Child abuse is one of the biggest problems facing America today. Children whose parents abuse them often turn to a life of crime, or suffer physical or mental scars. In severe cases the child may even die. Any type of Child Abuse, carried out for a long period of time, may cause long-term mental damage. In this paper I intend to explain child abuse in intimate detail. I hope to inform you of the exact definition of abuse and its various types. The best way to prevent child neglect is to start family planning at an earlier age. Family planning is the best way to stop child abuse. This will help the parents to understand the difficulty in raising a child. Children are very expensive and getting people to understand that before they have them would help to reduce some stress factors. Children require a lot of different types of physical energy, some late nights, and changing diapers are a few examples of what is to be expected. Many people are not in their best physical condition when they have children.
They may not be ready for the late nights, and when the child gets older indelibly they will have to chase him or her around stores, and other public places. There are some children that are extremely difficult mentally to raise no matter what kind of parent you think you are. These types of children are a major cause for worry and added stress to an already stressful life. Family planning would help families realize how hard having a child is and start planning for what is to come. Child abuse can be seen as mental, physical, or emotional abuse, and all of these can lead a child to be more violent towards other children. As these abused children grow up and become a larger part of society, that abusive attitude or actions can lead on harm to another person or even worse another child. The more people we can reach with our research hopefully the more people will take this information and put into reality. The reality is that children every day, are being abused and the majority of these abusive actions are never reported. It seems that sometimes parents do not even realize that they are abusing their own children by what they say to them or do to them.
With this research we would like to bring the problem out and show parents, grandparents, guardians, teachers, and even make children aware of the effects of child abuse. Hopefully by showing people the problems associated with child abuse we can then come up with a solution to help fix the problem and turn our research into one of the solution for child abuse. Child Abuse is defined as intentional use of physical force or intentional omission of care by a parent or caregiver that causes a child to be hurt, maimed, or killed. Child abuse covers a wide range of harmful actions, which generally vary with the age of the child. The term child abuse covers a wide range of behavior, from actual physical assault to simple neglect of a child’s basic needs. Child abuse is also sometimes called child maltreatment. Infants and preschool children are most likely to suffer deliberately inflicted fractures, burns, and bruises. This is known as the battered-child syndrome. Although the extent of child abuse is difficult to measure, it is recognized as a major social problem, especially in industrialized nations. It occurs in all income, racial, religious, and ethnic groups and in urban and rural communities.
We are also concerned with peer to peer relationships and how children act towards one another, because child abuse can come from other children. Some of our research found that peer relationships can seriously affect how a child will grow as an individual. “Developmental research suggests that impulsive children are more likely to be rejected by their peers and may have few conventional peer choices.” (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990, pg.2) Several studies have found that if a child gets rejected by their peers they are more likely to find other youths that share their same views and deviant behavior. “The six categories of risk factors include community, economic, family, individual, school and peers. According to OJJDP, 80 percent of children with more than five risk factors and fewer than six protective factors are at risk for committing future violent acts” (Bilchik, S., OJJDP Fact Sheet, #82, (July, 1998). Studies have been done on family relationships and how this affects children.
“The family is primarily responsible for instilling, or failing to instill, self-control in its members. In the absence of pro-social teachings from parents, the child is unlikely to develop self-control and will involve themselves in a variety of criminal and “analogous” acts such as smoking, drinking, and risky sexual behavior” (Gottfredson & Hirschi,1990, p. 90). Understanding that family behavior is a huge contributor to a child’s growth also helps support the fact, if the family is abusive then the child tends to pick up bad habits from what they have been taught. Then as the child grows up they have no remorse on the pain they inflict on others. “People lacking self-control are impulsive, shortsighted, lacking in diligence and tenacity, and unconcerned with the pain and suffering they create for others.” (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990, p. 90) We found numerous articles that agree that if the family ties are weak, or there is violence in the family, then the child is more likely to become violent towards others as well.
“The families of violent children often have histories of violence, aggression, problem behavior, weak family bonding, little warmth and nurturing, family conflict, family attitudes favorable to drug usage and crime, child abuse and neglect (Crespi & Rigazio-DiGilio, 1996). Children are a lot of work, maybe they are just too much for some people. Since most of the reported cases of child abuse are from families living in poverty, they cannot afford childcare. This puts a lot of stress on the parents to try to work and take care of the children. Making ends meet is one of the hardest things for families to do. It is difficult to raise a family on minimum wage. Stress is the underlying cause of almost all child abuse cases. If we trained people how to deal with stress we may be able to prevent child abuse. The only problem with this solution is that making the person who is under stress go to the meeting may cause more stress.
The reasons for studying this topic is because, the children of today and tomorrow are our future. If this problem is allowed to go on without proper research to help our children, then more and more children will continue to be abused, and in turn become they will become violent themselves against other children. Hopefully through this extensive research, it will show adults, parents, grandparents, and even children the effects and signs of child abuse and juvenile violence. It should also inform them of just how many children are being abused and how many of those abused children start showing signs of juvenile violence.
If this problem is allowed to go on without proper research to help our children, then more and more children will continue to be abused, and in turn they will become violent themselves against other children or people. Hopefully through this extensive research, it will show adults, parents, grandparents, and even children the effects and signs of child abuse and juvenile violence. This research should also gain the attention of legislatures as well and it should inform them of just how many children are being abused and how many of those abused children start showing signs of juvenile violence.
With this research we will be able to figure out a possible solution to hopefully lower the number of children being abused each day and becoming violent themselves. We are well aware that we will never be able to completely eliminate child abuse and juvenile violence, because of all the different variables, and if it’s never reported we will never know. However our main goal of this research is to help achieve a solution that will help many children succeed through life without having to be abused or end up a juvenile violence offender.
Crespi, T.D. and Rigazio-DiGilio, S.A., “Adolescent homicide and family pathology: Implication for research and treatment with adolescents.” Adolescence, vol. 31, 122, pg. 353(15), (summer, 1996).
Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990] Gottfredson, M.R. and T. Hirschi, A general theory of crime, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, 1990.
Bilchik, S. 1998. Mental health disorders and substance abuse problems among juveniles. OJJDP Fact Sheet, No. 82. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice.