When should a child’s trans identity be permitted to be a material issue in a family case?

This is a post by Sarah Phillimore

On March 26th I was alerted to what I was told was a blog post by a lawyer for the charity Mermaids. The lawyer does not identify him or herself or claim any affiliation to Mermaids but the title of the blog is clearly identified as about ‘Trans Law’ and the author purports to be a qualified and registered solicitor. I will assume therefore that this analysis of the law may be read with interest by charities and other campaigning groups which assert that they protect the rights of trans children.

The blog is entitled When should a child’s trans identity be permitted to be a material issue in a family case?

I am concerned by what I read in this blog post. Not because I am a bigot who hates transpeople. But because I am a lawyer and I respect the rule of law. The law is no salve to hurt feelings. The law exists to constrain or promote behaviour that can be identified on evidence, to either the civil or criminal standard of proof depending on the nature and quality of the act.  The law is interpreted and applied by those qualified and trained so do to. It is not something that is within the power of any one individual to describe and enforce.

So what is my problem with this blog? It promises to be 1 of a 4 part series. The inherent and fundamental problem is set out in its very headline which manages with admirable economy to set out a broad and undefined term – what is a child – coupled with an a priori assumption about the existence of ‘trans identity’.

So there are two issues we need to unpick:

First – what is a child?

Second – how and when is the transgender identity of a child discovered?

What is a child?

A child is a human aged between 0-18 years. The difference between a toddler and a 16 year old is vast. That span of time encompasses the growth of a child from not much more than a blob to a thinking, reasoning, decision making human being. There can also be huge differences between even neuro typical 12 and 15 year olds. For these obvious reasons, the law operates on a ‘sliding scale’ when it comes to children and the weight that must be attached to their wishes and feelings.

As a rough rule of thumb a child under 6 is highly unlikely to be able to formulate a world view that differs significantly from the adults caring for him or her. However, most children over 16 years old will be able to make their own decisions and the courts recognise the futility of attempting to impose orders upon them at this age – note for example the provision in the Children Act 1989 that private law orders will only be made about 16 year olds in the most exceptional circumstances.

The difficult age range is likely to be between 12 – 15 years when many children will present as articulate and fluent and may have quite decided ideas about what is in their best interests but have still only lived on this earth for a brief span of time and still require the guidance, love and support of their adult carers.

Most neuro typical children in this age bracket are likely to be considered ‘Gillick competent’ and able to make decisions about their basic health and welfare which must be respected by their adult carers.  However, even a Gilick competent child may find the court willing to force them into treatment if there are sufficient concerns about their welfare, for example when refusing a heart transplant. Such matters are clearly highly fact specific and will be decided on a case by case basis.

On this very short and rough analysis hopefully it is immediately clear that to talk of ‘a child’, defined in law as any person under 18, without any attempt to reflect the ‘sliding scale’ of a child’s autonomy and capacity to make serious decisions, is simply ludicrous. The court would not treat a 6 year old in the same way as a 16 year old and no one could assert in good faith that they should.

So the author of the this document will need to revisit it and set out their understanding of the law with regard to a) very young children and b) children who are Gillick competent but not yet 16 .

 

How and when is transgender identify discovered?

This question is of course inextricably linked to the issues raised above about Gillick competence. If the mother of a 4 year old asserts the her son ‘disdains his penis’ and wishes to live as a girl, the court is going to subject this to rather more anxious inquiry than if the same child was a teenager.  This is exactly what happened in the case of Re J which I discuss at length in this post in December 2018: ‘In whose best interests? Transgender Children: Choices and Consequences’

And who was the charity which supported this mother in court, which condemned the Judge’s decision to remove the child from the care of his mother into his father’s care (where he lived happily as a little boy), and promised an appeal of the decision that never came? Mermaids of course.

I commented in December that it would have been good to have seen a little humility from Mermaids that they had backed the wrong horse in this case and supported a mother to do significant harm to her child by way of emotional abuse. If this blog post is indeed from a self identified lawyer for the Mermaids charity, this shows me that any such hope was naive indeed.

The author comments:

As a matter of legal principle and good practice (and to avoid frustration from the Bench), a child being trans should not come in to a case’s dialogue unless

it is materially relevant to an issue in question; or

it can be legally justified as a materially relevant issue in and of itself, i.e. the child’s trans identity is a contested ‘fact’.

