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I have seen too much...

today I took a nap and as I slept I kept dreaming of children being beaten, battered, abused and killed by their families. You see for me this wasn't just a dream, it was a flashback, a memory, I have seen and heard too much.

I spent 12 years doing child protective services work and another 10 in the field of mental health. Some of that time overlapped. They were busy and trying years. While doing child protective services work I saw children thrown away by their families, sexually abused and misused, beaten bloody and even murdered in the name of love, hate or discipline. If I hear "spare the rod and spoil the child" one more time as an excuse to wantonly beat a child I may take leave of all my senses and harm the person uttering those words. One can discipline one's child without battering them. It is even possible to spank a child if you feel you must without beating them. Leaving marks is never acceptable. If you leave marks on a child you are disciplining you have gotten out of control and need to get help immediately. If it happens once it will happen again. If you have ever beat, punched or pummeled your spouse or girlfriend, get into Batterer's Anonymous. If you will beat an adult you will batter a child, don't wait for it to happen.

In the field of mental health I saw parents who had beaten, maimed and murdered their children. Some incidents happened when the parent was psychotic and as heinous as it may sound, the parent was not culpable. The postpartum period is critical for persons with mental illness and they need extra support as they transition back to their medication and into the role of parent. Postpartum mothers need so much support whether they have a history of mental illness or not. Postpartum depression can strike after any pregnancy and can leave the mother and child very vulnerable.

Postpartum psychosis often strikes young mothers with a history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It is also a stand alone diagnosis but I have known of mothers to bake, scald and drown their children in the throes of psychosis. They often don't know what that are doing and if they do have a clue they don't know that what they are doing is harmful. They are victims of their own illness as are their children.

Then there are the sadistic parents who when angry with their children will intentionally burn them, "iron them with a steam iron" and drown them in the name of righteousness. I have seen parents who have held their children underwater until they died in an effort to exorcise Satan from them. This has not been the result of psychosis but sadism disguised as Christianity.

I have seen and heard way too much. Over my many years in public service I tried to protect children and provide services to parents who needed intervention services. I want my nightmares to go away but honestly until I die the memories will haunt me all the days of my life.

Ciao!

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ardeeeichelmann
ardeeeichelmann

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