Parenting is a major responsibility that an individual faces in his or her lifetime. It is a critical responsibility that can make or break a child’s present and future. Unfortunately, in today’s world, as child abuse and neglect become prevalent, parental responsibilities develop as a serious issue. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 905,000 children were victims of maltreatment in FFY 2006. The rate of victimization was 12.1 per 1,000 children in the population and 64.1 percent of victims experienced neglect. Factual evidence confirms that child neglect and abuse is the truth of our society.
To support these figures, a research conducted by Perry, Colwell, and Schick (2002) confirmed that child neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment. According to the authors, a broad definition of neglect is any failure to provide for the basic needs of the child. Now, what are these basic needs? This is a question of definition.
Maslow answers this question by defining the five human needs. He uses a pyramid to illustrate that one grows based on the lower needs. At the very bottom of the pyramid are the physiological needs such as food, air, and sleep, which must be met before any other needs. Safety, love and belongingness, and self-esteem needs continue to build on the pyramid; self-actualization needs are at the very top. If a child’s needs are examined using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, then basic needs of a child can be determined.
As child abuse and neglect cases are mounting, improper parenting is becomes a prevalent issue. How often do we read such cases in the newspapers? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2006), the rate of all children who received an investigation or assessment increased from 43.8 per 1,000 children for 2002 to 47.8 per 1,000 children for 2006. Keep in mind that statistics only reveal the number reported to authorities and not the actual incidents.
As millions of children are affected each year due to maltreatment, improper parenting emerges as a serious issue. It is an issue and not a problem. A problem can be solved, but an issue can only be continuously tackled; therefore, improper parenting cannot be eliminated. However, the effects of it can be significantly reduced if tackled properly.
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