When you are filling your car up at a gas station, and you need to grab an energy drink from the nearby convenient store, do you leave your child in the car or you wake her up and carry her with you? Remember, the temperature is somewhere between 35-38 degrees Celsius.
What about when your child intentionally spills a drink on one of your visitors or openly refuses to obey your commands in front of all your family members? Are you allowed to spank that child, or should you let it slide?
Arguments for light smacks are that mom knows best and it is a deterrent for disobedience and biting. Some parents argue that it never causes any harm to the child or parent. But the reality is that it is a notoriously controversial subject; especially because it’s hard to separate between state-sanctioned spankings and illegal beatings.
Then there are those parents who think it is okay to consent to the marriage of their daughter who is barely 14 years. UNICEF has continuously stated that marrying off minors prevents them from achieving their full potential. Child marriage also hurts the economy and damages both social and economic development. In the end, it only propagates the cycle of poverty between generations.
There are numerous other things that parents do that are plain wrong and outright immoral. As a parent, you are not expected to give alcoholic beverages to your child who has not attained the legal drinking age. If the law states that he or she must be 21, then you have to obey that. Neither are you expected to leave your child under the care of a minor because you need to nip out to the shops. How do you expect an immature child to be competent enough to look after another child?
These are illegal acts that parents commit every day, and while the law is vague on some of these issues, the police always use their discretion in making judgments.
While most parents try their best when raising kids, even the most well-intentioned parents sometimes go overboard with their actions. In fact, a good number of parents commit serious parenting blunders, sometimes without realizing.
While for some parents it’s tough love, for others, it is lack of information, arrogance, or a general failure in parenting. How do you explain old and outdated practices that put the life of a child at risk? Why do some parents withhold customs that are dangerous and completely unacceptable just because those customs have been there for the longest time? The reality is that parents commit many wrongs during their parenting, and most of these wrongs are unlawful.
15. BATHING NEWBORNS WITH BOILING MILK IN INDIA
This bizarre tradition is carried out in some parts of India. Newborns are bathed using boiling milk. The tradition is performed by the baby’s dad in the presence of onlookers. The ritual is executed in Hindu temples while Hindu priests chant sholkas and mantras.
Earthen pots are used to prepare the milk while the womenfolk sing religious sohars and garland the ‘cruel’ father. Once the milk is ready, the dad carries his child and dips his legs into the pot. He then pours the rest of the milk – still hot – onto the child’s body and some on his body.
According to locals, this tradition, commonly referred to as Karaha Pujan, is carried out to impress the gods and to bring blessings to the child.
Fortunately, the Indian government banned the practice because it is not only inhuman but cruel, to say the least. This has not stopped some communities from practicing it. The ritual is still common in parts of Varanasi and Mirzapur districts and is mostly performed on the eve of marriages or before other auspicious occasions.
Around 2009, Hira Bhagat, a Varanasi resident, was arrested by the Varanasi police for performing the act on his six-month nephew in Mili Chak village. The child experienced severe burns and had to be hospitalized after the ritual.
14. BABY TOSSING IN INDIA
In some rural families in India, parents allow their babies to be tossed from as high as 30 feet because it is a tradition. The baby then lands in a stretched bed sheet that is held by a group of people.
Couples participate in the ritual hoping they will be blessed with children, but what is scary is that babies are tossed within two months after delivery with most of them screaming and wailing.
The ritual is popular in the Karnataka and Maharashtra States and can be traced back to some 700 years ago when infant mortality had skyrocketed. During the time, people had not discovered modern medicine, and there were a few places to seek help.
It is believed, according to a legend, that a saint advised community members to build a shrine and drop sick babies from the roof to show they believed in the almighty. Somehow, the legend claims, kids were miraculously held midair in a hammock-like sheet. From then on, the villagers believed that the ritual brought good luck and a long life to a child.
In 2009, a video was widely shared at one of the shrines in Maharashtra, named Baba Umer Dargah. The footage caused a public outrage, and India’s children’s rights body had to intervene. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights investigated the ritual and ordered the community to stop performing it. The commission made it clear that it did not support any superstitious practice.
13. LEAVING A CHILD ALONE IN A PARKED CAR
Some parents assume that their kids are old enough to be left in the car alone.