I don’t take issue with that. I accept that there are a small minority of children who experience ‘gender dsyphoria’ and who seek and are entitled to help and support about that. I would however be astonished if any child under 6 – and the child in Re J was four years old – could ever fit into that category. For younger children, any self declaration about ‘disdaining’ their body is going to come from one of the parents and it cannot simply be accepted at face value, as Re J clearly shows.

The author rather skates over Re J and its implications (and certainly makes no mention of the role Mermaids played in encouraging a mother to cause harm to her child) and says

Further case law is needed to clarify the nuance between the scenarios of ‘forcing a child to be trans’ as emotional abuse in itself,

I don’t agree with this comment. It does not seem to me a matter of any uncertainty that ‘forcing’ a child of any age into ANY identity which they do not in reality choose, can be anything other than emotional abuse of a really serious kind. However, the author seems to go even further and seems keen to discourage the very analysis that he/she says is necessary. There is a clear wish to turn the spotlight away from any anxious inquiry into the truth of a child’s circumstances:

It would and will always be deeply problematic and symptomatic of the historic ‘gender policing’ (to which the trans population, both in the UK and across Europe, have been subject to) should the court be used to decide on whether someone, in this case a child, is ‘actually transgender’ or not. This is not the courts (nor anyone’s) – save for the individual themselves – right.

And this of course is a nonsensical assertion. It is entirely the job of the family court’s to concern themselves with a child’s welfare and make decisions for them when their parents cannot or will not. To afford a very young child ‘a right’ to determine something so significant is not protecting children’s welfare – it is rather risking them as proxies for the psychological dysfunction of their parents.

The author then appears to argue that such anxious inquiry must also be avoided in case it ‘triggers’ the child.

…the Issue must be dealt with incredibly delicately. Not doing so would be extremely dangerous as it would have an intrinsic risk of violating the subject child’s Article 8 and Article 14 rights, but it is also exposing a child to a triggering scenario that may subject them to psychological harm.

Again, this is – in my view at least – an assertion that is both dangerous and foolish. To assume that investigating a child’s situation will in and of itself harm the child is to assume a great deal about what is actually being investigated. I understand that it may well be embarrassing and painful for a 15 year old to have to justify the decisions they want to make about their own body and I do not think that the court should inflict this upon any Gillick competent teenager.

However, to suggest that we shy away from what emotional abuse a parent might be inflicting on a 4 year old, in case we risk ‘triggering’ that child is utter, unmitigated hogwash. This line of thinking puts children at risk of very significant harm indeed.

But the real beating heard of the argument is here.

….someone’s gender identity, at any age, must be respected. A child identifying as trans, whether it has been submitted this is as a result of harm or not, is identifying as trans and that must be respected throughout proceedings…More often than not, if a child says they are trans, they will be trans.

As I hope I have made clear, any such assertion made without attempting even the barest of analysis of the vast gulf in understanding and capacity between a 6 year old and a 16 year old is an assertion of no value. Worse than that, it is an assertion which attempts to pave the way to leave young children entirely unprotected from their parents.

Most parents love their children and want to do what is in their best interests. A small minority of parents fail to do that. The courts absolutely must be ready, willing and able to step in and to protect such children.

Further reading

Interesting discussion in Lancashire County Council v TP & Ors (Permission to Withdraw Care Proceedings) [2019] EWFC 30 around concerns that parents:

  • have acted in a precipitate manner in relation to perceived gender dysphoria in children in their care (aged 13 and 6 years)
  • are resistant to acknowledging any potential disadvantages to R and H of being identified as transgender prematurely and the impact on their emotional, physical and sexual development. They are unable to provide appropriate and balanced support to R and H to make informed decisions as they get older.

However, largely as a result of the experts reports, including that of Dr Dr Pasterski, a consultant psychologist specialising in gender identity,  the local authority accepted that the threshold as it was originally drafted, could not be sustained and should not be pursued. The LA therefore asked for permission to withdraw its application for care orders, and the court allowed this.

The most interesting paragraph, in my view, is 75 where the court concluded:

In respect of paragraphs 29(a) and (b) of the vestigial possible threshold in respect of the concerns about the early and complete social transition of R and H, and the alleged unwillingness of CP and TP to recognise the long-term implications of such an early transition the evidence of Dr Pasterski compellingly rebuts these concerns. Her evidence in respect of the ‘2 critical historical misunderstandings‘ not only explains the approach of CP and TP but provides clinical justification for that approach. Notwithstanding even the Guardian’s caution in respect of the openness of CP and TP to the possibility of an alteration in the children’s attitude to their gender identity I conclude that Dr Pasterski’s evidence demonstrates that it is obvious that neither of these grounds would meet threshold. Taken together with the panoramic evidence of the child focused approach of CP and TP it is overwhelmingly obvious that neither H nor R have suffered or are at risk of suffering significant emotional harm arising from their complete social transition into females occurring at a very young age. The evidence demonstrates to the contrary, this was likely to minimise any harm or risk of harm. The evidence does not support the contention that it was actively encouraged rather than appropriately supported.

