“Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. ” These are the words of Saisan, Smith and Segal (par 1). in their article on Child Abuse and Neglect. Children have been abused at home by their parents, older siblings as well as those who take care of them. Perhaps they are punished because their misbehaviors but any punishment that goes beyond the boundaries is child abuse. Physical abuse is shocking because of the scars left behind but emotional abuse can even be worse. Little is known that ignoring the needs of a child or making a child feel stupid and worthless is child abuse (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 1-2).
Why would parents assault their children? What are the dangers of after a child abuse? Is there any cure to end domestic violence? This research paper aims at exploring the causes, effects and solutions to domestic child abuse. Facts about Domestic Child Abuse Child domestic violence is a reality and it is happening at an alarming rate. It is however not committed out of an abnormal condition of the mind but it is committed by people who would be considered as normal. Child domestic abuse occurs everywhere in the world irrespective of a people’s culture, race, social class, religion or creed.
Newman adds that “It is not an abnormal aberration; it is a fundamental characteristic of the way we relate to one another in private, intimate setting” (Newman 212). A survey carried out by Dr. C. H. Kempe in the early years of 1960’s, brought the society to the attention of domestic child abuse. Parents, siblings and caretakers did not only assault the children at home physically but also sexually. They did this more than the strangers did according to the surveys that Dr. Kempe made. He and his fellow colleagues referred to domestic child abuse as ‘battered child syndrome’ (Davis 3).
Domestic child abuse is something that has been learnt. United States in particular is famously known for applying violence to achieve a goal. To the psychology of many people, it is only through violence that certain problems can be solved. Violence has pervaded culture. It starts from movies running down to schools, spectator sports, governments and at home. Families increase the intensity of the violence that already exists (Newman 212). Types of Child Abuse Though there may be different types of domestic child abuse, the core element is their effect on a child’s emotions.
Whether the child was abused by slapping, a comment that is harsh, stony silence, or going without dinner, they all breed a feeling of insecurity, not being cared for and loneliness (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 13). Physical Abuse Physical injury or harm can result from a deliberate attempt by the parent or the care giver to hurt a child. It can also be as a result of instilling discipline in a child. Severe beating given as punishment that is not in accordance to the age of a child is physical child abuse. Additionally, when a parent physically attacks a child out of anger, he or she is abusive.
A child should be made to know what is right or wrong in a calm way and not when the parents fumes with anger (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 18-20). This is the most common type of child abuse. According to reports 143, 300 children had suffered serious injuries out of physical abuse in US in the year 1990 (Carter, par 23). Emotional Abuse The old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me? (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 14). As quoted by Saisan, Smith & Segal in their article on Child Abuse and Neglect this saying will not apply when it comes to domestic child abuse.
Emotional child abuse such as humiliating a child constantly, calling negative names, constant yelling and threatening the child, limited or no contact with the child such as hugging causes severe mental damage to a child leaving psychological scars that will for ever remain (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 15). Sexual Abuse Sexual abuse is not always a body contact. Even exposing a child to a sexual materials and situations is abusive. Both girls and boys are at risk of sexual abuse from close relatives and caregivers. This abuse leads to shame, guilt and makes a child feel stigmatized.
They develop a hate towards themselves leading to sexual problems at later days such as failure to indulge into intimate sexual relationships (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 21-23). Child Neglect Failing to meet the basic needs of a child such as enough food, clothing and even supervision can be dangerous. A parent might physically or mentally fail to provide for the child and this will hurt their parent-child relationship. The older children in case of neglect will play-act as if all is well but neglect also affects them (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 16-17). Causes of Domestic Child Abuse
Personal factors like stress and frustration are the major causes of domestic violence on children. The children spend most of their time with the members of his/her family. They are the people that children interact most with. Emotions in families run deep. For instance, anger towards a stranger cannot be compared to the anger towards a child at home. Newman in his book points out that “Family life contains endless sources of stress and tension” (Newman 212). Children expect so much from their families ranging from warmth, intimacy, emotional to financial support.
When the children’s expectations are not met, stress takes toll. The child will start grappling and this can lead to their attack by parents or even elder members of the family. On the other hand birth and bringing up a child, employment transitions, financial problems, illnesses, among other factors are enough stressors to parents such that when slightly provoked by their children can lead to beatings and other forms of child abuse (Newman 212). When a parent or a caregiver is frustrated by life’s stressors, he or she may displace his anger to the vulnerable creature in the house.
