This post is a follow up to a previous one. Read it here if you haven’t already.
How might we protect the girls who report abusive homes while simultaneously protecting parents rights to protect and their children? By parents rights I mean those parents that do not abuse their children and would support them.
This is my problem with lack of parental notification in cases of adoption, abortion, STD testing and the like.
While I understand they are intended to protect children who come from abusive homes, the professionals may have no proof the home is abusive until it may be too late. Teens may presume or outright lie out of fear. They might also be telling the truth. While we believe that teen (without proof), we take away parental rights.
My sister in law and I debated this at length recently only that conversation topic centered around testing for sexually transmitted diseases. In my state (and many others) teens can be tested and treated for STDS without parental knowledge. As a responsible, non abusive, engaged parent, I find this worrisome.
Again, the argument is that it is protecting children from abusive homes. Okay, fine. I get that. I respect that. However, while you are protecting the kid next door from his parents, you are taking away my rights as a parent. I don’t abuse my child. I pay for his insurance, take care of his physical and mental health needs AND I am held legally and morally responsible for his actions. I resent the fact that my children could be treated for a disease and I would never know.
What medication would they give him? What side effects might he experience under my roof that I might not have any clue how to deal with as I did not know someone treated my son without my knowledge? Would they use my insurance or taxpayer money? Why would they use taxpayer money when I have a good income and he is doubly insured?
My sister in law (a social services professional working in the inner cities) and I went several rounds on this. I do not have a problem in theory, with the idea of STD testing of teens. I have a problem with it being done without parental knowledge. After much heated discussion, my sister in law agreed with my suggestion that if the goal is to protect teens from STDS, then we should require mandatory testing of all teens within public schools (much like they require vaccinations). Of course, this was just our suggestion and is not currently practice. The only way I know, for me, to address it is to discuss with my sons (which I did) and urge them to come to me, express my willingness to support. I stated yes, I would be disappointed but their future, health and safety is what it is most important. I will also discuss with their pediatrician at annual visits. Yet even still, with that, my son could be treated for an STD without my knowledge.
STD was used for illustrative purposes only. However the challenges apply to adoption and abortion as well.
So I ask again, can we protect parents rights while also protecting children who truly are at risk of being abused at home?