Abused children eventually become problem adults who are a burden to society. Recent studies reveal the significance of parenting in the cross-generational transmission of aggressive or problem behavior up to three continuous generations. Stable evidence has long recognized and documented the negative effects of aggressive or harsh and inconsistent parenting and identified the need for interventions that would foster better parenting skills. These new findings provide the direct link between the incidence of child abuse and the emergence of problem behavior later in life. Child abuse may be physical, emotional, sexual or through neglect.
Child Protective agencies received and investigated three million reports of maltreatment of close to four million children in 1999, 54% of which were due to neglect. But because most of the victims were too young and too afraid to speak out, these agencies believed that the actual incidence was greater than reported. While it occurred in all social, ethnic and income groups, child abuse was most common among poor, under-educated and dysfunctional families and committed mostly by parents themselves who were young, unmarried or separated, lonely and coping with life’s stresses but not criminal or psychotic.
Un-addressed incidence of child abuse increases the risk of criminality, academic failure and failed social relationships in later life. Present literature presents conclusive findings that parent-toddler relationship directly affects the toddler’s problem behavior, with deviant or aggressive maternal behavioral attitudes crossing and spanning three continuous generations from grandmother to the child .
A study offers significant evidence that angry, aggressive parenting strongly influences the development of aggressive behavior in adolescence through social learning and often results in unsatisfactory romantic and marital relationships and conditions. Findings also show that financial distress and improper parenting produce problem behavior n children and that poor or injurious maternal attitudes lead to it. Antisocial and violent behavior in children and adults is also seen as the consequence of birth complications and certain biological factors when combined with a negative home atmosphere.
Family relationships strongly affect a child’s self-esteem and the impact often remains through life. Collusion among siblings also contributed to the development of faulty behavior in children who were abused at home. Boys were more affected by peer rejection and girls, by low academic performance Abused preschoolers often came from low-income families and exhibited at least one antisocial behavior each day in class.
Most of these children were African-American who suffered from guilt and self-blame but most mothers of both problem and non-problem children viewed their children in similar ways . Popular myths conduce to wrong beliefs and must be guided by scientific knowledge. And despite much knowledge and effort, there remains the need for consistent and thorough mechanisms that will confront the issue and arrest the causes or conditions in preschool age right at the family and in the community.
Subjects and participants in the studies included parents of children with problem behavior, adolescent parents, grandmothers of problem children, other family members with a target child at high risk for sibling collusion, mothers of non-problem children, respondents to 39 studies of biosocial interactions, demographic sub-groups (such as African-Americans) and normative samples of preschoolers exhibiting antisocial behavior. Child mistreatment or abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or in the form of neglect.
Neglect was the most common type and the perpetrators were mostly parents who themselves were abused as children. Irritable and aggressive parenting led children to grow up into unstable, under-controlled adolescents and adults with troubled relationships, families and parenting in later life. This type of parenting passed from the first to the third generations through the behaviors of the children who learned and engendered them mainly from their mothers’ own behaviors.
This antisocial behavior that began from home increased the risk of criminality, academic failure and social relationship problems. Financial stress had a strong impact on parenting quality that transmitted antisocial behavior from generation to generation Four studies directly showed and reinforced earlier findings of this intergeneration transmission, demonstrated by preschoolers at least once daily in class. These preschoolers came mostly from low-income families, most boys influenced by peer rejection and most girls, by low academic performance.
Sibling collusion and biosocial factors aggravated and reinforced the formation of antisocial behavior from children who were abused. Mistreated African-American children experienced more guilt and self-blame than Caucasian children. Common beliefs about children’s misbehavior also clashed with scientific knowledge. All conditions pointed to the need for adequate mechanisms of early intervention that would consistently and thoroughly address the problem or question at the crucial preschool age of children . Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child.
About half of all cases of child abuse involve neglect, committed most often by the child’s own parents, other family members and caretakers, such as teachers, babysitters, other children or even strangers. Once viewed as a minor social problem, child abuse caught closer notice from the media, law enforcers and professionals and, since then, figures began to go up. But authorities claimed that actual figures could only be higher than these, because abuses on children were more often hidden and the victims were too young and too afraid to report the crime.
Child protective agencies investigated three million reports on the mistreatment of nearly four million children in 1999 and found that 54% of these were cases of neglect. They also discovered that a child was often a victim of more than one form of abuse, that it occurred more in low-income than high-income families with little education, among young mothers, single-parent families and in families where the parents were alcohol or drug-dependent. Investigations revealed that 90% of these parents, however, were neither criminal nor mentally unstable, but were lonely, young, single parents with unwanted pregnancies.
Some or many of them were themselves abused as children, but statistics show that most abused children did not grow up to become abusive parents. Behavioral experts pointed to the lack of parenting skills, unrealistic expectations of children’s behavior and capabilities, social isolation and family conflicts as additional factors that contribute to child abuse, which they perceived as the parents’ coping response to their situation. The agencies’ 1999 investigations showed that 75% of perpetrators were the parents themselves and those involved in the care of these children.
Physical abuse is the deliberate bodily injury on a child, most often a male (Black 2004). Earlier studies showed that 24% of all confirmed cases of child abuse were physical. The abuse is sexual if the child has not yet attained the age of legal consent and the abuse is performed for the sexual gratification of the abuser. The act may include sexual touching, intercourse, exposure of sexual organs or viewing pornography. In many sexual child abuse cases, the abuser was not a stranger or related to the child and one in five was under the age of legal consent himself or herself (Black).
Reports also said that 20-25% of the cases were female and 10-15% were male who were sexually violated by age 18 (Black). Emotional abuse, on the other hand, consists of acts of rejection, ignoring, criticizing, isolation, or terrorizing of a child, which results in his or her loss of self-esteem. These are verbal assaults, which reject, belittle or use a child as a “scapegoat. ” Emotional abuse is the least reported because it often accompanies the other types and the hardest to prove And neglect is the failure to provide for the child’s basic needs, whether physical, emotional or the lack of sustenance.
Neglect accounted for 52% of all investigated reports of child abuse in 1996. Abusive parents physically afflict their child when they lose control even for normal actions like crying or a change in diapers. Non-abusive parents may at times get angry or upset, but remain genuinely loving, in contrast with abusive parents who harbor deep-seated hostility towards the child. Physical abuse can be suspected with the common signs, such as burns, bruises, bone or skull fractures. Death from physical abuse, such as the shaken baby syndrome, was among the leading causes for children less than a year old.
Studies revealed that physical abuse changed children’s behavior in many ways. Psychological experts maintained that sexual abuse constituted sexual arousal in a child and the child’s willingness to act on it, conditioned by alcohol, drugs or the misconception that there was nothing wrong about the act. There were greater chances of sexual abuse if the child was developmentally disabled or vulnerable some way. This type of abuse was often discovered when genital or anal injuries or abnormalities, including the presence of sexually transmitted disease, were noticed in a child.
Behavioral signs included anxiety, poor school performance, suicidal tendencies or attempts, excessive masturbation and an unusually sexualized behavior often gave sexual abuse away. Emotional abuse was often detected with the loss of self-esteem, sleep disturbance, headache or stomach ache, school absenteeism and leaving home. Neglect develops from a parent’s negative feeling towards a child or the parent may truly care but is unable to provide for the child’s needs because of the parent’s depression, drug dependence, mental handicap or other problems.
Findings said that neglected children did not receive sufficient nourishment or emotional and mental stimulation and this lack hampered their normal physical, social, emotional and mental development. Underweight, delayed language skills and emotional instability were among the consequences. Doctors, social workers, other professionals, child welfare agencies and the police conducted physical and psychological examinations and interviews of abused children. Reporting to the authorities, treating the child’s injuries and protecting him or her from further harm were primary measures in child abuse cases.
These authorities could then evaluate if moving the child to another willing and qualified relative or a foster family would be in the best interests of the child, whether long or short-term Further investigation could reveal that the child’s siblings were abuse victims themselves, as reports found that about 20% of siblings were child abuse victims themselves. These children wre observed to perform poorly in school, develop antisocial personality or behavior, or turn to drugs or alcohol, try suicide or become emotionally unstable in adulthood.
Parents’ mistreatment or abuse of their own children leads these children to form antisocial or problem behavior as adolescents and as adults. Previous and recent studies presented substantial evidence that angry, abusive and aggressive parental behavior spill over to these children up to three generations through social learning. These behaviors, therefore, directly influence the different social behaviors and relationships of their children in adolescence and adulthood. Parents’ anger, hostility or emotional support essentially determines if a child will be a supportive or rejecting adolescent.
Hostility towards parents and an adolescent conclusively predicts problematic romantic and family relationships later in his or her life. These latter studies also demonstrated that parenting in the first generation directly affected the bond between parents and child, one of the most important human bonds in life. This study offered evidence of intergenerational continuity wherein aggression in youth is often followed by aggressive parenting. That kind of parenting, in turn, appears to contribution to aggression in children.
This particular study expounded on the utter significance of parenting in the intergenerational transmission of antisocial or problem behavior. It also explained how normative approval of aggression, aggressive fantasies and verbal aggression maintain aggressive behavior through time. Still another study focused on the transmission of problem behavior from parents to toddlers, its appearance in preschool and how it affects academic performance. It found that the characteristics of parent-child relationships tended to continue or replicate themselves across generations.
It showed that a grandmother or mother who was cold or dissatisfied exercised inappropriate control, which was characterized by conflict. This behavior model was copied by adolescent children who repeated it towards their own. The study added that the kind of behavior the grandmother towards the parent increased the probability of impulsiveness, rebelliousness, irresponsibility and other psychological problems in adolescent and the eventual parent-child relationship. This last study likewise explained how hostile maternal behaviors go through a cycle of intergenerational continuity.
It suggested that aspects of parent-child relationships passed from generation to generation. They, thus, served as direct models of behavior and indirectly influenced the development of personality traits, which characterized the relationship. Parent-child relationship was an important mediator between the parents’ characteristics and those of the child. The study suggested that reducing the risk of transmission in the first two generations would reduce the risk between the next two.
The search for the connection between early childhood trauma or child abuse and the development of problem behavior later in life brought to light significant evidence of social and biological processes, which appeared to predispose children to antisocial behavior. This included of birth complications, a negative home environment of violence, hormones, neurotransmitters, toxins and drugs as having an impact on the development of problem behavior when the home environment or relationship reinforced their biologic effect.
Still another study examined the level of intergenerational transmission and how financial distress and the parenting style affected the transmission. From interrogations and observations, it found that antisocial behavior of both parents had similar impact on their children and that parents who were more consistent and warm had lower development levels of antisocial behavior in their children. Fathers’ antisocial behaviors and mothers’ parenting had the strongest effects on children’s latter development of problem behavior and improper parenting style.
Parallel studies discovered that preschoolers from economically disadvantaged families had a higher risk of developing antisocial behavior. The studies on preschool respondents said that 30% of those with misbehavior belonged to lower economic classes as compared to only 3% to 6% in higher economic classes. The preschoolers from lower economic classes also tended to develop lower or slower language ability levels and poorer social skills. They also developed bad temper and temperament, which would become worse when their families confronted financial stressors and limited resources.
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