Rom J Psychoanal 2021, 14(1):175-179
DOI: 10.2478/rjp-2021-0012

Abstract: In this review I will focus on societies mistreating children in order to fulfil certain needs through them, to project internal conflicts and self-hatred outward, or to assert themselves when they feel their authority has been questioned. Regardless of their individual motivations, they all rely upon a societal prejudice against children to justify themselves and legitimate their behaviour. We are all familiar of prejudice against people of colour, women, LGBTQ in Western society. Sadly, prejudice against children – “childism" (Young-Bruehl, 2012) is not acknowledged. Incarcerating children, sending victims of abuse and neglect to juvenile detention centers (juvies) is unethical and unacceptable. We all know that many children who have spent years of their lives in and out of juvies will join the adult prison population. The word “childism” is not in the political discourse or our dictionaries, and no subfield of Prejudice Studies has been dedicated to it. In this review I invite readers to understand how our (Western) society is failing to support the development and well-being of its children to combat such a prejudice. Childism is a prejudice that rationalizes and legitimates the maltreatment of children and as professionals we have a responsibility to fight it. We (all of us) must learn not to project our self hatred onto our children in the form of a prejudice. With psychoanalytic understanding and guidance an abusing system can give up abusing. The “intergenerational transmission of trauma” can be interrupted.

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