H at the time of judgment was 6 years old and had been ‘supported’ to transition at an even earlier age. The elder sibling had also ‘transitioned’ before the age of 8 years. I am not confident that it is a safe finding to conclude that there was no risk to the psychological integrity of such young children for adults to be ‘supporting’ transition. It is difficult for me to understand how the court can so cleanly draw a distinction between ‘active encouragement’ and ‘appropriate support’ when such activity was occurring when H was only four years old:

In addition, H was sent to primary school dressed in a girls’ uniform (aged 4), when the school expressly asked that this not happen.

No doubt there will be other cases to come, so watch this space. I hope that Dr Pasterski’s evidence can stand the test of time, otherwise some very young children are going to find their life course altered in ways that may not be in their best interests as they grow.

EDIT thanks to Twitter, I have been alerted to another case via a mumsnet thread, which makes the Judge’s apparent uncritical acceptance of Dr Pasterski’s evidence here even more worrying.

The link to the reported case in that thread no longer works: it is here Jay v Secretary of State for Justice [2018] EWHC 2620 (Fam) (08 October 2018).  I note para 29 and the evidence of Dr Barrett which raises the issue that a wish to transition may arise from other elements of disatisfaction. Dr Pasterski however was able to opine without any reservations that Ms Jay had gender dysphoria:

“Separately, and recently, she reports gender identity problems. Her history, if taken at face value, is reasonably consistent with this diagnosis but the difficulty is that other aspects of that history are rather directly at odds with the documentary records leading me to have doubts about the veracity of her whole history – which would include a reasonably consistent history of gender identity problems. This aspect might be made clearer if a source other than [Ms Jay] could be interviewed …. If collateral collaboration is elicited I would reach an additional diagnosis of some sort of gender identity disorder. Whether the intensity of gender dysphoria caused by that disorder is great enough to merit or require a change of gender role might be explored in the setting of a gender identity clinic; it might be sufficiently intense in a prison but not so outside one and in civilian life, for example. If collateral corroboration is not convincingly elicited I would have grave doubts and wonder whether [Ms Jay]’s somewhat dependent personality had caused her to unwisely latch onto a change of gender role as a seemingly universal solution to both why her life had gone wrong and how it might be rectified.”

20 thoughts on “When should a child’s trans identity be permitted to be a material issue in a family case?

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  3. Angelo Granda

    A Parent’s View.

    At all times we have to remember civil liberties and human rights . Citizen’s have a right to choose a way of life and that includes how they bring up their children without interference unless they break the law.

    1.Is gender transition against the law?
    Answer: No.

    What is gender dysphoria and how and why does it occur?

    It isn’t a physical illness and it isn’t a mental illness as far as i can see. Surely,it is a state of mind and people are individuals with the freedom to choose,apparently,in this day and age.
    It isn’t new to the world. Pre-Christianity, gender dysphoria was fairly prevalent and so was authoritarianism. Also homo-sexuality and crossing over etc.The state was all-powerful and often encouraged gender-dysphoria for purposes of its own. Castration and other interference was fairly common. The state wanted soldiers (men) and they wanted slaves ( women) to serve and work for the powerful.

    Is it a question of morals? The dysphoria seems to be increasing in this day and age . There certainly seems to be growth in the numbers of ‘experts’ and ‘voluntary’ groups set up to promote it. Does the increase coincide with the general lack of moral teaching in schools and the breakdown of the Christian way of life?
    What is the Christian way of life in respect of gender,i.e. men and women? I hardly dare even mention the subject of moral-teaching yet there is never any shortage of atheists and secularists around willing to preach immorality and self-interest.
    I can only make my own observations. I think the Christian ethic, in gender-terms, is that men are FOR WORK and their WORK IS TO SUPPORT THEIR FAMILIES. Men are different to women. Women are women with their own responsibility to their children and one to their chosen spouse.This does not mean they aren’t equal ,in fact, to be truly moral,they deserve more respect than men in family life. They are responsible for feeding and clothing the others and are to be enabled by the male breadwinners. Why shouldn’t they outnumber men on inquiry panels ,for example? They are the carers. Men are the workers.

