The fourth principle in the APA Code of Ethics concerns justice. We can apply this principle to ethics in parenting. How does justice apply to ethical parenting? Let’s take a look.Principle D or Justice asks that all professionals in the field of psychology to treat people fairly. This means all people have the same access to treatment and the benefits of the knowledge we hold in the field of psychology. We don’t discriminate and offer some people one thing and another person something of a lesser quality. Psychologists also guard against judgments and bias and any other kind of prejudice that could lead to unfair or unjust administration of services to others.
In parenting justice means we treat all our children fairly. We don’t give love or consideration to one child and shun another. We do the best we can to spread compassion and love throughout all the lives we caretake. Justice means we work to problem solve when a child has special needs. Special needs can be learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, or mental health problems. Special needs can apply to the withdrawn child, the child who is more passive, or the child who is more verbose and aggressive. We seek to obtain assistance for their problems or an understanding as to how to assist. We don’t want to bury our head in the sand and we don’t justify reasons why help may cost to much or be too hard to obtain. There is always a way to obtain what you need. Yes it does often take some work. Work is what we agree to do when we choose to be parents.
When interfacing with other children, their families, schools, and those in our communities we strive to use justice or fairness in our interactions with others outside of our family. Everyone deserves the right to be treated fairly, justly, and provided with the same opportunities for health and well being, for education, and for pursuit of goals and dreams.
We teach justice to our children by biting our tongue when the urge to condemn another is felt. Everything we say and do becomes a lesson for our children. Children are not without their own compass and many children will not follow in their parent’s footsteps. We want to give children an example to follow. The choice will be theirs. As is often said in AA meetings where amends are concerned, “We have a responsibility for the effort, not the outcome.”
We teach justice through our own fair application of our time and energy. We give to others and to our self. It is easy to find a way to love what we do with our jobs and our time shared with others.
We teach justice to our children by taking our time with hard topics and taking the time to hear our children’s thoughts on these topics. Some of these things include: poverty, illness, the death penalty, the unfairness shown in world events, genocide, human rights, etc. We cannot always change things that exist in the world, but we can help our children create a dialogue about these things. We can create dialogue that sustains justice and fairness for self and others.
In the next blog on ethics in parenting we will look at Principle E: Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity.
Thank you and Be Well!
Nanette Burton Mongelluzzo, PhD