When you walk into a supermarket for a 7-minute shopping spree and leave your 8-month old daughter sleeping in the back seat, so many things can go wrong. What if there’s an emergency?
The law is vague about this issue, but what is clear in most countries is that it is illegal to leave children in situations that put their lives at risk. In the UK, for example, parents are supposed to “use their judgment” to determine how mature their children are before leaving them alone. In most instances, a parent may be prosecuted if he/she leaves a child unsupervised in a situation that can cause the child harm or injury.
Some states in the US have outlawed this habit. States like Nebraska, Maryland, and Louisiana have banned the practice outright. Other states, for example, Utah, Hawaii, Texas, and Illinois have a time frame for living a kid unattended in an enclosed vehicle. Even states without kids-in-cars laws can still prosecute a parent under child endangerment statutes.
Sadly, several parents ignore this law and occasionally leave their kids unattended inside locked cars.
In 2004, a father in the UK, named Time Haines, found himself in trouble when he parked on Evesham High Street in Worcestershire to dash into a pharmacy, leaving his two-year-old daughter, Islet, alone in the car. Haines was arrested and prosecuted for putting his child’s life in danger, and he had to go through a year-long battle trying to keep his kids who were almost put into care.
In 2014, a US woman, named Shanesha Taylor, also had a brush with the law when she left two young children in a car for a 45-minute interview in Scottsdale, Arizona. The kids were found crying and sweating since the temperatures had risen above 100 degrees. Taylor was sentenced to 18 years probation after she pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse.
It is technically illegal to leave a kid unattended in a car for a few minutes, especially on a hot day. In 2016, a total of 39 children lost their lives in the United States alone. In fact, past research claims that around 800 kids had lost their lives since 1990 when people started keeping track of vehicular heatstroke.
12. ALLOWING UNDERAGE DRINKING
Parents’ argument for underage drinking is that it is the best way to teach kids how to drink responsibly. However, those against this practice argue that it is a path to alcoholism.
Furnishing liquor to underage kids is mostly illegal, but it is a habit that parents continue to encourage. In the US, for example, there have been plenty of cases where parents have allowed their underage kids to take liquor. In the end, those parents have been held responsible for the actions of their inebriated kids.
Underage drinking is a serious problem in the United States.
On June 28, 2014, prominent Raleigh physician, Dr. Charles Matthews and his wife, Kim, hosted a wedding reception where underaged teens had been allowed to drink. When Jonathan Taylor left the event, the 18-year-old slammed his car into a tree and died instantly. Both Charles and his wife were accused of allowing Jonathan and other teens to drink before the fatal accident. They were charged with allowing underage possession and consumption of alcohol and were held responsible for the death of Jonathan.
Even though the Matthews tried to defend themselves, prosecutors found them guilty of allowing the kids to drink openly. Their son, Thomas Matthews, pleaded guilty to underage purchase of alcohol. Thomas had invited Taylor and other friends, and they had driven to a local store to buy a bottle of Jack Daniels before the start of the event.
While most state laws are not strict enough about giving alcohol to minors, a state like New Mexico considers it a felony to give alcohol to a minor.
On March 3, 2017, a couple, Geoffrey and Duanne Boylan, and their 18-year-old daughter, Hannah Boylan, allegedly hosted an underage drinking event at their Michigan home. The police only heard about it after a possible criminal sexual conduct incident.
It was reported that Hannah collected $5 for pizza and alcohol from all the attendees and stocked the basement store with liquor. The party got so lit that the guests went ahead to play drinking games.
11. SMACKING KIDS
This topic has sparked controversy for the longest time. In fact, a national ban on smacking has often gone against the grain of public opinion.
According to a 2013 poll, 3-4 Americans believe spanking is appropriate. While some parents think it is harmless, others believe it is an outdated practice that encourages violence.
In the UK, it is illegal for a parent or carer to smack their child except only when it is executed as a form of ‘reasonable punishment.’ The intensity of the smack and the age of the child should also be taken into account. For example, it is illegal to hit a child to the extent of causing grievous bodily harm – broken teeth, cuts, broken bones, fractures, or multiple bruising.
