Exploring the Boundaries of Child Abuse

in #steemitdailylast year (edited)

When I watch the Olympics I am always amazed at the feats of strength and skill. However there are those who would call the training of these athletes abuse, I am of a different opinion.

-Opinion- Warning this is a delicate subject.

Image from www.totalprosports.com

Many people are of the opinion that the parents who push their children to succeed in sports are abusing their children. While I can understand their argument especially when it comes to competing, that some training can border on abuse, but at the end of the day it is the athlete who **chooses **to compete, not the parents.
Young female gymnasts bodies are under so much stress that it imbalances their hormones to the point where the training actually delays the onset of puberty {1}. Young boxers are subjected to being punched, football players are subjected to collisions, while runner's knees are under constant stress. Aside from the pain, the discomfort, the wear and tear from these sports, they are also in constant danger of severe injury. The parents of these children are no doubt aware of these facts but they weigh them with to potential rewards of such dangers. There are several pros to competing as a youth athlete., it is great for child development among other things. Child athletes are quite often more successful in life, competition pushes people to strive for success {2}. The more obvious benefits of of competing in sports are college scholarships and even professional athletic careers. Some people call the parents of these children "child abuser", they claim that they are exploiting their children, abusing them by over training both physically and mentally {3}. While I understand how people may see this as abuse and there is a fine line, I myself pushed my daughter to train for the 200m dash

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But never did I feel as though I was pushing her to do something she did not want to do.
I know that the mental pain she would feel from losing would hurt her way more than any muscle aches she would feel from training, or any verbal coaching (yelling), that I might have done to encourage her to keep running. As I said there is a fine line. For example if your kid is playing football, injures his knee and instead of sending him for physical therapy you get him a shot of Cortisone to send him back on the field you are crossing that line. Now if however you are controlling your kids diet, sending them to a athletic performance coach and limiting their video game time you aren't doing anything wrong. However there are those who would call what I call training and development, abuse. I get it, think of all of the parents of the Olympic boxers/wrestlers/gymnasts etc. Think of how the parents must feel watching their child take hits in training, people feel as though any parent that can stand there and watch their child take that kind of pain to be evil, but if it is safe and the child enjoys it why take it away from them? being punched with a boxing glove, especially for a child is not too dangerous and the referee will stop the fight super early not like in pro boxing, the real danger is if the coach is bad and allows them to get hurt in training.
I have a friend who's children are all athletes, they all train hard, they own no video game systems and their is only 1 TV in their house, I think that is great. I know another family who makes their child perform push-ups before dinner every night, or no dinner, I think this is also great. In my opinion so long as you are no putting your child in unnecessary danger you are not doing anything wrong. This video shows shows a man who crosses the line, it is one thing to motivate your child, this man is threatening to run his child over there is a line and he crosses it.
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Unless the parent is doing things like this they are not abusing their kids, people who believe otherwise are ether jealous or just plain vindictive. With everything I have said so far I would like to show you all the opposite end of this spectrum, one that never gets any attention (but should), especially in this "victim culture" where its okay to bash successful people and athletes but it is "Shaming" to tell someone that they are in desperate need of a lifestyle change if for nothing else but to for their heaths sake. This other subject needs attention, because unlike the child athlete competing on the elite level, this problem is actually wide spread, and not addressed.
Child obesity is very common, according to the Mayo Clinic {4} there are over 3 million new cases reported per year, and this is just the reported cases many go unreported. According to the Mayo Clinic here are the risk factors:

  • Diet. Regularly eating high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, can cause your child to gain weight. Candy and desserts also can cause weight gain, and more and more evidence points to sugary drinks, including fruit juices, as culprits in obesity in some people.
  • Lack of exercise. Children who don't exercise much are more likely to gain weight because they don't burn as many calories. Too much time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games, also contributes to the problem.
  • Family factors. If your child comes from a family of overweight people, he or she may be more likely to put on weight. This is especially true in an environment where high-calorie foods are always available and physical activity isn't encouraged.
  • Psychological factors. Personal, parental and family stress can increase a child's risk of obesity. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom. Their parents might have similar tendencies.
  • Socioeconomic factors. People in some communities have limited resources and limited access to supermarkets. As a result, they might buy convenience foods that don't spoil quickly, such as frozen meals, crackers and cookies. Also, people who live in lower income neighborhoods might not have access to a safe place to exercise.
    Unlike the with child athletes where there are both "Pros" and Cons", there are no "Pros" to childhood obesity.

