Violence, like charity, often begins at home. The roots and the causes of violent activity in
people's lives frequently lie in their earliest experiences. It is well known that acts of aggression and
assault go from generation to generation, and that dealing with the problems that arise from violent
activities among members of families really means dealing with the familites themselves and
understanding them from generation to generation.
This paper deals wih the violent confrontations that occur in otherwise ordinary appearing
families. Everyone is potentially a victim of someone else's anger, rage, confusion, and fear. It can
start in the earliest days of infancy with mothers who are afraid of children, don't know how to raise
them, feel inadequate to the task and overwhelmed. It continues with parents who don't know how
to control young children, because the children are too active, too energetic, too precocious, or
because the parents allow them to get out of control. Later, violent activities can occur among
children in the same family. Sometimes psychiatrists refer to this as sibling rivalry. Often it is the
kind of violent action that occurs when an argument gets out of hand and one brother hits another,
or one sister destroys another's property. Ultimately, the violence can extend to the children
themselves, who begin to attak their own parents. All of these kinds of violent activities have
causes and, of course, terrible effects. If we can begin to understand the causes, we can begin to
deal with preventing them. There are ways to change people who engage in attacks on other people.
There are sources of help, understanding, and shelter.
Help is available for people who either find themselves in this situation or see friends or
relatives involved in it. Mental health clinics and family guidance clinics exist all over the country,
with trained social workers, mental health workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who have a great
deal of experience with this kind of problem. Many of them are available either free or at minimal
cost because they are sponsored by the United Way or some other agency. The important thing is
to find out where this help is available and to reach out for it. A person who suspects something
owes a responsibility to the child involved as well as to friends or family to take action which, in
the long run, can be the most positive thing he or she ever done.
Many times violence in families is treated by the family as normal. Sometimes it is even
justified as necessary to "control" the behavior of children. This can continue even when children
are adolescents and young adults. The constant assaultiveness of parents eventually is reflected in
more ways than one in the behavior of the battered children.
Teenagers are frequently embarrassed to discuss their difficulties at home and feel "weird"
when they have to reveal things that have happened to them that they know to be out of the ordinary.
One of the big problems is that meny adolescents fear that the battering they receive from their
parents, especially their fathers, is in some way their own fault. They have grown up constantly
being told by their parents that they are bad, "worthless," "selfish," "thoughtless," and a number of
other Robinson 3
negative ideas that are probably not true. Often the terms used against them would better fit their
parents, but the young people are not aware of that. Children grow up surrounded by people who
are two, three, and five times their size. To a child of four or five, parents appear to be giants.
One of the hardest things for young people to realize in dealing with their families is that
their parents are only people after all. Children sometimes see their parents as gaint in a physical
sense and feel at the mercy of these huge creatures. Besides physical size, young...
Cited: Kurland, Morton L. Coping with Family Violence. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group,
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