    I might be completely wrong but i think gender dysphoria occurs when men and women become entangled with one another and get their roles in life confused. Boys should be taught morals from an early age , be taught who they are and so should girls. Particularly,i feel they should have the difference between the two genders impressed upon them and the differences set down in more black and white terms. As one aspect, boys should be taught respect for girls ,that whilst equal,they are different and they are to be treated as such. I suggest separate junior classes and senior schools encouraged respect and may not have been entirely a bad idea………… !
    Gender dysphoria as a state of mind appears to develop when the two sexes mix inappropriately at an early age. Boys mixing with girls at school. Boys acting like girls. Perhaps he might have five sisters and several aunties at home,perhaps father is out at work and never at home. Perhaps he goes to a mixed school and their are more girls than boys in the class . He is bound to start thinking and acting like a female ( to an extent) and in some more extreme cases he will develop a dysphoric state of mind and a desire to be a girl. Vice-versa with girls,of course, who have too many male companions and role-models.
    Now, if a Mum has no live-in partner,if she sees her child acting in this confused manner, she is likely to adopt the same dysphoria.
    Yes, I think the problem is the lack of early moral teaching and example. By that i mean in the Christian way of life.

    I expect the so-called experts and social workers will disagree with me saying we are a secular nation and all that kind of nonsense.
    The truth is that they lack moral-teaching themselves. They certainly misunderstand the meaning of liberty, human rights and citizens.
    Fundamentally,the ‘secular’ state is a Christian concept which was adopted as a means of bringing about peace and conciliation between the various religious beliefs.The State to be neutral,showing no discrimination against any religion.
    Secularism was never intended as a means of discouraging moral principle and a religious way-of -life, Morals are still to be taught.

    All comments welcome;i know others will disagree but discussion is to be encouraged. I look forward to all comments.

    Reply
  4. Angelo Granda

    The important point about all this is that gender transition is not illegal and gender-dysphoria isn’t either. It is increasing as a consequence of a non-Christian way of life. It is a state of mind which arises from time to time and it was fairly common-place and even enforced sometimes in the pre-Christian era. Morals have changed thus it will become commonplace again.
    Gender dysphoria is a state of mind which is quite unusual but no way is it words or violence which leads to significant harm as meant by the Children Act .
    Thus transgender issues should never be a material issue in a Family Law case. In my opinion, child-rescuers should not interfere in normal family life on these issues or in many others.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      illegality isn’t the point. The issue is whether or not a child is at risk of significant harm. I don’t see how ‘teaching morals’ to a five year old would help one jot with the situation as it was in Re J – where a mother was brainwashing her child, causing serious emotional harm and he was rightly taken away from her, for his own protection.

      Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        Think about it more positively. Teaching morals and gender issues to children at an early age will make a great difference.
        Had the Mum in ReJ case received some moral teaching at school, she would gave been much less likely to brainwash her own child and have problems with gender-dysphoria. If all children were to learn the same values, those who go on to become social work managers might follow the rules and show a little more honesty and integrity too!

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          ‘Teaching’ about anything can make little impact on serious mental health conditions I am afraid. Psychosis may respond to medication but it doesn’t respond to ‘teaching’ however expert.

          Reply
      2. Angelo Granda

        Had both Mum and Dad had moral values at an early age including gender issues and differences plus some instruction about the sanctity of marriage and having babies, it might have stopped them falling out and separating in the first place. The family might still be together and thriving together!

        Reply
  5. Angelo Granda

    To qualify further what i mean above.
    Child-rescuers should never interfere in normal family life DISPROPORTIONATELY.
    If school staff or even SW’s see signs of dysphoria, they may interfere proportionately to the circumstances and the way to do it would be to teach moral values including issues of gender to the child in a way which helps them . Perhaps a vicar could address the school assembly periodically on moral issues too! Moral values have to be instilled into children at an early age ( 5-7years ) , in my view.

    Reply
  6. Angelo Granda

    I am not the first one on this resource to express astonishment that so many child-protection professionals appear to misunderstand the very basics of good social work. One may excuse lawyers, I suppose, for they are not social workers are they?

    It is very bad form, however, when SW’s and L.A. social services departmental managers are so poorly trained. That they don’t know how to transform and reshape the lives of those they exist ( and are paid) to help.

