How do we respect culture while at the same time not excusing abuse?

Judit Németh-Almasi's picture
14 Jan 2015 -- Judit Németh-Almasi

There are many different, equally valid ways of bringing up children and caring for them. The key issue that needs to be considered is whether the child rights are being violated and what is the impact / meaning for the child.  This requires a careful assessment of the child and their situation, rather than generalised conditions that should be attached in all circumstances.

For example in some countries is accepted that young children are placed in bedrooms alone, whereas in others this would be considered abusive and children remain sleeping with their parents until they are older (sometimes well into primary school).  Both can be acceptable ways of looking after children.  However, if the child was still sleeping with their parents and yet all their friends etc were sleeping in rooms alone, then this might make the child a focus for bullying.  In which case, if the child also wanted to sleep separately, then even though culturally it might be acceptable it would probably not be advisable for the child to remain with the parents and could cause further problems for the child.

Culture needs to be understood in its widest meaning – even families have their own culture that needs to be understood and what are the motivations of the parents and impact on the child.  Can the ‘good intentions’ be met in another way that would be acceptable?

This project is funded by: