being worth money in our welfare system, unprepared mothers, and occasionally the fathers, who don't much stick around, bring babies into the world who are going to be "lost."

Dying out in the snow on a freezing night is newsworthy. What about the barely reported gangbangers who shoot each other deader than door nails? What about the drug over-dosers? What about the alcoholics? What about the lost souls with no marketable skills who stumble through very miserable lives?

While I see the problems, I don't see any solutions. But I don't stress about it. Because I sincerely believe that humans aren't anything special and we certainly aren't endangered.

Callous? You bet.

Incognito said...

Welcome, Lutheran, there are probably many posts you will disagree with me on, but constructive, civil comments are always welcome.

I know State Licensing,would be impractical, (as I mentioned above) but something definitely needs to be done to protect the children. As long as they are mandating vaccinations to prevent sexually trasnsmitted cervical cancer (which I find totally inappropriate for elementary school children!) they should be able to mandate some kind of curriculum to teach children the responsibilities that go with raising a child. If they can't get it at home, perhaps they can at school.

And I agree that anyone who harms another should be punished accordingly, and that our judicial system is too soft. But don't you think that if people knew they would be punished for their criminal behaviour, the same could be applied to children? If they knew what the responsibilites of parenthood were, they might be more hesitant in engaging in sexual activity before they are ready to?

Incognito said...

Thanks Bert, for telling it like Bert thinks. And I don't mean that disparagingly, truly.

I think situations like yours are anomalies, though I will admit it does happen. I have a few, from all my friends, who had unplanned pregnancies. Most of them with their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. Only one who had not planned on having children, who had one late in life. That child is now the center of their universe. All the other couples are wonderful, loving parents. As for your child,and the fact that he/she came into this world, in spite of birth control pills, proves that his/her Soul was meant to incarnate into this world. I know you don't believe any of this, but it's interesting. I'm sure your child is very special.

And you are probably right, most unwed mothers probably did not plan on the child, and the welfare system, thanks to the Dems, does seem to increase the likelihood of "lost" babies, as you put it. Perhaps if there wasn't such a monetary incentive, people would be a little more careful.

And yes, though sad, the difference between the gangbangers, the drug overdosers, the alcoholics etc is that *they* had a choice. We all have choices to make in life. There are consequences for our actions, good and bad. The poor 2 year old had no choice in the matter.

I still have hope, that through individual acts, change can occur.

MUD said...

In our local school, there are parenting classes and in some cases, the students have a "baby" that requires the same care as a real baby.
My wonder is why people do drugs and alcohol to the exclusion of everything else. Why do we have people that are so out of the loop that they feel they can't do better? Perhaps the Muslims have it somewhat right and are offended when we are so bad we kill our own children. Nah, it is just our system to remain free has to have some allowances and people just do stupid things. MUD

Incognito said...

That's great to hear MUD. Do all schools have these classes?

The world is a mess, so people do drugs and alcohol to escape, though all it does is exacerbate their feelings of hopelessness.
And some Muslims kill their own by encouraging them to sacrifice themselves as suicide bombers, so no they don't have it right.