    The very first errand a social worker is on ( his or her first instinct) has to be a missionary one. The object is to transform the lives of indigent communities ,to help the very poor and ignorant help themselves and moral instruction is at the heart of all missionary work. It is not naïve to say this. It is true! Indigent peoples around the world were transformed tremendously and became civilised by the introduction of moral values and the Christian way of life I have touched on above. Cannibalism, for example and inter-tribal barbarianism has almost become a thing of the past.

    There is no doubt moral instruction by social workers, schools ,churches and charitable institutions such as the Salvation Army ,Boys Brigade, Scout movements and other youth organisations works wonders in tackling indigent communities and social reform. It is proven. The focus has to be on showing those we see to be in need how to live and how to function. The initial draw for these communities is one of charity. They are being given charity ,they are being fed, if you like. They are at the bottom of the heap and they will rarely be too proud to accept help when it is offered in the right spirit. They respond to moral instruction and religious teaching almost magically. The Bible ( and the Koran, I suppose) reaches places even Carling Black Label doesn’t reach!

    In the twentieth century, social work became more ‘professional’, training colleges were set up by the philanthropic organisations ; things were formalised more; needs changed and this led to a less generalised approach. In Britain, at least, the emphasis was placed more on transforming the lives of individual families seen to be a problem, on families referred to professionals by Police or schools for example. Yet the schools , by failing to teach morals properly themselves , are a big cause of the problems. Now ,social work is centred around individual casework by individual workers appointed to a ‘problem’ family’ and there isn’t anything particularly wrong with such an approach providing it is focussed. I am no professional. There is no reason why individual casework cannot be successful. However moral teaching and practical training should be part of it. Social Workers must be a friend to Mums not an interfering meddler. They should be a trusted part of the community and they must go into houses with their hands held out, to give not to make demands (and criticise). Not many needy Mums will refuse help if a social worker becomes their friend and if they focus on true social work and the Children Act. Most young Mums will accept assistance with practical work, advice as to cleaning the house, domestic routines etc. I doubt if many will refuse a grant from the Needy Families scheme or a free bible paid for by a charity. Their children will love to read books containing advice and life-training too! Why not buy some out of expenses and give them out? The Government pay £4000 pounds for each needy family.

    I have described elsewhere on the resource how the ‘child-rescuer’ mentality and the solid nexus between social workers ,police, the school authorities and medical authorities leads to assistentialism in the interests of political authoritarianism rather than to philanthropic and charitable social care. The toxic connection must be broken if we want to enable the social work profession to succeed.

    We need radical change to frontline practices and as part of that we need to sweep out the old-stagers and install new managers. We have to focus on the true aims of the Children Act not the political instincts of Local Authorities. The new managers have to be focussed on a programme of PROGRESSIVE social work. They cannot be led by politicians and their various ideologies which are largely concentrated on controlling the Public in the interests of business, commerce, efficiency and profit.

    We have to explode the myth which underpins the current system. It has failed!
    Families are liquidated and children removed into care in the political interests of the authorities not in those of the public. It is easier and more profitable for them. They abuse their powers and act in contravention of human rights. Let us break down the monolith. They don’t do it to help children, It is to regulate and control them, undoubtedly, but mainly it is to exploit (use) and make profit from them. If you don’t believe me, read your history books.

    Sadly, Sarah, i think the Authorities actually do their damndest to discourage Social Workers from joining community resources like this one.Not many come on here and the last people they seem to listen to is the voices of parents.

    Reply
    1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      I do not understand why you thought this post was a suitable place for this comment. Your views on the failings of social workers are well known. this post is about something entirely different – about the failings of professionals AND parents to apparently understand the vast gulf that separates the pre school child from the teenager.

      Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        The reason I made the comment on this thread ,Sarah, was because you , despite my previous comment, came on saying illegality wasn’t the problem, the problem was that there was a risk of significant harm therefore it was right for the child to be removed from his mother.
        I had gone on at quite some length to explain how such gender issues are part and parcel of life in this day and age and will become a normal part of it before long unless we teach strict moral values early in the lives of children.
        I particularly gave the view that gender dysphoria was not
        ‘words or violence’ which leads to significant harm as meant by the Children Act therefore,in reply to the question posed, it should never be a material issue in Family proceedings.
        You responded very briefly contradicting me ( your prerogative) trotting out the tired old cliches that it was significant harm therefore it was right to remove the child.
        Such issues are best addressed more proportionately and the risks should be lessened by instruction,counselling etc.
        Sorry if the thread has become confused but its not all my fault.

