Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Parent and partner violence in families with young children

The physical and emotional damage caused by family violence is massive. Some people see spanking a child as a form of abuse because it can cause a tremendous amount of emotional trauma. I recently read a journal article that had some astonishing results regarding family violence. They found that physical aggression was highly prevalent in families who had young children. Only 30% of the families reported at least one type of severe aggression; 59% of the children had experienced aggression from both parents. They also found that parents were more likely to engage in physical aggression towards their children than their partner; however, parents use more severe acts of aggression against partners than children. Women were more aggressive to their partner and children than men were. The extent of partner aggression stemmed from previous aggression on them from their partner. Younger parents are expected to have higher levels of aggression present in their families because of the lack of parental experience.
There are several motivators why abuse takes place in a home. Parents are abusive for several reasons. Stress, frustration, anxiety, cruelty, power struggle, accidentally... and it also depends on the type of abuse. Lots of parents have children way too young, and don't know how to take care of themselves, let alone a child. Some parents are on drugs which alters their mental state... or they abuse alcohol. Occasionally you will even see a parent who doesn't seem to have any natural affection for his or her child. None of this to say that child abuse is excusable. It is not. But in general, those are some of the reasons behind it. When you grow up in an environment that is unstable and emotionally or physically abusive, it is hard to stop the cycle.


  1. Since teen pregnancy has continued to be a growing epidemic I believe this problem of family/domestic violence will only get worse. I am not surprised to see that younger parents have higher levels of aggression in their family. I do not see spanking as physical abuse, but anything that leaves a mark should be considered abuse, as well as emotional and mental abuse.

  2. Abuse can truly leave a tragic mark on one's emotional well being, especially children. Some adults may feel that they are young and will not understand what is going on or being said, but children can most deffinitly pick up on abuse, anger and rage, especially as it continues throughout their childhood. We do not realize that how we act or what we say in front of children can leave an impact, but we were equipped with emotional understanding. Children also have a tendency to model behaviours and thus can become abusive themselves.

  3. A parent doesn't have to be young to be abusive, and it's not always the male partner to throw the first punch. Perhaps along with reccommended lamaze classes parents should be encouraged to attend stress management and parenting classes. It's not always addicts that abuse their families, it's also Joe Executive that just doesn't know how to vent his frustration.