Parents may assume that they know best and it is the best remedy for biting and serious disobedience, but the law may state otherwise. The practice of smacking is outdated in some countries. In fact, severely beating a child is not only illegal but immoral, for even the most naïve parents.
So far, 43 countries have outlawed spanking, with France being the newest member on that list. It joins countries like Sweden, Iceland, Argentina, Greece, Brazil, and Israel who oppose the practice. In a country like Sweden, the practice was banned in the 70’s, both at home and in school.
In a country like the US, the practice is not entirely illegal, but it needs to be undertaken with some caution. In 2014, Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, was charged for using a small tree to hit his 4-year-old son. Peterson was charged under a Texas statute that illegalized ‘bodily injury’ to a child.
Spanking automatically amounts to child abuse when it can be proven that a parent did it out of anger, cruelty or malice. But this is what happens most of the time. A parent like Adrian Peterson went overboard with his ‘discipline;’ leaving his son with cuts and welts.
10. MARRYING OFF A MINOR
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), more than 700 million women and girls – alive today – got married when they were still kids. Unfortunately, the number is expected to rise to almost 1 billion by 2030, if there is no intervention.
Child marriage is wrong and can affect a child in so many ways. For girls, it can mean the end of education and can lead to serious health problems. In fact, child marriage is a form of human rights violation. Sadly, several countries allow girls to get married under the age of 18 years.
In the US, the law varies, but the preferred legal age, without parental consent, is age 18. In some cases, a girl can be married at age 16, but with the approval of the parent.
In Sudan, the law allows girls to be married at age ten while boys can marry at age 15. Countries like Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea, Yemen, and Gambia have no minimum age restrictions on marriage.
What is worrying is that even despite the fact that most countries have minimum age requirements for marriage, parents still go ahead and marry their kids because they have no respect for the law. The problem has been further propagated by the refugee crisis.
In a country like Syria, child marriage existed even before the civil war. Syria has a legal marrying age of 17 for girls and 18 for boys. Sadly, boys and girls are getting married at age 15 because their parents have approved.
Afghanistan is another culprit. While the minimum age is 18 for boys and 15-16 for girls, local observers continue to report widespread early marriages. The case is the same in Albania.
In June 2017, the state of Texas passed a law that makes it illegal to marry under 18 years. This made Texas and Virginia the only two states that forbid marriage for kids under the age of 18. In the US, loopholes in state laws have made it easier for parents to marry off minors. In 2014 alone, some 57,800 children aged between 15-17 were married in the United States, most of them against their will.
Child marriage is shockingly common in the United States.
Lyndsy Duet’s case was just one example. Lyndsy’s parents forced her to get engaged to her r*pist at only 17 years. The man abused Lyndsy for eight good years before she broke free. According to UNICEF, marrying girls who are underage can cause them tp stop schooling and makes them vulnerable to domestic violence. In a nutshell, child marriage prevents a child from achieving his/her full potential. It can affect a youngster’s health, education, and mostly impairs the ability to be self-sufficient.
9. DRIVING DRUNK WITH KIDS
On July 26, 2009, Diane Schuler was high when she drove the wrong way along Taconic Parkway in Westchester County, NY. Her actions ended her life, that of her daughter, three nieces, and three passengers. The 36-year-old caused one of the worst fatal car accidents in Westchester County.
But her case is just one among the hundreds of cases involving drunk driving with children in the car. In 2003 alone, 47% of kids who lost their lives in alcohol-related crashes were in the same car as the intoxicated driver.
Most of these cases involve parents driving their children alongside their friend’s or neighbors’ kids to a school, sleep over, or a soccer match. Some of these parents are struggling with alcoholism, but they somehow drag their children into their ‘mess.’ Unfortunately, some of these parents have respectable jobs and appear stable, but they struggle with alcohol on a daily basis.
Driving under the influence is illegal. Doing it with kids is not just immoral, but it is a new and higher level of irresponsibility because it puts someone else’s life at risk. In the state of New York, Leandra’s Law makes it a crime to drive drunk with a person aged 15 or below. The law is named after an 11-year-old girl, Leandra Rosado, who died in Carmen Huertas’ station wagon on October 11, 2009. A year later, Huertas pleaded guilty for driving under the influence and received a sentence of 4-12 years.
