Almost everyone thinks it is wrong to abuse a child. But many parents and teachers believe it is okay to spank children, rap their knuckles, slap their faces, pull their hair and yank their arms, as long as the punishment does not result in serious injury or death, and is intended to improve a child’s behaviour. Susan M. Turner explores the historical, psychological, sociological and legal foundations of this belief from a philosophical perspective and argues why it should be abandoned.
Something to Cry About presents evidence from recent studies showing that all forms of corporal punishment pose significant risks for children and that none improves behaviour in the long term. Dr. Turner also examines Section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code — a law that protects those who punish children in their care by allowing them to hit the children as long as such punishment is “reasonable,” even though Canadian case law shows that “reasonable” has included breaking a child’s fingers. Turner presents a comprehensive argument in favour of repeal.
In Something to Cry About, Turner takes a definite stand, but does so in a way that invites critical dialogue. Her work is the first to set out the debate over corporal punishment in multidisciplinary terms pertinent to Canadian society. She brings together in one place a wide variety of thought and data which can be consulted by all Canadians concerned with the welfare of children.
Susan M. Turner, a single parent of three children, entered graduate school in 1989, received her master’s degree in 1991 and her doctorate in 1995. Since 1996, she has worked in Victoria as a university instructor and tutor.
From the age of 3, Vanessa lived in daily terror of her mother's unpredictable rage. If she was 'naughty', her mother would lash out at her – with beatings, torture, starvation and making Vanessa sleep in their garden's pigsty, tied up like an animal. Her mother said her punishments were God's revenge on her for being the devil's child. Her father lived in denial of her suffering.
When she was 6 years old, Vanessa's grandfather began to sexually abuse her – to her despair, aided and abetted by both her mother and grandmother. At eight years old, she then discovered that the 'mother' who hated her so much had adopted her as a baby and would never love her as her own.
At the most horrific times of Vanessa's abuse, she nearly lost all hope that she would escape her prison, until mysterious things started to happen to her that allowed her to fight back.
This is the story of how Vanessa survived a childhood that nearly destroyed her and how her secret led her out of the horrors of her past.
Cruel To Be Kind is the true story of Max, aged 6. He is fostered by Cathy while his mother is in hospital with complications from type 2 diabetes. Fostering Max gets off to a bad start when his mother, Caz, complains and threatens Cathy even before Max has moved in. Cathy and her family are shocked when they first meet Max. But his social worker isn’t the only one in denial; his whole family are too.
Alice, aged four, is snatched by her mother the day she is due to arrive at Cathy's house. Drug-dependent and mentally ill, but desperate to keep hold of her daughter, Alice's mother snatches her from her parents' house and disappears.
Cathy spends three anxious days worrying about her whereabouts before Alice is found safe, but traumatised. Alice is like a little doll, so young and vulnerable, and she immediately finds her place in the heart of Cathy's family. She talks openly about her mummy, who she dearly loves, and how happy she was living with her maternal grandparents before she was put into care. Alice has clearly been very well looked after and Cathy can't understand why she couldn't stay with her grandparents.
It emerges that Alice's grandparents are considered too old (they are in their early sixties) and that the plan is that Alice will stay with Cathy for a month before moving to live with her father and his new wife. The grandparents are distraught – Alice has never known her father, and her grandparents claim he is a violent drug dealer.
Desperate to help Alice find the happy home she deserves, Cathy's parenting skills are tested in many new ways. Finally questions are asked about Alice's father suitability, and his true colours begin to emerge.
In Please Don’t Take My Baby, Jade, 17, is pregnant, homeless and alone when she’s brought to live with Cathy. Jade is desperate to keep her baby, but little more than a child herself, she struggles with the responsibilities her daughter brings.
Cathy knows that Jade loves her daughter with all her heart, but will she be able to get through to Jade in time to make her realise just how much she might lose?
I Miss Mummy is the true story of Alice, aged four, who is snatched by her mother the day she is due to arrive at Cathy's house. Drug-dependent and mentally ill, but desperate to keep hold of her daughter, Alice's mother takes her from her parents' house and disappears.