The Odd Child Out In The Family

Each family has its own culture & ethics.The majority of families has its share of dysfunctionalism. Only a minute percentage of families can be classified as functional. In some families, there is extreme dysfunction.
Each family has its own culture & ethics.The majority of families has its share of dysfunctionalism. Only a minute percentage of families can be classified as functional. In some families, there is extreme dysfunction.
There are families who are unsupportive & hostile towards each other.Families oftentimes have an unwritten & hidden agenda as to how to treat each other.
There are families who are unsupportive & hostile towards each other.Families oftentimes have an unwritten & hidden agenda as to how to treat each other.
Parents often treat their children differentially based upon THE CHILD'S & THEIR OWN particular gender, intellectual, personality, birth order,&/or other variables.
Parents often treat their children differentially based upon THE CHILD'S & THEIR OWN particular gender, intellectual, personality, birth order,&/or other variables.
In some families, parents routinely single out one or some of their children for negative treatment. Such children are the scapegoated children in the family.
In some families, parents routinely single out one or some of their children for negative treatment. Such children are the scapegoated children in the family.
Scapegoated children are the nonentities in their families.They are held to a quite different standard than other family members.They are often blamed & targeted by their families.
Scapegoated children are the nonentities in their families.They are held to a quite different standard than other family members.They are often blamed & targeted by their families.
Scapegoated children are treated THE WORST in the family.They are disciplined harsher for offenses that their siblings are not.
Scapegoated children are treated THE WORST in the family.They are disciplined harsher for offenses that their siblings are not.
Scapegoated children come from families where there is stress. This stress can be socioeconomic, psychological, or other types of stress.
Scapegoated children come from families where there is stress. This stress can be socioeconomic, psychological, or other types of stress.
Scapegoating of children can occur in all family sizes.However, the larger the family, the more likelihood that scapegoating of a child or children is to occur.In large & very large families, finances & parental time are often stretched to the limit.
Scapegoating of children can occur in all family sizes.However, the larger the family, the more likelihood that scapegoating of a child or children is to occur.In large & very large families, finances & parental time are often stretched to the limit.
Children are scapegoated for many reasons.They  have different characteristics from their parents.They have similar characteristics to their parents which are subconsciously disliked by their parents.They  remind parents of a disliked relatives.
Children are scapegoated for many reasons.They have different characteristics from their parents.They have similar characteristics to their parents which are subconsciously disliked by their parents.They remind parents of a disliked relatives.
Children are scapegoated by their parents because the latter may actually HATE them.Parents hate their children for many reasons.Unwanted children are often subjected to scapegoating by their parents.
Children are scapegoated by their parents because the latter may actually HATE them.Parents hate their children for many reasons.Unwanted children are often subjected to scapegoating by their parents.
Many scapegoated children leave home because of hellish conditions.Although few leave voluntarily, most are ejected from their homes.Because of little or no skillsets, many of them end up homeless.
Many scapegoated children leave home because of hellish conditions.Although few leave voluntarily, most are ejected from their homes.Because of little or no skillsets, many of them end up homeless.
The effects of being scapegoated by their parents are myriad.Some children have abysmal self-esteem. They feel as if they are nothing of consequence. Many become abject failures in life.
The effects of being scapegoated by their parents are myriad.Some children have abysmal self-esteem. They feel as if they are nothing of consequence. Many become abject failures in life.
Other scapegoated children refuse to become/remain victims.They defy the odds. They disassociate themselves from their parents & develop relationships with supportive adults.They look into themselves for what they need. They are survivors.
Other scapegoated children refuse to become/remain victims.They defy the odds. They disassociate themselves from their parents & develop relationships with supportive adults.They look into themselves for what they need. They are survivors.

The Scapegoated Child in the Family

Scapegoating in families is a phenomena which is kept secretive. The idea of the American family are parents and children who lovingly interact and cooperate with each other. Well, this is a myth. Each family has its own problems and family dynamics of behavior.

Each family has its own culture and ethics to live by. Some families are indeed loving and accepting while others are distant, aloof, and judgemental. Furthermore, the majority of families has its shares of dysfunctionalism whether it is a parent or children in the family. Only a minute percentage of families have no dysfunction to speak of.

However, in some families there is what you can describe as extreme dysfunction. There are families who are actually unsupportive and technically hostile towards each other. Families often have their own unwritten agenda as how to treat each other.

Children in families, especially in multichild families, are subjected to unequal, preferential, and differential treatment. This treatment is often dependent upon the specific child's gender, intellectual, innate personality, and birth order status. Parents also treat their children differentially based upon the parents' own preference, innate personality, birth order of origin, and/or other related variables too numerous to mention.

However, in some families, parents single out one child or some of their children to be scapegoated. Scapegoated children are those who are treated horrifically and ostracized by their families. They are often blamed and targeted by their families.

