i feel that parental/domestic abuse of children is partially enabled by a legal system which gives one or two individual adults a disproportionate amount of power over a minor.
this particular type of power imbalance is unique because young children are vulnerable and do require care from adults. my intention in criticizing the way parent-child relationships exist currently in this culture — (i’m speaking only of american culture, since it’s the one i’m most familiar with, but i’m sure it applies to others as well) — is not to delegitimize the basic idea of a relationship between a parent and a child, but to point out that the way legal and social perceptions of these relationships have developed — home lives are private, parents are the ultimate specific authority over children, communities often play less of a role in raising children — have given parents and legal guardians a huge amount of wiggle room in terms of what they’re able to get away with, what they’re allowed to do to the children under their care.
there are plenty of genuinely caring and decent people who are parents/legal guardians out there; but that doesn’t make the parent-child relationship — both as a legal concept and in practice — any less fraught with the potential of real violence and harm. i’m absolutely not saying don’t have kids, or you’re a terrible parent no matter what you do, because that’s unrealistic, black-and-white bullshit. but i do think it’s extremely important for parents and legal guardians to be very careful and very aware of the different kinds of power they hold, and the effects of abusing that power.
i guess one thing parents in this society really should realize is that they are almost always the greatest individual danger to their children until said children are no longer minors. parents who don’t realize how inherently dangerous they are are probably the most dangerous kind of parents.