My side project this year has been to study the relationship of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and SES (Socio-Economic Status) upon the lives of people. The main text I'm studying so far is "The Bell Curve" by Charles Murray & Richard Herrnstein (1994, The Free Press).
One of the chapters is about Parenting. There they discuss the incidence of child neglect and abuse along the Bell Curve of SES.
One thing that just jumped out at me was the description of Child Neglect.
(emphasis mine)The Bell Curve, by Herrnstein and Murray, p.208 wrote:...failure to provide a child with adequate food, clothing, shelter, or hygiene...Neglect can also mean more subtle deprivations: habitually leaving babies in cribs for long periods, never talking to infants and toddlers except to scold or demand, no smiles, no bedtime stories. At its most serious, neglect becomes abandonment.
When I read that this morning, it really struck me ... "neglect becomes abandonment." So the child who still lives in the home, still "survives" becomes an "abandoned" child, in the most serious cases. Obviously there is a continuum, not just a sharp demarcation, a cliff from neglect to abandonment. These "more subtle deprivations" describe emotional absence or distance, lack of stimulation, a parental satisfaction with merely providing the essentials of survival, a lowering of the standard of success to mere survival/existence. "Well, he's still alive isn't he? So I must be doing something right."
These descriptors, e.g. leaving babies in cribs for long periods ... never talking except to scold, no smiles, no bedtime stories... What came to mind was how these sound so much like the counterpart to many descriptions of marriage we read on TMB: no affection, duty sex only ("OK if you must, but hurry up, and nothing fancy"), "I feel like a paycheck to her," or "I feel like a sex-doll for him."
We read here of sexual/emotional neglect and I ask myself, 'When does this become abuse? When does this become abandonment?'