by Taryn Stark and Maggy McDaniel
Home Alone is one of America’s most beloved movies. Children dream of having an opportunity to run the house by themselves, fight the bad guys and come out on top! Most parents, however, dread the thought of accidentally leaving their child behind and realizing it miles and miles above ground in a 747. Whether we grew up with the dazzling flick or watched our children grow up with it, Home Alone is definitely a household favorite.
The sad reality of this movie, however, is that it illustrates a form of child abuse: neglect. The Macalister family (from the movie) was responsible for 8 children, Kevin included. Because of their flurry to catch a plane on time, Kevin was left abandoned to fend for himself over the Christmas holidays. We all know, of course, that this is depicted as a huge mistake in the movie. The parents are horrified at their lapse and do everything that they can to get back to Kevin as soon as possible. The reality of child abuse, however, is much less forgiving.
Here is one example: A Central Indiana couple left their 2 year-old son alone in a van for 40 minutes on a bitter cold night. Police say the family shopped inside a supermarket, leaving the young boy locked inside the van, with the temperature outside just 16 degrees. This seems like a harmless act: leaving your kid in the car for a bit while you go grocery shopping. It is not harmless; its child abuse. Neglect is a common form of child abuse that generally goes unacknowledged. However, The Villages, along with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, know differently.
This example of child abuse illustrates why organizations like The Villages are so important to our society. Through our Healthy Families sector and Family Connection Network, adoptive, foster, and biological parents alike are trained and educated about the dangers of neglect. They are enlightened and encouraged in their journeys of parenthood. Just think: If the Macalister parents had gotten involved with an organization like The Villages, then they likely wouldn’t have left Kevin home alone. If you would like more information on The Villages, contact us at http://www.villageskids.org/ or 317.273.7575.