In the process, children are injured not because they have committed any crime but the parent’s failure to control their emotions (Williams, par 1). Addictions to alcohol and other drugs make great contributions to child domestic violence. Addiction to Alcohol leaves one with less self control not only when one is drunk but also when he/she is sober. The poor self control make one abusive to his/her children or the children that are put under the care if him/her. This is the leading cause for sexual child abuse at home (Williams, par 1).
Domestic violence between parents leads to child abuse. When a child witnesses his/her parents in a tug of war, he is emotionally affected. It may become implanted in a child and may lead to youth and adult violence as well as other criminalities (Carter, par 4). More so, children can be physically injured in the process. The injury may be accidental during their parents’ attacking each other. For instance when an object is thrown and hits the child. Small babies may be hurt while it is being held. Children also are attacked while trying to make interventions to the fighting parents.
Dangerously, a child can also be hurt intentionally in an effort of one parent trying to intimidate the other. Whether emotionally of physically, accidentally or intentionally, domestic fights between partners is one of the leading causes of domestic child abuse (Carter, par 6). Gang affiliation especially for children who are at their teens is also a cause to domestic abuse. The teens are bound to give away their family loyalty to their gangs. They for this move disrespect their older siblings and more importantly their parents. This can lead to attack by the family members even when they mean no harm for the child.
The teens who now feel above the family law are constantly reported of attacking their parents and elder siblings (Williams, par 1). Symptoms of a Domestically Abused Child Children who are domestically abused are normally angry and aggressive after a slight provocation. More so, they are withdrawn and keep to themselves without indulging in any social activity. They are never cheerful and always wear a dull face. Other signs of domestically abused children include fear, depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), and low self esteem (Jones . 41). Effects of Abuse
Domestic child abuse leave life long scars irrespective of the abuse type. The scars might physically be seen and will heal away but emotional scars have effects that are long lasting. The emotional damage caused by domestic abuse is the most severe and affects a child in almost all aspects. Children who are emotionally abused find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships, cannot function properly at home and at school among other damages (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 8). Physical abuse can lead to severe injuries or death. Children get bruised faces, broken legs and hands among other injuries.
(Carter, par 5). Some children cannot endure the torture and they die in the process. “More than three children die per day because of child abuse” (Carter, par 22). Carter laments in an article on, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Youth Violence: Strategies for Prevention and Early Intervention (Carter, par 22). Following a research carried out between the years 1990 to 1994, about 5,400 children had died as a result of domestic child abuse (Carter, par 5). As Newman in his book Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of everyday life “Child abuse can sometimes be fatal” (Newman 212).
According to a study carried out in the year 2004, approximately 1, 5000 children faced death as a result of abuse and neglect. Further studies revealed that of the deaths, 90% of the children had been killed by parents, a parent’s unmarried partner or close relatives. Most of the children, about 80%, who succumbed to death, were less than four years of age (Newman, 212). The children lack trust with their parents. Saisan, Smith & Segal in their article on Child Abuse And Neglect ask a very sensitive question, “If you can’t trust your parents, who can you trust?
” (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 8). When the primary caregivers have damaged their relationship with a child, the child lacks trust in them. They feel that their emotional needs as well as physical needs cannot be met by people responsible for taking care of them. When a child grows up with this mistrust, it is difficult in future to trust other people. The children will have problems in keeping relationships for fear of abuse and control. More so the child had never known what it means to have a good relationship and may end up in unhealthy relationships (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par 10).
Neglect and abuse of the child at home can break the attachment of the child from the caregiver or a parent who is abusive. The relationship between the parent and the child can easily be lost if the child constantly faces domestic violence. It can be so dangerous when the relationship is broken as the child can even deteriorate in behavior with an effort of hurting its parent. The child lacks respect for its parents (Jones 41). Domestic child abuse leads to a low self esteem. Due to constant abuses at home, the child feels worthless. It sees itself as a bad child who cannot do the right thing.
For instance, when one grows in a family where he/she is always regarded as stupid, this is cultivated in the mind of the individual and it is very hard to change these feelings even as an adult. They will therefore end up doing poorly in school because they believe they are stupid. Even in working conditions an individual will not aspire for high level jobs because they believe they cannot deliver (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par. 11). Very Young children cannot understand why they are being abused and tend to believe they must have committed a crime while it may not be the cause.
