Thursday, 27 September 2007

Guns, Gangs, Bringing up Baby and Claire Verity

Amongst all the outrage over Claire Verity's obsessively literal interpretation of Truby King's discredited theories (who by the way only had the idea, based on observing calves, no science), there is a much darker and sinister issue.

The same media who promote harsh parenting practices, also demand action to end gang culture, and get the yobs off our streets. If they looked into the reasons why teenagers and (increasingly) young children behave like they do they would most likely find these teens to not come from caring or loving families. There would be marked similarities between their experience and those of Claire Verity's charges. The main difference is that the remoteness CV advocates in infancy continues throughout childhood with these troubled teens. They grow without a sense of belonging, of being cared for and loved.

Children are incredible survivors - from South American Street kids, to survivors of violence and abuse, to neglected kids on housing estates, all children crave living and being loved. When care and love doesn't come from an adult, the child is unable to develop a secure attachment and has to become self reliant in order to survive. In Truby King's time (a hundred years ago), millions of people were dying in war, and it was essential to raise children in ways that would make them never question authority, and willingly volunteer to be good soldiers (and die).

Gangs are groups of children who do not have a secure attachment figure. The pain and anger this causes young children as they struggle to find someone who will care for, and guide them is unimaginable. Their behaviour becomes more extreme as they vie for attention in what becomes an increasingly alien place for them. Their behaviour gets them flagged up as trouble-makers in school, and the response from under-resourced and poorly trained schools is exclusion. It is no surprise that on meeting someone in the same situation - socially excluded and disliked - they are likely to form a bond in their pain. It is also not surprising that the frustration and anger from years of neglect manifests itself in violence. Seemingly mindless to the rest of society, this excluded group simply vent their feelings in ways that make no sense to the rest of us. And to be fair, neither to the perpetrators.

Claire Verity's methods do work. An infant's brain is at its most vulnerable and most active following birth. All experience is wiring the brain to understand what to expect out of life. In the case of her babies, abandonment, neglect, remoteness - emotionally crippled and without attachment. Most importantly though, a quiet baby that sleeps and makes no demands of its parents.

Clive Dorman, The Children's Project

1 comment:

Dragonfly said...

I couldn't agree more! you have eloquently written the very things that I have been thinking since watching that awful woman on Ch. 4.
Similar harsh parenting practices helped to create the Nazi regime IMO