The scapegoated child is the nonentity of the family. He/she is often held to a different standard from the rest of the family members. Scapegoated children can be from any family size. However, studies show that the larger the family, the more often that a single child or a group of children are singled out by the parents to be scapegoated.

Instances of children being scapegoated in such families were 7 year old Nixmary Brown, who was singled out for parental abuse and neglect while the other 5 siblings were relatively well-treated and not abused. In 1995, 6 year old Elisa Izquierdo was starved and beaten by her mother while her 5 siblings were left unscathed. In 1996, Nadine Lockwood was starved to death while her 8 siblings were treated fairly well.

Scapegoated children are often treated the worst in the family. They are disciplined more harshly for offenses that their siblings get away with. They usually come from families in which there is other kinds of stress whether it is socioeconomic, psychological, mental and/or other types of stress. Parents especially in large and very large families view their children as obligations and mouths to feed. As expected, life in large to very large families is often tenuous and onerous to say the least. Emotional and economic resources are stretched to the limit. In addition to these factors, there are a large number of children to care for. No parent can effectively devote and care individually for each child in such a large brood. Nerves are usually on edge in such families.

Parental energy in large to very large families are often stretched to the limit and there is a likelihood that a child or group of children will be scapegoated because of the former's frustrations. Of course, scapegoating of children can occur in small to medium sized families also. However, in larger families, there is a greater likelihood that a child will be singled out by the parents for scapegoating because of the overwhelming responsibility of raising a large number of children. Sometimes, it is too much for parents to endure.

Children are singled out for ill treatment by parents for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes they have characteristics which is radically different from that of the parents. In many instances, they may have similar characteristics of the parents which the latter subconsciously dislike. They can remind their parents of a disliked relative such as a brother, cousin, aunt, and/or grandparent. Still many parents actually hate their children and take out this hatred on the children, especially if they were unwanted accidents. There are some parents who view their children as "mouths to feed" and see them as burdens to get out of the house as soon as possible.

There are some parents who make the home environment of scapegoated children such a hellish experience that many of these children are left with no other choice but to leave home as soon as possible either by circumstance or force. They are often the throwaway children. Since many of these children have little education and no marketable skills, many of them end up homeless and on the streets, being prey to the worst criminal elements. There are some scapegoated children who have no choice but to go into a life of crime just to survive e.g. whether it is by joining gangs and being involved in other deleterious activities.

There are long lasting effects of being scapegoated by parents. Many such children believe that they are worthless and not deserving of anything in life. They thus become failures in life who are at the bottom of the societal pecking order. Still others are so traumatized by extremely abusively cruel treatment of their parents that they commit suicide as they feel that their lives are worthless. Many of them adopt the victim mentality-they become passive receptors in life who believe that events and things are beyond their control and there is nothing they can do to remedy the situation.

Then there are others who become strong and defy the odds. They state that they are not victims and are worthy of respect. They usually cut off all contact with their toxic biological family and usually have non-blood family members who love, support, and respect them for the unique persons that they are. They often become strong advocates of the underdog.

In summation, all families, regardless of socioeconomic background, education, and/or familial background have some issues surrounding it that need to be addressed. The majority of families contain a degree of dysfunction in one way or another. It is a rare family indeed that has no dysfunction of any kind.

Furthermore, each family has an unwritten dynamic regarding the children of the family. Children in multichild families are often subjected to differential treatment based upon variables such as their innate characteristics, personality type, and birth order. However, there are some children who are singled out by their families for differential treatment of the worst kind-scapegoating.

The reasons why some children are scapegoated in families are myriad. Maybe they have familial characteristics which are radically different from the family culture. While others have characteristics which remind parents of a disliked relative whether it is a sibling, aunt, and/or cousin. Still others may be unwanted children in their families. Also, there are parents who actually hate their children for whatever reason.

Many scapegoated children are impelled to leave home either by circumstance or by force. Such children because they leave home at very early ages are not educationally equipped so they go into a life of crime just to survive. They are throwaways-their parents do not want them in the house so they are told to leave! While many scapegoated children become nonentities and victims as a result of this horrendous treatment, there are still others who become stronger and become confident in their humanity!



© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams

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Comments 3 comments

LADYGIRL profile image

LADYGIRL 5 years ago

You're right some families have about 5 children in the family, and out of the 5, that one maybe treated differently. Know they are single out, and yes they might find a surrogate family for a place of peace. And never acknowledge the biological family to be there own. This is a case of not having any worth for your child. Great Hub


Nemo 11 months ago

I am the scapegoat in my family.

It has messed me up emotional and physically and at 32 find myself alone and unable to socialise.

If you have kids or plan to, be prepared to nature and treat them equally, and never view them as just a mouth to feed. If this is your mentality, you should not be having kids to begin with.

Each child is different. And each child should be encouraged to whichever his/her strength lies.... and most of all, each child should be disciplined in a similar fashion!!!


gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 11 months ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York Author

Excellent analysis. However, so few people think consciously before having children. Sad really!

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