On June 11, 2017, a 35-year-old Danbury resident, Antonio Guzman-Retana, was pulled over for driving recklessly on Ridgefield Road. There was a strong alcohol smell coming out of his car windows while two of his kids, both under ten years old, were in the back.
Driving while intoxicated is considered reckless and irresponsible. When a parent drives while drunk, he or she puts everyone in danger of injury or death. The problem is that this crime is mostly committed by parents who do not want to admit they have an alcohol problem.
8. ALLOWING UNDERAGE KIDS TO WORK IN A FAMILY BUSINESS
Entrepreneurs yearn to leave some business experience to their offspring. They always want to train their children about critical business skills that they can pass over after they have retired. Their kids are often expected to show up at work after school or during the weekends. The main reason: to learn the ropes.
But this practice mostly violates child labor laws.
When the Nuzzo family launched their complaint back in 2010, some people thought their argument was justified, but not the law. They had been in the pizza business in Connecticut for the longest time (since the 1950s), and they wanted their children to work for them so they could inherit some of the skills required for a pizza business.
In fact, Mike Nuzzo revealed that he had grown up working in the pizza trade together with his dad and that he had learned a lot from his dad; knowledge that he could never have learned from any college or university.
This is why they had allowed their son to help out in the kitchen on Friday nights. They wanted to teach him how to talk nicely to clients, count money, and overall, how to make pizza. The other younger children helped their mom, Migdalia Nuzzo, seating customers and busing tables.
To their surprise, state officials informed them that they had been violating child labor laws by allowing minors to work on their pizza restaurant, Grand Apizza. According to the legislation in Connecticut, it was illegal for a child (under age 16) to work in a restaurant.
The Nuzzos felt like their constitutional rights – to teach their kids family business – had been violated and they went ahead and sued the state Department of Labor (DOL). Their argument was that their children were not “working,” but learning a trade that had been passed down through generations.
Most countries have laws that ensure children are not denied opportunities for education because of work obligations. This is why children in certain age groups are not supposed to be working. But the Nuzzos were doing what hundreds of other parents do.
In countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar, children work in dangerous and dirty conditions and miss out on education and other fundamental rights. The biggest problem with these countries is that poverty rates are so high that kids are often required to work to supplement the family income.
The main argument against it is that it is performed to control female sexuality, and that is wrong. Female genital mutilation (FGM) can have adverse effects on a woman’s health and increases the possibility of complications during child birth.
Despite the serious opposition against the process, it is still performed on girls worldwide. In fact, it is not just an African problem as it has often been reported in the western nations. It is still being performed on Bohra women in India, Kurdish women, and in Indonesia. In India, for example, it is a well-kept secret taboo and many babies, especially from the Bohra community, have to undergo it. This is mostly because mothers receive pressure from older women and other family members.
According to the WHO, some 200 million girls have already undergone genital mutilation and half of them reside in the US. One of the cities with the highest cases of FGM is New York.
The US criminalized the practice in 1996, but there have been several FGM-related arrests. In April 2017, Fakhruddin Attar, and his wife, Farida Attar, who run a clinic in a Detroit suburb, were arrested for alleged involvement in an activity that included performing FGM on young girls. The two were accused of allowing a Detroit doctor, Jumana Nagarwala, to use their premises to carry out this illegal procedure. They were also accused of assisting Nagarwala during the operations.
The WHO has previously reported that the practice has no benefits and can lead to serious health problems. It exposes girls to several risks: bleeding, shock, severe pain, bacterial infection, and injury to other tissues around the genitalia. In the past, women who have undergone this procedure have suffered urinary tract infections, recurrent bladder, infertility, cysts, and complications during childbirth or intercourse. There are also plenty of psychological issues resulting from the trauma.
Unfortunately, the practice is still common in several African countries, but countries like Nigeria and Kenya have made historic steps by outlawing the practice.
6. LETTING BABIES HAVE THEIR NAPS IN SUB-ZERO TEMPERATURES
In countries like Norway and most of the other Scandinavian countries, it is okay for a kid to nap outdoors at sub zero temperatures.
