Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Psychological Aggression Toward Children - The elephant in the room has a name!

This article could be named, "America's dirty little secret." Although it really isn't a secret it is more like the elephant in the room. The elephant in the room is that although we live in a country that professes a passion to Family Values and the Right to Life is that we really and truly don't like children.

I was perusing through research articles looking for one in particular when I found a stack that I had placed to the side to return to one day when I wasn't so focused upon the Infant Massage interest currently holding my focus hostage.

I started this post today to include excerpts from these articles.

A study published in 2003 entitled, " Psychological Aggression by American Parents, National Data on Prevalence, Chronicity and Severity," revealed that "aggression toward children of all ages is so prevalent in American family life that it was found in almost all of the families..."

In this study (991 parents) behaviors such as yelling, screaming, or shouting occurred when parents interacted with their children in an attempt to "discipline." Most of the parents believe that there is no harm in these behaviors as it is not labeled as abuse even though there is no credible (rigorous) evidence in the research to indicate this is true. Most rationalized or justified their behavior as "every parent loses it from time to time," (this article indicates that is probably true at least here in America).

Unfortunately the article ends with the author indicating there needs to be more research that conclusively shows the poor outcomes for children who are raised with aggression and defines the levels of aggression that equate to the particular poor outcome. [National Council on Family Relationships Press Release, Nov. 17, 2003. M. Strauss. 2003. "Psychological Aggression by American Parents: National Data on Prevalence, Chronicity, and Severity." Journal of Marriage and Family.]
In my opinion what the article fails to identify or to name appropriately is "Emotional Abuse." Emotional abuse is when one person attempts to control or overpower another verbally with no regard to the emotional well being of the other person.

"Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse and the Erosion of Identify," by Marie-France Hirigoyen is the first solid reading I have read on identifying (naming) emotional abuse. The author explores emotional abuse in childhood and then proceeds to discuss how the prevalence of emotional abuse is not only acceptable in our society towards children and how we treat each other in our work environments and our adult relationships with others. In other words we do what we know or how we were raised then wonder why these relationships are less than fulfilling. Getting what we want take precedence over respecting others. This might explain why we are building prisons faster than we are schools.

While I am ending here I intend to discuss other longitudinal data and the outcomes of how emotional abuse affects our lives. Check back to this article for further additional research excerpts and discussion.

I end with an invitation to discuss this writing. Please leave your productive comments.

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