They therefore start blaming themselves. Since they lack the ability to express their feelings, they become withdrawn and silent. Their self esteem is destroyed in the process (Volpe, par. 13). A pre-adolescent child can greatly externalize the negative emotions and will loose interest in any social activity. They become defiant at home and in school aggressive to other people especially in school and worse still, they are likely to indulge into drug and substance abuse (Volpe, par. 14-15). Children who have been victims of domestic abuse have difficulty in expressing their emotions.
Their emotions come out in ways that are unexpected. In the adult life, the person will always have struggles with anxiety, anger, depression that cannot be explained. These painful feelings may lead them into alcohol and drug abuse in a way of numbing them (Saisan, Smith & Segal, par. 12). Children who are assaulted in their families can loose concentration in class leading to poor performance. They can at times drop out of school as they have lacked meaning in life. Due to physical injuries, they are constantly absent from school to nurse their injuries.
This negatively affects their studies (Jones 41). Generally, children who experience victimization at home are negatively affected in development, psychological functioning as well as in their adjustment. The effects are demonstrated in the behavioral and emotional symptoms. However, a child can be affected in the way he/she perceives events, coping with stress as well as reacting to problems. These and many more problems result fro domestic child abuse (Jones 41). Solutions to Domestic Child Abuse It is possible to curb domestic child abuse.
According to the many researches that have been carried out, giving children adequate material, emotional and social support as well as giving them safety can end domestic abuse (Spears 6). Parents can stop from being abusive to their children and in turn cultivate love towards their children. Kids want to feel loved and special. By so doing, they are capable of making their dreams come true (Prevent Child Abuse, par 1). Parents should stop fighting between themselves. Their fights hurt children in one way of the other. The emotional injury that is done to a child during domestic violence between partners is life-long.
If at all these injuries have to be stopped, parents should learn to solve their problems in other ways apart from fighting. They should even do it in their privacy out of the reach of children. In so doing most of domestic child abuse will have found a solution (Carter, par 6). Parents need to know how to control their emotions. As a parent or a caregiver who is faced by life challenges such as frustrations and tress from the work place, it is important to take some time out controlling your emotions and not reflecting it to the children (Prevent Child Abuse, par 3).
Relatives, friends and neighbors can help their families who are struggling with domestic child abuse. They can spend their time together with the family helping them resolve their conflicts or look after the children for sometime to help parents relax and sort themselves out (Prevent Child Abuse, par 2). The public needs education to change their social norms that expose children to abuse at home. Educational campaigns on domestic child abuse will play a great role in informing parents and caretakers about the effects that result fro child abuse.
They will hopingly apply what they have learnt and stop domestic child abuse (Carter, par 27) Finally, the community at large has a role to play to stop domestic child abuse. In case there is a feeling that a child is being domestically abuse, it is important to report the matter to the relevant authorities such as the local children’s department, family services or the local police. Children are vulnerable and cannot report their problems to others. Further more most of them are warned against spilling family private information to the outside world. Some of them do not know that they are being abused.
The community therefore has to take initiative to help them out of domestic abuse (Prevent Child Abuse, par 10). Conclusion Domestic child abuse just like any other problem has its roots, adverse effects and can be solved once and for all. Children are constantly physically, psychologically, sexually abused and neglected by their parents or caretakers all around the world. Many are the root causes of these assorts ranging from frustrations, drug abuse to domestic violence to name but a few. The effects of any kind of domestic child abuse are far reaching; the child is affected emotionally.
The future life of a child is destroyed at a very tender age though many people do not know this. There is therefore an urgent call to curb domestic child abuse especially by parents. When children feel secure, special and loved, they can sore to great heights to realize their dreams. Work Cited Carter, Janet. Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Youth Violence: Strategies For Prevention and Early Intervention. Family Violence Prevention Fund, 2004. Web. 8 July 2010 <http://www. mincava. umn. edu/link/documents/fvpf2/fvpf2. shtml>. Davis, Richard. Domestic Violence: Intervention, Prevention, Policies, and Solutions.
Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2008 Jones, David. Communicating With Vulnerable Children: A Guide for Practitioners. London: Bell & Bain Limited, 2003 Newman, David. Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life. California: Pine Forge Press, 2008 Prevent Child Abuse. Ten Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Child Abuse. Prevent Child Abuse. Web. 9 July 2010 <http://www. preventchildabuseutah. org/tenwaystopreventchildabuse. html>. Saisan Joanna, Smith Melinda & Segal Jeanne. Child Abuse and Neglect. HelpGuide. org. nd 2010. Web 8 July 2010 <http://helpguide. org/mental/child_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.
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