Causes of Family Violence Essay

Aggression and violence in modern families

The topic of domestic violence is often discussed in psychological researches and published in scientific and mass magazines. Domestic violence can be observed from different points: either psychological or physical. The latter includes not only beating, but sexual actions and debauches. However I might admit that psychological trauma may be as painful as physical one. It suppresses children’s feeling of happiness, love and identity. As a result children suffer from certain inner disorder. It often leads to criminal actions, asocial behavior or even parents murder.

The problem needs deep complex research with the help of psychologists, medical scientists, sociologists, lawyers etc. Violence against children faces moral accusation and criminal punishment as well. Psychologists, government and other institutions wishing to solve the problem, take certain measures to change the threatening situation. However not much of them appeared to be really efficient. Violence often takes place in families with high level of conflicts, drug and alcohol problems, unlawful behavior and asocial values.

In 2005 the psychological mass magazine “The Family” published an article “Insensible child” dealing with the family violence. The author, Russian psychologist, admits that violence against children reveals in different cases. 85% of all the cases deal with parental violence. The major part of them is physical actions. Why do children suffer? Reasons can be various. It is much more important to find out why parents treat their children in such a way. The article tells a story of 11year old Edic, who was supposed to steal money from his parents. At least his parents thought so. He also had problems at school. Teachers and classmates were dissatisfied with his behavior. He used to be rude, inattentive, naughty and sometimes violent to classmates. Once the teacher took away a cassette, which Edic was holding during the lesson. The teacher was curious to find out what the cassette contained. However instead of usual music, there were voices. Soon the teacher understood that the boy recorded what was going on at home. It explained much to the teacher. The cassette contained rude words and expressions towards the son. The teacher didn’t dare to speak about it with the boy. The next day Edic came to school with hard bruises. As a result, however, it became evident that boy’s mother just didn’t count money properly and made a mistake. The conflicts in this family began from a trifle. But the behavior of parents defined further behavior of their son. He became insensible, rude and violent towards other people. Parents were careless to their words and affected the innocent soul of their son. They accused him of robbery and it spoilt his psyche. They didn’t listen to what he was saying, didn’t trust him. As children tend to copy what they see, it is possible that the boy won’t trust people either. Later it revealed that Edic began to rob at school. Words of parents are of great power. They can both cure and hurt. In our case parents nudged the boy to illegal actions, close to real crime. Sometimes parental words can even lead to suicide, let along improper actions.

Teachers at school wondered why Edic was so nervous, rude and unpredictable. Everything was later explained by careless behavior of his parents. His mother had an explosive character. Edic naturally took after his parents changeable and explosive features of character. A child living in the conditions of violence, suffer from inevitable problems. He tries to save faith and trust in people, but it appears to be impossible in such circumstances. He has to control the situation and possess strength of character to resist the oppression. The article shows definite picture of what the boy felt in such living conditions. Violent treatment of parents destroys the calmness of child’s inner world. The child loses himself and becomes violent and insensible as well. Some children admit that they even didn’t feel physical pain, let alone lack of emotions. Children get offended towards the whole world and lose faith.

According to World association of health protection, 40 million children suffer from different forms of violence every year, in the whole world. However there is another striking statistics: only 10% of parents, who violently treat their children, are proved to be mentally unstable. What about other 90%? If they are normal people, how on Earth could they reveal such cruelty?
But speaking about the reasons of parents’ violence I can’t help saying about socio-economical factors. These are lack of working places and money itself, poor living conditions, low salaries etc. All these factors lead to stress in the first place. And stress results in violent treatment of children and other family members. On the one hand such behavior can’t be accused to full extent. Parents do have reasons to feel depressed and disappointed. But why should children suffer from mental disorder of their parents. Secondly apart from psychological disorder, parents may appear to have negative personal experience, unhappy childhood or lack of pedagogical skills. But in both cases, children are absolutely innocent and these are parents to think over their behavior and understanding of life.

It’s no doubt that this problem should be somehow solved. But there are certain factors which hinder this attempt to come true. It may surprise but one of them is children themselves. The matter is that some children (especially teenagers) are afraid of talking about violence from the side of their parents. Firstly it’s always shameful to reveal such moments of personal life. Secondly children are afraid of possible consequences. Children are more likely to hide everything inside their wounded soul.

Researcher Andrew J. Cherlin made an attempt to observe the question thoroughly. His work “Public and Private Families” concerns both personal experience of people and their place in society. The article deals with different family problems including divorce, unhappy marriage and family violence as well.

What may provoke parents for aggression?

Andrew Cherlin takes into account great variety of serious problems, their reasons and consequences. The problem of parents’ aggression can be observed from different sides. Sometimes parents just try to take measures to discipline their children. Some of them would try to affect children morally. Others would use physical strength. For instance, if parents were reported about their child’s improper behavior and poor learning at school, they would probably become outrageous and take strict measures. The reason is that they felt ashamed for their children. The punishment in this case can be neither objective nor fair. That’s why it’s useless to expect some changes for the best. Children are more likely to behave as they used to. Parents however become desperate, wondering why his measures appeared to be of no use. Such cases are numerous. They only prove the imperfection of average un-bringing.

Andrew Cherlin talks about private family (our personal families), and public family, which defines the development of further generations. Andrew Cherlin explains the situation from different perspectives: what is the family, what affects it and what is the family atmosphere influenced by? In the first chapter Cherlin thinks of what do changes bring to family, whether evolution is beneficial or not. From modernity perspective Cherlin speaks of nontraditional families, which included divorces, remarriages etc. He explains possible reasons for improper behavior of growing children. Why do they act in one or another way? Cherlin emphasizes that family relationship is of great importance in this way.

From exchange perspective Cherlin admits that sometimes the very structure of the family changes. He analyses dynamic changes in what is considered to be traditional family structure. I mean that in some families, roles of children and parents seem to change. Parents act in a childish way. And children have to bare the burden of parental responsibilities. Cherlin analyses how it affects the child’s psychology and what can be done to improve the situation. On the one hand it is not a big problem, but it still can greatly affect the child’s understanding of life. Specific structure of relationships became a threat to happy family life and can do a lot of harm. The child copies the behavior of parents and acts similarly. However some models of behavior can be rather harmful.

Cherlin’s book gives an impression of a deep research on the problem of domestic violence. It also deals with the children in stepfamilies, indicates problems which children have to face. The situation can’t be improved by the government. Only the strong will of family members themselves can probably do something. Apart from this qualified support of professionals is needed as well. As for perspective from evolutionary psychology, the situation is quite deep. Cherlin writes that escaping from violence at home; children and teenager tend to commit suicide or leave their families and become beggars. But these are the consequences. On the other hand psychologists try to find out the reasons and think over possible ways out.

In conclusion I consider it’s important to say that whatever causes domestic violence, it can’t be justified any way. This topic is still being researched. What way out can be suggested in this situation?

Parents should understand personal responsibility for their children’s happy life. But they should take into account not only their personal views but children’s needs as well. Family is responsible for moral support and formation of self-confidence. On the whole, the problem of domestic violence should be solved not only with the help of psychologists, but parents and their children as well.

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