“The best interest of the child” – it is a phrase thrown around glibly by politicians and media alike when talking about children. It’s nice, fluffy language that sounds good. And it would be good, if they actually meant it. But they don’t.
The liberal left boasts about the motivation of court decisions and proposed laws that are “in the best interest of the child.” This is pitted against the conservative, right-wing notion of “parental rights.” Often it comes down along party lines.
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But it is an artificial construct, intended to divide, and muddy the waters. One does not, and cannot, preclude the other.
Parental rights are in the best interests of the child. Obviously, parental rights do not include the right to beat the heck out of a kid or have sex with them. Nobody has the right to assault or molest another. So, that isn’t what I am talking about.
At the core of every child is the deep desire to be loved and cared for by his or her own biological parents. When that doesn’t happen, for whatever reason – good or bad – the child is left with a hole in their soul.
The expectation of a newborn is the face of the mother. Joseph Chilton Pearce, in the documentary What Babies Want, said that “the child not given that face at birth is an average of three months late in developing.”
Separation of a mother and child is devastating to both. There is long-lasting psychological harm that happens when a child is not with his parents, for whatever reason. A child removed from his parents will often spend the rest of his or her life trying to run from or heal the trauma that happened.
Even a child in less-than-ideal situations is better off than being taken from their home and put into a group home or foster home, because of the emotional harm that arises from the separation. Obviously, if a child is being beaten or molested, then they need to be removed from the danger. But if a child is loved, even by an imperfect parent, the love trumps the imperfection.
However, there are many, many children who are taken away on unsubstantiated accusations, or even as retaliation by an angry ex or physician whose authority was questioned. The current thinking seems to be: take the child away from the parents, then sort it all out later in court. But then the damage is done, and the child may never fully recover.
A child is taken away from the people closest to him, and put into a stranger’s home. Sometimes the foster home is more dangerous than the home she left. Even if the foster parents are wonderful, they still aren’t the people that the child was wired in the womb to attach to. The child goes into survival mode. His body is flooded with hormones that are designed to help him survive a crisis, but the crisis doesn’t go away. Their whole world falls apart, while “the system” uses them for money and an agenda. They miss their family, and they shut down, building up walls, just in order to make it through another day.
And for what? To satisfy an ego? To punish a parent for asking for a second opinion on a medical decision? To make some money for some corrupt authorities?
Parents have the inherent right, and responsibility, to make decisions for the child, regarding education, upbringing, religious and moral training, and health care. No government or entity has the right to usurp that, no matter how big and powerful they think they are. These are fundamental human liberties.
These are parental rights. And they ARE in the best interest of the child. These are not concepts to be pitted against each other. The best interest of the child is for the parents to retain the right to love and parent their own children. If the parents need help, then society should offer help, not take their kids away. We must stand and fight for both concepts to exist together, because the one cannot truly exist without the other.