Conditional Love: Parents' Attitudes toward Handicapped Children

Synopsis

Loving your child is not necessarily part of human nature and should not be taken for granted. Parental feelings are dependent upon our preconceptions of a child's appearance. Nevertheless, this cultural notion has been powerfully constituted as a "natural" part of the social myth of bonding. It is this myth that the author sets to expose by presenting data on parents' behavior toward 1,450 children in 3 major hospitals in Israel over a period of six years. Meira Weiss shows that 68.4% of the appearance-impaired newborns were abandoned by their parents, whereas 93% of the newborns suffering from internal defects--even severe ones--were "adopted." She also describes patterns of seclusion, neglect, and abuse such appearance-impaired children were subjected to at home. Both the rich ethnography and the lucid analysis contained in this book offer unique theoretical insights and social implications that should not be missed by anyone interested in the pragmatics of parenthood and the social and psychological aspects of the body.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Westport, CT
Publication year:
  • 1994