The documentary “Broken Child” explored the lives of people, both children to adults, that have been impacted by drug and alcohol abuse, it also showed children who’ve been affected by violence and neglect. Both types of children have one thing in common, a high likelihood to repeat the mistakes of their parents. Whether they’ve grown up living with one or both parents, are adopted, or live in foster care they are at risk. Factors that impact a child’s life are whether their mother abused drugs or alcohol while pregnant, and if they’ve grown up in difficult living situations, but there are some solutions offered by this documentary.
You’re pregnant,” are the words some people dread, people like teenagers and drug users. Drug users, whose only concern is becoming high and acquiring money for drugs, will not properly care for a child. In some cases mothers continue to abuse drugs and alcohol throughout their pregnancy because they are too addicted to stop. This causes their babies to have defects, mental and psychological problems. Children can be born with damaged brains, and growing up isn’t easy for them. One such child is Jonathan, he’s an eight year old boy who’s had a hard life.
His biological mother was an alcoholic and a drug abuser, when she was in labor she was also drunk. This caused Jonathan to have severe mental and psychological problems, including emotional detachment and violent episodes. He was adopted by Alison and Randy, who are the only people who can control him during an episode. Because of his episodes Jonathan cannot have babysitters, also because he was arrested at the age of seven for holding a knife to a babysitters throat. Jonathan takes many medications to help him control himself and calm down.
This does not, however; mean that Jonathan has broken his family’s cycle. There are signs that show him to still be on the path, such as his thoughts about hurting and even killing himself, or his weakness towards weapons and violence and his impulse to such things. Even though he does not speak to his biological mother or know any relative he is still very damaged in the head.
Showing that it’s not only the environment that impacts a child’s life but their DNA as well. Drug and alcohol abuse are not the only things that can affect a life, exposure to violence and neglect at a young age can create damaging effects ike PTSD, violence towards other people, and a difficulty to learn. Some forms of neglect are undernourished, dehydrated, unchanged diapers, no running water, dirty clothes and children left home alone. When things become unbearable children are taken from their parents by CPS(Child Protective Services) and placed in foster homes. While a foster home may be a better alternative to living at home, sometimes it’s just a meager half step. Foster parents abuse their foster children and in some cases so do the other children in the foster home.
This leads to scared and later angry children who have been set to repeat a negative family cycle. In other situations, there are children, who take care of younger siblings. This occurs when parents are constantly at work or are neglectful. A seven year-old should never have to have the life of another in his or her hands. They are children themselves who should be enjoying their youth. Forcing children into a role of responsibility too big for them at home pushes them to their anger and frustration in other places, such as school.
In school they are just another student, just another name on a desk, just another paper to grade. It’s a place to blend in and become the person they must suppress at home. Full of anger and built up hate these children are prone to fighting which earns them a bad name to teachers who don’t know the whole story. These types of kids mix with PTSD effected children who’ve seen someone die or who are accustomed to multiple gunshots each night as they sleep. A mixing of this proportion means that children don’t focus on school because their too busy picking a fight.
All these causes, foster care, children parents, and violence exposed children, add up to a single effect; the continuation of a negative family cycle. In spite of these long, and seemingly endless cycles of negativity I believe that there is a solution to this problem. That is a school. A school with teachers trained to handle out of control students, with small classes, and with after school activities to keep kids off the streets. The teachers will have smaller class sizes which will allow them to have a better handle on the kids.
Smaller class sizes will also allow teaches to focus on the students more as individuals rather than one of thirty. Teachers will be trained to handle tempers, fights, and outbursts by children. The after school activities will include things such as homework time, crafts time, sports times, and a weekly counseling session for kids who need the help. These programs will ensure that younger children have a place with a good environment after school and that older children stay off the streets and away from drugs, alcohol, and prostitution.
They counseling sessions will be to help stabilize the minds of the children and know when to step in take action. This, to me, seems a good solution because kids are in school for a majority of the day and because things like family counseling will not work on closed minded people. It would be funded by the state, and be a free public school. Children seemed destined to fall into a negative family cycle, but with the right kind of help I believe that can be changed. Children can be born normal, children can enjoy life if only the right steps are taken.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 24 November 2016
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