Yes, the temperatures can be as low as -4F, yet the baby will be allowed to sleep outside for up to three hours. This is why it is common to see kids parked in terraces and busy sidewalks in those countries. Nordic communities believe that by exposing young ones to such extreme temperatures, they grow up healthy and immune to diseases. They also think that letting an infant sleep outside will help the baby sleep longer and better.
The practice is not only done by parents, but by day-care centers as well. For example, a preschool named Forskolan Orren allows babies under three years of age to sleep outside during nap time. They believe that if they do this, the kids will not catch colds or coughs. The practice traces its roots from the 1940’s when infant mortality was high, and air quality was low.
In most other countries, this practice is considered neglect because it can cause severe respiratory problems. As a matter of fact, parents who have tried this habit in other nations, for example, the United States, have gotten arrested. Sometime in the 90’s, a Danish tourist found herself in trouble after she left her 14-month old outside a New York restaurant. She was detained and charged with endangerment while the child was put in foster care.
Also, in 2011, a Swedish woman was arrested in Massachusetts for leaving her baby in front of a restaurant for 10 minutes. When Massachusetts authorities pounced on her, she defended herself by stating that she did not see anything wrong with the practice since it was normal in Sweden.
When you look at the potential issues that can arise from exposure to cold weather, you see no reason why Scandinavians should justify the practice. We are talking hypothermia, asthma, and dry skin among other horrible illnesses.
5. BEING RECKLESS WITH GUNS
There are hundreds of firearm enthusiasts who happen to be parents.
The biggest problem is that some of them take their gun ownership for granted and allow their kids to play with the deadly weapons. There have been numerous fatal accidents that have been caused by young ones whose parents were careless with their firearms. There are many reasons why a child should never touch a gun.
On August 25, 2014, a 9-year-old accidentally shot and killed Charles Vacca, her shooting range instructor at the Last Stop shooting range near Las Vegas. Vacca died that night, and the accident sparked a nationwide debate about whether it was okay for a young girl to operate an Uzi.
But that is not the only scary firearm incident involving a child.
The .45-caliber pistol that ended the life of 3-year-old Lucas Heagren in 2012 had been hidden under his father’s couch temporarily. Lucas got a hold of it and shot himself. Just a few days later, after that incident, 11-year-old Cassie Culpepper was killed by his brother who had been playing with a pistol. Culpepper was in the company of her brother and two other children, and the kids had been playing with a gun that their dad had given them to scare coyotes.
These incidents are just among the hundreds of careless gun-handling incidents by parents. Mostly, they involve children getting shot by other kids because the parent was negligent of a weapon’s safety. Often, they raise concerns about the accessibility of guns in America. In fact, it is out of these incidents that some states have enacted laws that hold parents criminally liable if they fail to store their guns safely.
This is why some states have enacted laws that hold parents criminally liable if they fail to store their guns safely. Previous research has revealed that while most parents believe their weapons are hidden safely, children as young as three years know where to find those weapons and how to use them. Carelessness with firearms has also been blamed for deadly school shootings in the past.
4. LEAVING A CHILD UNDER THE CARE OF UNDERAGE SIBLINGS
Leaving a child unattended is illegal. Leaving a child under the care of another child is also illegal when the child is too young. But this happens all the time.
If you leave a one-year old under the care of a 4-year-old, you are leaving your child unattended because a 4-year-old is not able to do much. In such a scenario, the parent is likely to be charged with negligence because the child is exposed to several risks.
This is why a 39-year-old New Canaan woman, Rebecca Young, was arrested for leaving her thirteen-year-old daughter to look after her three younger siblings.
The act came to light after the police department was contacted by Young’s neighbor who was concerned that a 4-year-old girl was wandering into her yard alone.
When the police arrived at Young’s house, they were surprised to find other children in the home, all incapable of looking after each other. When Young was contacted about the issue, she defended herself that she had left the house only 30 minutes before the babysitter arrived. Young was found guilty after failing to convince the cops.
In Polynesian Islands, kids take care of children.
While adults are responsible for looking after their babies, the responsibility is soon transferred to siblings as soon as the baby can walk. Preschool-aged children are reportedly taught to calm babies. In the end, the children learn to be self-reliant because that is the only way they can ‘hang’ with the big kids.
In most countries, this amounts to neglect and can lead to an arrest.
