One of the consequences of my recently being threatened by criminal charges if I didn't remove certain postings - was that I was directed to someone who has much experience dealing with the Israeli police. After this askan gave me some good advice, the conversation turned to identifying the important concerns of our society. He said after I had already written a book on the topic of sexual abuse - he felt that the next major issue I should address is emotional abuse. He deals with children who go off the derech in the chareidi society in Israel. He said while there definitely are abusive parents - his main concern was the abuse that occurs in the school system - especially from well meaning staff that are not properly trained and who fail to treat the students with proper respect and dignity.
I have discussed this with a number of other people since and they agree that this is an important issue to clarify and try and correct. Consequently I have added this on to my daily research and writing as well as discussions with Dr Shulem. Hopefully in a year or two I will have book on the subject.
My preliminary research however indicates that it is not simply that there are adults who are causing emotional damage to children. It is clear that in the last 10 years - there has been a tremendous reorientation in society in the direction of protecting children from upset and failure. There are psychologists and social workers everywhere who are pointing out how the children are being hurt and how we must change the nature of society to prevent that hurt.
What seems to lost in the mad rush not to cause pain - is that the children are being made more vulnerable to pain and that people are viewing a pain free existence as an entitlement.
So in addition to investigating what is the dynamic of abuse. I am also investigating the question of this change in attitude of society - even the traditional chareidi society - towards removing all unpleasant experiences and not exposing a child to failure or trauma of any sort.
This issue was recently raised by the Rabbi Manis Friedman tapes about abuse. Rabbi Manis is clearly a caring individual - but he was saying that we need to get past the abuse. The victim needs to be concerned about the future not the pain of the past. Even though I didn't like the way he said it - he was correct.
There is much evidence that therapy for trauma does not help and in fact exacerbates the trauma by constantly focusing on it. There is much evidence that perhaps 50% of people are not seriously traumatized by horrific experiences. This observation led Dr. Viktor Frankl to develop logotherapy.
In short, we have two ways to approach emotional trauma. We can search ways to remove trauma from our children's lifes or we can teach them to deal with trauma and failure as part of normal existence. In other words we can either bullet proof our children or we can try and create a trauma free environment.