While I do not disagree with the Mayo Clinic completely I have my own list that is shorter and simpler.

    1. Parental Negligence. Simply put the parents are failing to keep their children healthy, this is negligent child abuse. Every single thing on the Mayo Clinics list can be attributed to parental negligence. Now the mainstream media is concerned with childhood obesity so what did they do? The first lady tried to change school lunches, ultimately this did not correct the problem but I applaud any attempt to help. In my opinion the best way to fix childhood obesity is to correct it the same way any other form of child abuse, prosecute the parents. While I am not a fan of big government, and I do not think the government should be telling people how to raise their kids, this is different hear me out. If a parent was giving their children heroin would you expect the parents to go to jail? If the parents gave their children a loaded gun to play with what then? If parents gave their teenagers liquor to drink with a car to drive people would want them behind bars, so how is this any different? The parents are neglecting their children health to the point where they are having serious complications. The doctor should report cases of health neglect and if the parents fail to take steps to correct it they should be prosecuted. According to the Mayo Clinic the are at risk for: Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, excess abdominal fat, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Plus the social issues such as being bullied and depression.
    1. Lack of information and miss information. Back when I went to school they taught us about the "Food Pyramid", in my house we refer to this as the original pyramid scheme. I say scheme because this pyramid was created by the United States Department of Agriculture who was being lobbied (aka bribed) by many of the food distributes {5}, this is also why people can use their government food assistance programs to buy junk food {6}. So basically the government takes bribes from the junk food companies to trick people into believing that junk food is healthy and to continue to allow people on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), to buy junk food, doesn't sound to nutritious to me. This rabbit hole goes way deeper when you consider how this cycle continues into other industries such as, Medical, Dental, Heath Insurance, and government wanting control of these industries but that is beyond the scope of this article. If you want to talk about this please comment below.
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    1. Sugar Addiction and Saturation. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine and yet it is in almost everything we consume. As a person who tries to eat healthy and stay fit while traveling for work it is actually quite challenging to find food that is not loaded with sugar. So most of the food people have access to is loaded with sugar, and this sugar is super addictive, it really is a messed up system but if you want to make money in the food industry you have to give the people what they want, sugar. If you think about it, the ice cream man is basically a legal drug dealer...

Final Thoughts:

Children are vulnerable, impressionable, and they need to be protected even if from their own parents. We protect a child from a physically abusive parent, or a parent who drives drunk, why not protect them from a parent who poisons them slowly? We need to attack this problem from all ends, first we need to get the right information out there. People need to know what is healthy and how to eat healthy. Next we have to get transparency, we need to know what is in what we are eating so we can make informed choices based on the proper information. And lastly we need to hold parents accountable. When a child goes for their annual checkup, and the doctor sees that the child is obese they should give the parents directions on how to fix then then follow up. If the parents fail to comply then they should be prosecuted, if convicted the insurance company can raise their rates or drop them from the plan. We do not give alcoholics new livers, so why would we cover sugar addicts for type 2 diabetes?

I know that this is going to be controversial, I will respect every opinion and I really do hope to start a conversation about this, please comment below so we can discuss this delicate subject.

References:
1 - https://heyanappleaday.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/why-female-olympic-gymnasts-look-like-children/.
2 - http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2014/06/youth-sports-spill-over-career-success.
3- https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2004-17157-007.
4- https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-obesity/symptoms-causes/syc-20354827.
5- https://time.com/4130043/lobbying-politics-dietary-guidelines/.
6- https://readsludge.com/2018/09/27/revolving-door-lobbyists-turned-usda-officials-work-with-junk-food-industry-to-keep-soda-candy-in-snap-program/.

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