Types of Abuse In the Book “Family A Child Called It”
The book “A Child Called It” gives the narrator’s experience of child abuse under the care of his parents, particularly his mother. It is a sad and emotional story of how the narrator endured physical and emotional abuse as well as child neglect, in a home where other kids were treated properly. He was singled out by his mother for what she referred to as shaming the family in a bad performance, and put under series of unimaginable punishments including physical beatings, stabbing, being fed with soap, smashing on the mirror, choking, burning, poisoning using strong chemicals such as ammonia and rotten food, cold treatment using cold bath tab, and exposure to gas fumes in a locked bathroom among other inhuman treatments (Pelzer, 1995).
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David also experienced serious emotional abuse. His mother never referred him by his name. She either regarded him as the boy or ‘it’. He was isolated from the rest of the family and was supposed to carry out all chores in the house, living in pathetic conditions in the garage in the basement. He experienced numerous events of name-calling, being labeled useless and bad boy, being forced to chant negative affirmations that resulted in self-hate, and feeling worthless. He was always yelled at, teased, bullied even by his brothers under the supervision of their mother, and at school. He was also exposed to parents’ fights where he was forced to apologize for his father’s mistake as he was always blamed for any disagreement or ill behaviors of his parents (Pelzer, 1995).
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David also experienced a high level of child neglect. He was denied food for days even after being forced to do all the house chores at a record time. The mother preferred throwing the food into the dustbin, sometimes treating it with chemicals to ensure that David does not retrieve it to feed himself. He was denied good clothes and mostly wore his clothes until they were rugged. He had to get permission to use basic amenities such as a toilet or to take a shower. He mostly lived in a garage without proper bedding facilities. He mostly suffered chilled mornings, with hunger. The mother even denied him proper healthcare after stabbing him in the stomach. His living condition was wanting, as he was treated worse than a dog. He was forced to run to and from school every day as others were driven. He had a time limit for everything and failure to meet it would mean more beating or any other weird punishment which included being forced to eat his baby brother’s feces in a diaper among, other bad treatment (Pelzer, 1995).
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Risk Factors for the Child and Family Members in the book Family A Child Called It
Child abuse has several risk factors for the child and other family members. In this case, the abuse was killing the child’s true emotions. He failed to get love to an extent that he had no love to give. He hated everyone and would wish all people suffering. The abused threatened to kill humanity in him. He ended up seeing the world at a tilted position, losing the reality of life. The child was also developing serious psychological conditions which included lack of care about anything including the pain, lack of regard to God, and prayers. He could improve his stealing skills and plan based on circumstance. The abuse also risks destroying the child’s life forever (Barnett, Miller-Perrin & Perrin, 2010).
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It interferes with the child’s concentration in class, and also aid in distorting the child’s image in society, especially at school. The labeling affirmed negative characters and images, which he was no longer concerned about changing. He got used to being treated worse than an animal by almost everyone. It also denied her proper clothing, cleanliness, and hygiene, making him look suspicious to people (Pelzer, 1995). Without family protection, he was labeled and mishandled even outside. This negative perception created a risk of destroying his future completely. The negative image also made him appear as a bad boy rather than an abused child, limiting chances of his rescue.
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The abuse also created a risk of destroying the family cohesion. David’s father was initially not in support of his punishments. This resulted in daily arguments and fights between the parents. As mistreatments continued, David’s father lost the willpower to fight. He stopped saying anything, but the situation at home made him ashamed as a father, and eventually lost the need to be in the family. At an older age, there was also a risk that the brothers would hate their parents for their brother’s experience. This risked complete family disintegration. The abuse was wrong teaching to other kids. The mother taught other kids hatred toward their brother. They initially could pity him but eventually, they joined in to punish him. This created a risk cycle of mistreatment for some of their children in the future. With David and her husband’s absence, the other children also run a risk of being treated with cruelty as the mother always needed someone to use to release her anger. This created a risk of cycle abuse in the family and the establishment of psychologically unstable children with a skewed view of life.
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Also, the punishment was not administered on the right basis. Punishment is meant to reinforce or discourage the behavior. When one is punished for no good reason, punishment loses its meaning. The other members of the family had a risk of not understanding the right meaning of punishment and hence it would be hard to correct their bad behaviors in the future (Barnett, Miller-Perrin & Perrin, 2010). Abuse also created a risk of parent imprisonment and disentanglement of the family, especially when the physical punishment was excessively severe. This could have resulted in the loss of the family breadwinner and caregivers in the family, leaving the kids’ future on shaky ground.
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Critical Part that was challenging to read through based on Morals, Values, and Beliefs
Various parts of the book were quite challenging to read. The book is full of cruelty that is likely to invoke sympathy and emotions in the reader. The general mother’s treatment of one of the children was awful. Children have different learning abilities at different ages. Imagining that David earned all his title as a bad boy who is out to shame the family due to his performance was shameful. This is against a child’s education morals, values and beliefs. Forcing the child to repeat classes, shaming him, and putting him under serious series of punishment, affirming negativity degraded the value of education. Children need differentiated instructions to meet their points of academic needs not punishment for different levels of growth. The administration of physical punishment and abuse was quite hard to read from the point when the mother forced soap into David’s throat, to gas chamber treatment in the bathroom, burning him on the stove, forcing him to eat feces, feeding him with soap and ammonia, stabbing him, and cold treatment they all invoked an unimaginable level of empathy (Pelzer, 1995).
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No human should be treated as David was, especially not by a mother. A mother has the role of loving, caring, and protecting her children. The act was against any human moral, values, and beliefs of how parents should handle their children. The worse scenario was denying the child food for days while disposing of food in a dustbin. This went against all humans teaching in the world. It was wasteful and against any religious values, morals, and beliefs. Kindness is a virtue. No human should dispose of food while there are hungry people at their disposal. The worst part was imagining the father and the brothers could watch this in silence. This was quite annoying, especially portraying the father as helpless in the entire situation. He had all powers to help but he opted to support his cruel wife for “the peace of the family”. This was against family values, morals, and beliefs. A family is meant to protect each other no matter what. At no time should members stomach cruelty silently (Barnett, Miller-Perrin & Perrin, 2010). The brothers could have reported to the teachers. The father could have stopped it in so many ways. But they accepted David’s mistreatment all along.
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How the Case Might have Been Handled Differently after the Enactment of the Child Abuse Laws of 1974
The Child Abuse Laws of 1974 imposed special protection of kids against abuse, discrimination, and exploitation. The laws offer serious penalties for child abuse and neglect. It also demands mandatory reporting of suspected abuse and devises various ways to report child abuse and specific roles to specific people in authority to protect children from abuse. If the law was enacted, the school teachers and nurses would be expected to report child abuse and neglect with the first incidences that confirmed there was abuse taking place. The abuser and other supporters of the abuse would be arrested and prosecuted for the abuse. In this case, other than just rescuing David from his abusive mother, the mother could have been arrested and charged with child abuse Committee on Child Maltreatment Research, Policy, and Practice for the Next Decade: Phase II et al., 2015). The father could also have been arrested for concealing the crime. The action could have happened earlier. With the Child Abuse Laws of 1974, David could not have waited for so long before he was rescued. The damage could not have extended for so long. The mother and the father could also have paid for their misdeeds or failure to act as per the law.
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