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Child Abuse and How It Affects Their Lives

Updated on June 18, 2014

I will attempt to define child abuse and try to help understand why kids are abused. The writer will also attempt to help the readers understand why child abuse exists and the different type of child abuse!

I also want to discuss the affect children who has become victims of abuse will become psychology and physically damaged throughout their lives. This essay will also explore the reason why some known and convicted child abusers, abused and the different types of abuse.

I interview children who had been abused. I asked them to elaborate on their abuse and how the abuse has affected their lives.

Who can help prevent child abuse? Everyone plays a part.

The term child abuse is applied to young people up to age eighteen; although some argue that trauma of child abuse never fades, having a lasting affect, well into adult-hood.

Although male and females suffer abuse in equal proportions, different groups tend to report different types of abuse.

Sometimes, child abusers are people with considerable emotional and physical problems. Unfortunately, these unstable adults also have children to look after, impressionable and sometimes completely helpless young people who depend solely on the adult for attention, nurturing, and affection. The tragic results is that, of the 3 million cases of child abuse reported each year, the majority results from dysfunctional or functional relationships between parent and child.

Depression has often been downplayed as an illness but it afflicts many people, regardless of race, gender, religion, education or economic level. In his book THE VULNERABLE CHILD, Richard Weissbourd reveals, “Young children depends heavily on their mother’s and 12 percent of mothers of young children are depressed according to strict diagnostic criteria, and 52 percent report depressive symptoms.

Because most infants rely more heavily on their mothers than their fathers, a depressed mother presents considerable danger to a child, who must constantly be fed nurtured, even caressed and spoken to affectionately in order to grow and stay healthy.

In July 1995, prosecutors told the a South Carolina jury how Susan Smith popped the safety brake on her car and sent it rolling down a ramp into a lake with her two boys, three-year-old Michael and fourteen-month-old Alex, strapped to car seats inside . The boys drowned that day, October 25th 1994.

For days Smith” stuck to her story about a black carjacker who commandeered her vehicle as she drove on a dark and empty back road”, according to the Detroit News. But later it was revealed the Smith killed her two children, apparently because she was having a romantic affair with a wealthy man who shared with Smith he did not want to be a father.

This cold-blooded motive provoked called for Smith’s execution from a public already stunned and outraged by Smith’s crime.

The Susan’s Smith case represents one of the high-profile stories of child abuse that have been the focus of public debate on effective responses to such heinous acts. The issue of child abuse has been at the forefront of cultural and political discussion in the past years. In the 1980’s preschool in California of a number of sexually abusive and bizarre acts, creating a considerable scare for working parents who left their children in someone else’s care.

In the 1990’s, sensational stories of child abuse concerned young mothers who abandoned infants in garbage dumpsters or committed similarly atrocious acts.

Depression is a factor that has often been downplayed as an illness but it afflicts many people, regardless of race, gender, religion, education, or economics level. In addition to emotionally ignoring the child or placing them in a physical danger through neglect, a depressed parent can also inflict direct physical abuse on the child. Young and emotionally underdeveloped parents often relieve their anger and stress on the helpless child.

Richard Weissbourd tells of one parent who admits that before entering a family support program, when she started to feel helpless and overwhelmed she would hit and scream at her children because" they were the only thing in my life I could control.” As a result, children who must endure a depressed parent’s erratic behavior “may develop low self-esteem and feel defeated and deficient,” says Weissbourd. Richard Weissbourd,

Depression and feelings of low self-worth are often exacerbated by poverty, which can add to the emotionally stressed parent’s. A parent already depressed, unable to feel good about herself or her children and still obligated to worry about paying bills or being able to feed her child can easily be overwhelmed. The only person who suffers from the parent’s depressed state of mind and frustrations are the innocent children, from whom a parent’s influence means everything. When mothers are depressed they are more likely to smoke, drink, and abuse drugs during pregnancy, according to Richard Weissbourd, resulting in health problems for the infant.

With or without depression as a factor, studies indicate that a major contributing factor to child abuse is alcohol or drug addiction. According to the children of Alcoholics Foundation, 40 percent of confirmed child abuse cases involved the use of alcohol or other drugs. “Children of alcoholics suffer more injuries and poisonings than children in the general population. Alcohol and other substance may act as a false sense of power which would lessen impulse control and allowing parents to behave abusively”, reports child advocacy group Prevent Child Abuse America. In other words, nearly half a million children are abused or neglected by a parent with alcohol or drug problems.

An unstable environment populated by drug dealers and other adult strangers can present considerable physical dangers to the neglected child. But even if a child’s living conditions are limited immediate family members, a parent’s alcohol or drug use alone is a dangerous factor in child abuse and neglect. Children neglected by alcohol-or –drug abusing parents do not receive the necessary emotional nurturing or mental development; instead, they sometimes receive physical abuse.

Neglected children often try to gain their parents attention through various kinds of behavior, often very typical of developing children. When a child is seeking attention from a drug-influenced parent this can often lead to anger by the parent, which most often will cause abuse or violence against the child or another family member.

In addition to the direct damage of abuse, children suffer greatly from witnessing abuse on a regular basis. They begin to view hitting and the devaluing of individuals as the norm and carry this negative attitude into adult hood. Parents who were abused children are six times more likely to abuse their own children than are parents from “normal “homes, reports journalist Elaine Landau, who specializes in youth issues.

Because the parents did not receive genuine love and consideration from their own parents, they may be ignorant of their children’s needs. Therefore this pattern of abuse is passed down from generation to generation.

The Arthur of this Essay has experienced abuse, from generation to generation. My grandmother was old school and use physical abuse to discipline my mother and her siblings. My mother's first line of discipline was to hit and use inappropriate language, in order to get my siblings and I too follow her directions.Some abuse were extended to my friends by their parents.

A good friend of mines once explained to me how his father would grab one of his legs and hold him up-side- down and whip him with a belt. As my friend became a father he did the same thing to his son. He then realized this is not only abuse but torture, he then ended the cycle of abuse,he never disciplined his son in that manner ever again.

1. The Vulnerable Child: What Really Hurts America’s Children and What we can do about it. Reading, Reading, Addison Wesley Longman 1996 p 73.

2.Weissbourd, The Vulnerable Child p73

3. Prevent Child Abuse America, “The Relationship between Parental Alcohol or other Drug Problems and Child Maltreatment, “September 1996

4. American abuse”. Child Protection Leader; September

5. American Humane Association, “The Link between child abuse and Domestic

6. Elaine Landau, Child Abuse: An American Epidemic. Englewood Cliffs, NJ Silver Burdett, 1990, p 25

7.Gail Ryan “The Sexual Abuser “, in Mary Edna Helfner, Ruth S. Kempe, and Richard D.Krugman, eds., The Battered Child. Chicago: Chicago University of Chicago Press, 1997, p330


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