The Relatioship Between Mental Illness and Child Abuse Essay

1925 Words 8 Pages
Child abuse affects millions of children every year. Child abuse is defined as “the hurting or causing harm to a child” (Stewart, 2003, p. 6). Most people do not understand why a parent would want to hurt their children. “The general belief is that parents who maltreat their children are pathological and certainly not like us” (Polonko, 2005). It is not just parents that abuse the children it is also teachers, babysitters, and daycare workers (Stewart, 2003). Lingern (2008) reported the following: Child abuse was not recognized as a serious problem in the United States until the 1960s. The number of cases reported has increased each year since 1976, when statistics were first kept. In 2004 almost 1.9 million child abuse and …show more content…
Many children that are physically abused have unexplained bruises, welts, burns, cuts, bite marks, or fractures. They may also have frequent injuries and may avoid personal contact. Children that are victims of neglect usually have dirty clothing, may be hungry, tired, and may seek affection from an adult, such as a teacher (Lingern, 2008). “Abuse and neglect of children occurs in all types of families regardless of race, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or religious group” (Lingern, 2008). There is no single cause of child abuse. Instead it is the result of many forces, within the family, working towards the destruction of the child’s psyche. The most important thing to remember is that it is never the child’s fault. Three prevalent risk factors for those who abuse children are: parents who were abused as a child, parents that abuse drugs and alcohol, and parents with mental illnesses.
Causes
A common reason that parents abuse their children is because they were abused growing up. “They are the little ones we failed to protect a generation ago” (Polonko, 2005). Adults who were abused as children typically live with much anger and also tend to lack control. Beating and neglecting a child is normal to them and is the only way they know how to deal with children. They may have grown up in an “unhealthy environment, and it is likely that they never learned how to care for a child properly”…