Psychological Self-Help

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affair. In chapter 10, date rape is covered as unfortunate part of the dating
process. As you can see, abuse truly comes in many different forms. 
Child abuse
Please note that most young parents (maybe 90%) have occasional thoughts about
hurting, dropping, or mistreating their infant or young child. Most parents realize
these are just passing thoughts—sort of “mental noise”—that prompt them to be
more attentive and careful with their baby. Some parents, however, become very
concerned about these thoughts, which may become obsessive, especially if the new
parent tends to be “obsessive-compulsive” anyway. For a worried new parent, this is
a dreadful condition, but actually, while the worries about possibly hurting your child
may become obsessive, distressing, and can’t be stopped, such parents are usually
not likely to harm their infant, especially if it is their biological baby. Of much higher
risk of doing harm is the parent who becomes seriously psychotic, such as with
postpartum depression or a bipolar disorder with delusions. The psychotic mother,
like Andrea Yates, may not think their disturbed thoughts are abnormal and may
believe the thoughts are real, i.e. that God is telling them to hurt their child or that
their fantasies of harming the child are really happening, not delusions. It is critical
that a mother suffering a serious psychosis get professional help right away and stay
in therapy until the situation is well under control. A self-help organization provides
( (Colino, S., Scary thoughts—It’s normal for new
parents to worry their baby may face harm. Washington Post, March 7, 2006)
Based on a large sample (over half of all crimes reported in Canada
between 1998 and 2003), children and teens were the victims of 21% of all
28,000 physical assaults. Three fifths of all 9,000 reported sexual assaults
were on a child or youth under 18. The most dangerous year (in terms of
homicide) for a child was his/her first year. Two thirds of their murderers
were family members; more than 50% were their fathers; 32% their
mothers; and 9% other family members. About 1,300 of the younger ones
(US infants less than 1 year) died from brutal physical force, often Shaken
Baby Syndrome (more boys than girls). The killers’ motives for aggression
with the younger children were “frustration” and with teens 14 to 17 the
circumstances were “an argument.” Violence at home often runs young
people into the streets, where even more violence awaits them. Between 14
and 17, youth are more likely to be assaulted by a peer or a stranger.
Between 6 and 13 the most dangerous time of day is 3 PM to 7 PM. The
report says the best way to reduce violence against children and youth is by
teaching non-violent parenting. (Mascoll, P., April 21, 2005, in Toronto Star,
Sex abuse usually targets children; 60% of the time victims are under 18,
StatsCan reports.)
Physical abuse, as it is written about in classic myths, is meted out by an evil
step-parent or by a cruel stranger. Many people also believe sexual abuse is
the most common kind of abuse. Research (Mary Marsh, National Council for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Children--Nov, 2000) shows that those myths are
wrong. Actually, serious physical abuse is seven times more common (1 in 14
children) than sexual abuse (of course, sexual abuse may be easier to hide).
Also, birth parents are more likely to be violent than step-parents; however,
live-in boyfriends pose a high risk to the child. Mothers are more likely to be
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