Most laws do not specify the minimum age that a child can be left alone. These laws are also vague in defining the particular age for a babysitter. In the end, parents are mostly left scratching their heads over this gray area.
In the UK, for example, NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) advises that children under age 13 should never be left alone for long periods. It also states that children below 16 years should not be put in charge of younger children.
In countries like Switzerland and Germany, it’s a different story. In these countries, mothers have reported that they can sometimes leave their 8-year-olds to look after their 6-year-olds when they’ve gone shopping.
3. TURNING CHILDREN INTO “SLAVES”
It may be the worst form of cruelty from parent to child, but it is still happening, especially in poverty-stricken countries.
In places like Cambodia, the habit is not new. One family, for example, fell afoul of creditors and the mother was forced to ask her daughter to take a job as a sex worker. The girl, named Kieu, was examined by a doctor and issued with a “certificate of virginity” before being delivered to a hotel where a man was waiting for her. Kieu was only 12 years old, and the man r*ped her for two days.
She was never aware that her mom was ‘signing her up’ to such a cruel act and she later returned home heartbroken. She was then taken to a brothel because she had already sold her virginity. At the brothel, she had a terrible experience and was treated like a prisoner.
She was held against her will for three days and r*ped by 3-6 men every day. But her ordeal did not end there. When she returned home, her mom sent her for more stints in two other brothels. She only managed to flee after realizing that her mom was planning to sell her again for six months.
Kieu’s mom, Neoung, blamed poverty for her actions.
Kieu grew up in Svay Pak, the epicenter of child trafficking in Cambodia. Svay Pak is known worldwide as a place where pedophiles come to get younger girls. In this impoverished fishing village, a girl’s virginity is valuable, and families consider it a valuable asset. This is has made it a child sex hotspot.
Corruption, weak social institutions, poverty, and weak law enforcement have earned this Southeast Asian nation a bad reputation for child trafficking. In a place like Svay Pak, for example, almost half of the population survives on less than $2 a day.
In a country like the United States, it is believed that at least 100,000 children are sexually exploited. Sex trafficking has been going on for ages, and today, perpetrators are committing their heinous acts via online channels. Sadly, a big number are American citizens.
2. JAPANESE PARENTS LET THEIR KIDS GO OUT BY THEMSELVES
Japanese parents are known for granting their children independence at a certain age. In Japan, you may not be surprised to spot a 4-year-old or an 8-year-old riding on the subway without a parent or carer.
Of course, if you let your kids wander in most parts of Europe or the US, you are likely to be apprehended and charged with neglect.
But not in Japan. The country has a low crime rate, which is probably the reason why most parents are comfortable with the practice. Most of these kids don knee socks, leather shoes, and plaid jumpers with train passes neatly pinned on their backpacks.
Hajimete no Otsukai, a popular television show, features kids as young as two or three years old running errands for their families. As they maneuver through the cities, their moves are secretly recorded by a camera crew. Research has shown that Japanese kids learn their responsibilities early and readily welcome an opportunity to serve or help others. This is why you will likely notice Japanese kids helping with tasks like cleaning in school.
1. IN KOREA, IT IS ACCEPTABLE FOR A CHILD TO GO HUNGRY FROM TIME TO TIME
In Korea, feeding is taught to kids as a life skill. From a very early age, children are taught that food is enjoyed when it is a shared experience.
Therefore, Korean kids find it normal to ‘hold’ their hunger until it is time for the entire family to sit down and have a meal together. In a nutshell, a Korean kid may have to deal with hunger for a few hours just because it is not the ‘right’ time to eat.
This is probably why Korean kids are great eaters. From an early age, they learn the important skill of sitting down and enjoying a meal with the whole family. In addition, they eat the same thing as adults; there is no adult meal and child meal.
If you try to pull this stunt in a country like the US, you may find yourself in serious trouble. We are talking child abuse or some form of neglect that your attorney will have difficulty explaining to you. Ensuring that your kids have proper meals whenever they are hungry is your responsibility, and it is a need that should be met immediately.
Otherwise, you will be committing child neglect. Intentionally making a child go hungry is ignoring the needs of that child. This is why most parents leave the house with diaper bags that are stocked with snacks and various other kinds of foodstuffs. Why? Because toddlers are expected to eat throughout the day.
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