| Babies Not Jails
To transform society - from violence to peace - we need to attachment parent, to practise conscious parenting.
Dr Thomas Verny, PhD - one author of The Secret Life of the Unborn Child - tells us we must Build Babies Not Jails:
"Violence does not occur in a social or cultural vacuum. Violence is
endemic to our society. Our institutions, values, beliefs and rituals
are a function of who we are as human beings. And who are we? There is
not one of us who has not felt anxious, helpless, dejected, rejected,
angry, criticised or shamed by the time we were two years old. Most of
us, in addition, have suffered some form of emotional, sexual or
physical mistreatment. We are the walking wounded. Considering the
hurts, the injuries to body and soul that we have all experienced in
our own personal histories and the history of our species, it is a
testimony to the strength of the human spirit and the power of human
love that we are as civilized as we are. Our only hope for a better
world lies in heightening and deepening this innate capacity to care,
to nurture and to feel for others.
To achieve that, we urgently require government policies that will
reduce poverty, eliminate income inequalities, eradicate homelessness,
and ensure status enhancing work (if possible in paid employment) for
all. Abolishing the sexual and economic exploitation of children should
be a high priority on any governments' legislative agenda. Censoring
videos and television programs featuring gratuitous violence, could be
expected to have a small but measurable effect.
What is not needed is to fight street violence with state violence. We
don't need more police, more courts and more jails. We need more
conscious parenting. Conscious parenting leads to positive
psychogenesis [mental and emotional development] and is based, I
suggest, on understanding and practicing the following simple rules.
Guidelines for Conscious Parenting and Positive Psychogenesis
- Future parents must receive information about what physical
and chemical toxins to avoid prior to conception and during pregnancy.
- Their readiness for pregnancy and raising a child needs to be assessed.
- If problems, be they psychological, financial or other surface, personal counseling or therapy should be available to them.
- Every child, ideally, should be a wanted child.
- Every child should be created as an expression of the love the parents feel for each other.
Mothers and fathers must explore their:
Mothers and fathers need to learn:
- Relationships to their parents.
- Relationships with their partner and be willing to engage in open and honest dialogue.
The pregnant mother should make every effort:
- To appreciate the fundamental humanity of their unborn child, their need for love and communication and how to give it.
- How to bond with their unborn child prenatally and
postnatally through talking, singing, dancing, playing with and
4. Labor and Delivery
- To have a stress free pregnancy. If there is the threat of or actual violence, she must remove herself from it.
- To attend prenatal classes, if possible, with her partner.
- To obtain the services of a midwife.
- To resist the unnecessary use of gyne-gadgetry (amniocentesis, ultrasound, chorionic villi sampling, etc.).
- To totally abstain from alcohol, tobacco, soft or hard drugs.
5. After Birth
- If at all possible, the mother's partner as well as a professional support person such as a midwife or doula should be present.
- Unless there is a medical problem, the birth should be as
natural as possible. That means no fetal heart monitors, no anesthetics
or analgesics, no episiotomies and no forceps.
- Only people that the parents know and trust should be present during labor and delivery.
- Only professionals who love and respect babies should assist at birth.
6. First Few Months
- Say only complimentary things about your newborn.
- Insist on holding your newborn and rooming in with her.
- Resist the installation of silver nitrate eye drops and other unnecessary medicines and tests on your unborn.
- Oppose circumcision or genital mutilation of any kind.
- Leave the hospital as soon as possible.
- Breast feed your baby if you can.
I hope you will agree with me
that to transform the violent world of today into the peaceful world of
tomorrow, we need to change the way we treat our children from the very
beginning of their lives."
- If you are isolated, vulnerable or depressed, ask for help.
Visits by nurses or social workers have a demonstrable positive impact.
- If the baby develops physical problems don't wait until tomorrow; take her to a doctor now.
- Don't feel that it's your fault or that you are an
incompetent mother if the baby develops colic or cries a lot or does
not sleep much.
- If you are a single mother and you are beginning to lose
your patience with the baby, get help. Call a friend, family, women's
support group, or social agency. Whatever you do, don't yell, shake, or
hit the baby.
- Babies need a lot of attention. They cannot take care of themselves but they are a source of great joy. Have fun with your baby.
- Babies can teach us many important lessons. Be prepared to learn.
- Build Babies, Not Jails by Thomas R Verny, PhD (1995) [This was originally accessed 20 February 2014 for free. It now requires membership - see here, here, here, here.].
- The Origins of Peace and Violence - Deprivation of Physical Affection as a Main Cause of Depression, Aggression and Drug Abuse (Erik Möller) [A list of important resources, such as by James W. Prescott PhD].
- The Origins of Violence by Ronald Goldman, PhD (Peggy O'Mara, 2018).
- The problem children who are really victims (BBC, 2018).
- 'A stain on national life': why are we locking up so many children? (Chris Daw, The Guardian, 2020)
[Britain’s young offender institutions are places of misery and
violence, and often more dangerous than adult prisons. Indeed, the
evidence is clear that criminalising children just causes more crime.].