At this very moment, there are three sisters sitting on a street corner somewhere, begging for food, all because their parents have abandoned them. There is a teenage boy in the city who is running away from home because his dad hits him and he has had enough. There is a five-year-old girl standing in the kitchen of her two-bedroom house, making mac n cheese. She wonders why mommy is in prison and daddy never comes home. A childhood spent lost, alone, abused, and neglected could be the beginning of the path to a life of failure. Being deprived of one’s most basic needs such as food, shelter, and security can ruin someone’s whole entire life... but only if they let it. It is hard to overcome a painful childhood. It is hard to rise above the sorrow. It is extremely difficult to become successful after such a childhood, but it is possible if one has enough emotional strength and determination to make their life better (Kendall-Tackett).
So, how does it feel to be unable to depend on anyone? Jeannette Walls knows. She grew up being relocated from town to town, with no sense of security or belonging. Her father was an alcoholic, and her mother was an eccentric, impulsive woman. They frequently neglected her and her siblings, and drug them along on their wild escapades. The parents were there when they could somehow benefit from their children, but never when the kids desperately needed them. After Jeannette and her family settled down in a bad neighborhood in the town of Welch, she moved to New York City and eventually found somewhere where she was happy. Her parents, however, ended up homeless and living entirely off of other people’s resources. (Walls)
Children learn a lot from their parents. Studies show that children coming from broken homes are five times more likely to have mental health issues (Fagan). In addition, children of divorce are much more likely to get divorced later in their life (Hughes). 25% of alcoholics are also the children of alcoholics. Alcoholism also has a huge effect on family systems. The kids may be forced to take over the jobs and responsibilities of the parents and become self-sufficient. They sometimes have to grow up too fast and never get to have a ‘normal’ childhood (How Does Parental Drug Abuse Affect Children?). They do not rely on anyone to provide for them, and instead become independent at a very early age. This leaves them trying to guess what ‘normal’ is, harshly judging themselves, and having trouble with intimate relationships (The Effects of Parental Alcoholism on Children) This is shown in the book, The Glass Castle. Both Jeannette and her brother, Brian, have trouble with their relationships throughout their adulthood. Further, they each went through a divorce (Walls). A majority of children of alcoholics also have trust and abandonment issues, and constantly seek approval from those around them (Gold). Infamous people such as Adolf Hitler, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Jack the Ripper were raised in single-parent households (Wisdom). Three of Hitler’s siblings died as children, and he lost his father when he was only thirteen years old. He had dreams of becoming an artist, but was rejected from art school. When he was nineteen, his mother passed away as well. At that time, he lived on the streets for awhile before joining the military and sustaining several injuries. Eventually, Hitler led the Nazi party into killing 6 million people simply because they were Jewish. He survived an assassination attempt shortly before he and his wife, Eva, committed suicide together (Rosenberg). Hitler may have ended up one of the most notorious human beings ever known, but should he receive all of the blame? He had a rough life. Would it have been possible for this man, or the others, for that matter, to overcome these obstacles? There is no right or wrong answer to this question. There is strong evidence on both sides of the argument. The pain of experiencing abuse and neglect throughout one’s...
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