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I don’t understand your comment at all. Forcing a child into a transgender identity which is not actually what they want is an extremely clear example of significant harm, the court found it to be so and the child was removed from the mother who was hurting him. I don’t have a problem with that at all. And I don’t think that ‘teaching morals’ to either mother or child would have done a damn thing. She was clearly not well and supported in her delusional thinking by a variety of people and organisations who should know better.

          Reply
  7. Angelo Granda

    I am a member of no organisations and my only interest is civil liberties and human rights . Citizen’s have a right to choose a way of life and that includes how they bring up their children without interference unless they break the law.
    My concern is that too often already ‘child rescuers’ target certain classes and categories of children ,for example, the autistic and others with neuro-disabilities, as fodder for their zealotry.
    In my view, the problem is with proportionality.
    It seems reasonable to interfere by offering advice and counselling to a mother and child focussed upon but it is cruel and destructive to destroy their family life. Moral instruction and medical advice as to gender dysphoria and ages of consent for transition given clearly by professionals including medics would help these people rather than destroy them.
    It is too easy for L.A. legal staff to demonstrate ‘significant harm’ in this system because all harm is significant and it is totally unfair because it is impossible for a parent to prove there is no risk of it. Every child is at risk.It is also too easy to make unqualified allegations that parents have ‘mental’problems, are deluded and so on.
    The case ReJ is just one case ,i am thinking of the wider picture.
    May i add that it is totally illogical, in my opinion, to say that teaching morals to mothers and children at an early age won’t do a damn thing to prevent immoral behaviour such as that this mother was hauled over the coals for.
    The aim is to help and support families when problems develop not to go to court alleging ‘ risk of significant harm’ .

    Reply
    1. Angelo Granda

      Or should i say ,the aim of moral instruction at an early age is to help and support families BEFORE problems develop. Prevention is better than cure.
      For example, teaching honesty will help stop folk making false allegations against each and save thousands of hours of Court time.

      Reply
    2. Sarah Phillimore Post author

      The mother in this case was probably seriously mentally ill. ‘teaching morals’ cannot help someone who is seriously mentally ill.

      Reply
      1. Angelo Granda

        Teaching morals to children at an early age encourages them to live their lives in a good way. It gives them a stable grounding and an understanding of life’s truths and warns them about problems they are likely to face in the big,wide world. It does affect their mental outlooks and daily meditation,when it becomes habitual ,helps their overall state of mind day-by-day. Setting an example and showing them the way definitely reduces the risk of their developing mental illness. It also reduces feral,criminal behaviour .
        If we study the development of social work in the 19th Century in Britain, we can see that moral teaching was the bedrock.
        Chaotic , amoral living brings about serious mental illnesses .

        This is clearly another of those issues on which people differ ideologically, Sarah. Same as proportionality. So we shall have to agree to disagree and await other opinions. One from a psychologist or a philosopher might help.

        Reply
        1. Sarah Phillimore Post author

          I don’t deny teaching morals is a good thing. But ‘teaching morals’ cannot help people with serious mental illnesses. You can keep repeating this as much as you like; my response will be exactly the same. Chaotic and amoral living I am sure does not make it any easier for people with mental illness. However, it is not the cause of those illnesses. It is far more likely to be a reflection of them.

          Reply
  8. Angelo Granda

    I suggest there are many causes of mental illness .You are not totally wrong to say that all mentally ill people are immoral. Of course you aren’t. Some examples i can think off offhand.
    a) some can be genetic,it can run in families.
    b) can be caused by traumatic experiences such as severe emotional disturbance inflicted by abusers or at times of war.
    c) Some by living in cramped conditions.
    d)Drug-taking.
    e) Alcoholism is a mental illness in itself.

    Out of those five, the only ones where moral teaching at an early age won’ t make a blind bit of difference are a) and c).

    There would be far fewer abusers,drug-dealers and other profiteers about for a start and less over-consumption and greed for booze. Less sex abuse and oppression of females .Less violence .
    As i said before,social work was based on moral teaching in the 19th century and we made great strides. However, we are not psychiatrists are we. Why labour the point. Maybe someone who knows a little about it will comment.

    Reply
    1. Angelo Granda

      QUOTE: You are not totally wrong to say that all mentally ill people are immoral:UNQUOTE

      Sorry, that makes no sense. What i meant to say was …. not all mentally ill people are immoral . You are right to say that ,but mental illness is often caused by the general immorality of others in the family circle and/or among the community at large.
      It is general immorality which we address by teaching right and wrong to all children at a very early age.

      Reply

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