Thursday, 22 January 2009

Dangerous step-fathers?

There is an interesting article in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal (Life and Death: The blame game
Iona Heath, BMJ 2009;338:b7), on the physical abuse of children. It points out that in primates between a third and two thirds of infant mortality is the result of infanticide. It is normally the result of the father being injured or incapacitated and a new male taking up a dominant role - including attacking the children of his predecessor. Striking parallels with human behaviour: but of course no western government has the guts to tell women that having children by one man and then shacking up with another reduces her kids' life expectancy...

Not all 'life-styles' are in fact equally valid...


George Carmody said...

Right on the button. Even after all that has happened, not even Harringey Social Services has the guts to tell women that home truth! What are they scared of?

Ben Trovato said...

I fear that they are afraid of the Truth - or even of the existence of such a notion (or such a Person).

madame evangelista said...

Evil step-parents are the driving force of most fairytales - but there's nothing illicit about a parent and widow remarrying.

Ben Trovato said...

Mme E

You are quite right on both counts!

These cliches (like evil step-parents) often come from some element of truth.

That is not to say that all step parents are evil: clearly that would be a travesty; but perhaps it recognises in folk wisdom the fact that these are very difficult relationships, and when they go wrong, they go badly wrong.

For that reason, a widowed parent re-marrying (as for example St Thomas More did) needs to exercise the virtue of prudence, and consider the importance of choosing a spouse who will be able to be a good parent to the children.

St Joseph, of course, is the exemplar of the good step parent.

My point was that our current culture seems to think it quite OK for a women to have children by one man (or several) and then move on to another man as a matter of course: and that I think spells trouble.