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Monday, March 30, 2009

What are the possible causes of child abuse?

What, in your opinion, are the possible causes of child abuse?

Most child-abuse victims seem to be children of parents who are too busy earning a living and do not have much time for their children. Also more cases seem to occur in and around big cities like Kuala Lumpur. The rural areas do not generally have this problem.

So child-abuse is less likely to occur in a family where the parents have stable jobs and can spend time with the children. Children really have only a few basic needs. Besides food, shelter and love and care, they do not need anything else. But if any of these are not given, they may become very demanding. In turn the parents may turn on them and this can lead to abuse of the children.

Any parent who is obsessed with his or her work obviously has no time for the children. By the time he or she returns from work, all he or she wants is some rest and not for anyone to bother him or her. A child, who has spent the whole day without the parent, yearns for attention and thus may demand it from the parent. In such a case, which I suspect, occurs in just about every household, the parent will have to be very careful not to let his or her temper loose. So in many cases, the parent may pacify the child with presents or a trip to town to have a drink or a bite to eat – anything for a bit of peace and quietness.

Sometimes however, anger may overwhelm the parent; and he or she releases violence onto the child. If this becomes habitual, then the child will most likely be abused.

In a modern city like Kuala Lumpur, living is not easy. Most have to struggle to make ends meet. So the demands of work is already enough to fray the nerves of the parents. Further demands from the children at home might cause a nervous reaction on the part of the parents.

Some parents, in order to escape from the demands of the children, hand them over to child-minders. This handling over of responsibility does not solve the problem. All too often the minders are suffering the same difficulties of making a living and take on the children to supplement their income. So they are surely not going to be patient with someone else’s children. Child-abuse is the result, often worse than what the parents can mete out.

People living in the country are less prone to child-abuse simply because they do not have the stress of city-living. They are still closer to nature and this has the effect of making life easier and simpler. Children are less demanding as there are less things to demand. So rarely we hear of child-abuse in the villages. Also neighbors know each other pretty well and any abuse that is going on is soon found out. In impersonal cities, the abused victim can get killed and no one might even know.

So perhaps we can take a cue from the country folks. Parents will have to reappraise their priorities. Is making a living the only important thing, or is the welfare of their children of greater importance? Which is more valuable – money in the bank or children who love them in the home? They will have to answer these questions themselves.

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