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Child Abuse and Neglect

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Child Abuse and Neglect

Mother got up and strolled over to the kitchen sink. She knelt down, opened the sink cabinet and removed a bottle of ammonia. I didn't understand. She got a tablespoon and poured some ammonia into it. My brain was too rattled to think. As much as I wanted to, I could not get my numbed brain into gear.

With the spoon in her hand, Mother began to creep towards me. As some of the ammonia sloshed from the spoon, spilling onto the floor, I backed away from Mother until my head struck the counter top by the stove. I almost laughed inside. "That's all? That's it? All she's going to do is have me swallow some of this?" I said to myself.

I wasn't afraid. I was too tired. All I could think was, "Come on, let's go. Let's get it over with." As Mother bent down, she again told me that only speed would save me. I tried to understand her puzzle, but my mind was too cloudy.

Without hesitation I opened my mouth, and Mother rammed the cold spoon deep into my throat. Again I told myself this was all too easy, but a moment later I couldn't breathe. My throat seized. I stood wobbling in front of Mother, feeling as if my eyes

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were going to pop out of my skull. I fell on the floor, on my hands and knees. "Bubble!" my brain screamed. I pounded the kitchen floor with all my strength, trying to swallow, and trying to concentrate on the bubble of air stuck in my esophagus. Instantly I became terrified. Tears of panic streamed down my cheeks. After a few seconds, I could feel the force of my pounding fists weaken. My fingernails scraped the floor. My eyes became fixed on the floor. The colors seemed to run together. I began to feel myself drift away. I knew I was going to die. (Pelzer 74-75).

This story is a typical example of some of the things that thousands of children go through daily, abuse and neglect from parents, love-ones, and guardians. In 1994 it was reported that over three million children were abused and neglected in the United States. Of the three million cases an estimated 1, 271 children were reported and confirmed by the Child Protective Service (CPS) to have died as a result of abuse and neglect. Approximately three children died each day as a result of abuse and neglect. (National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse). What causes child abuse and neglect? There are many factors that cause child abuse and neglect. The parent factor states that parents who have been abuse physically, sexually, or emotionally or were neglected, as children will do the same to their children. Stress plays a major role in the parent factor. Overly stressed parents often take their frustrations out on their children. Alcohol and drug abuse also play a major role in the parent factor. Another factor is the child factor. It states that some children are more vulnerable to abuse or neglect than others from parents or guardians due to their age, size, emotional stability, as well as their social

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development. A third factor is the family factor states that the situations that occur in the family can increase the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. That was the case with young Dave from the above passage. Because his mother no longer got the attention she needed from his father she began to take out her anger and frustrations on him. Finally, the environmental factor states abuse and neglect is often caused by a combination of the previous three factors (U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources). When dealing with the issue of child abuse and neglect several questions are often raised: when does disciplining a child turn into child abuse, what happens to these children that survive the abuse and neglect, and is there a solution to stopping child abuse?

Whenever the issue of child abuse and neglect is raised, the statement is often made that I have the right to discipline my child however I see fit. Parents often feel that disciplining their children is a right that they have. My mother would often tell me, "I brought you into this world and I sure will take you out." Now days the government tells the children that if their parent or guardian put their hands on them the children have the right to call the police on the parents. This leads to the question when is it okay and how do I discipline my child? Children should only be disciplined to let them know that their actions or behavior in a certain situation was not acceptable. There are many ways to discipline a child. One way is to put the child in time out when they have done something wrong. This method often works better with younger children. Another method is to take away something that is valuable to the child. For example, taking away a favorite toy or some type of privilege (e.g. phone calls, television, video games). These

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are two methods that have proven to be effective in disciplining children. However, there is one method that is a little more effective, that is spanking the child. A spanking is only

given to a child as a last resort to let them know that what they did was wrong and they are not to do it again. So when does spanking become abuse? Spanking becomes abuse when it is no longer used as a disciplining method, but as a way for the parent to vent out or is vital to the health of the child. When a parent begins to use their child as a punching bag or as a way to release anger, then it becomes abuse. When parents starve children because they did not finish their chores fast enough or calls them stupid and dumb, that is abuse. Child discipline becomes abuse when the situation becomes vital to the health and well being of the child. No child should have to deal with any type of abuse from a parent or guardian, not physically, mentally or emotionally. However, parents and guardians should discipline their children in the right way. When a child is disciplined (in the right way) it teaches them right from wrong and makes them a better person, but knowing how to discipline determines the difference between discipline and abuse.

Different types of abuse have different effects on children later in life. A child that is physically abuse can suffer stunted growth of a limb, becoming handicap and brain damage. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, neurological disorders (problems with the neurons in the brain) are evident in children who have suffered physical abuse. It also causes problems with the cognitive functions of the brain. In other words physical abuse can cause sever brain



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