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Transcript of Dysfunctional Families
Hierarchy of power usually goes from parents to older children to younger children. The parents are in charge of the family decisions, rules, and taking care of the children.
Boundaries are the rules that regulate communication within the family and with the outside world. The boundaries should be clear, but also fair and allow children some freedom. The parents should pay attention to their kids and make sure that they are making good choices.
Alignments are the bonds between the family members. The bond between the parents is very important, as they are the base of the family and the leaders. The parent to child bond is also important to create respect and love between them (McAdams lll). Abuse The child isn’t only affected when they are the victim. If they are seeing it happen, either between their parents or a parent and another sibling, it can negatively affect the child. Watching one family member hurt another family member is not easy for anyone to see or hear. It can lead the child to feel confused and unsafe in their home. If the child doesn’t fully understand what is going on, she may feel jealous of all the attention the parent is giving the other sibling. (Giacobello). In families where there is abuse, it usually comes from the father, but it can also come from the mother or siblings. The common causes for abuse are stress, high expectations, or it is something passed on from generation to generation. An abusive parent cannot control his anger, and instead takes it out on his spouse or his kids through violence or words (Giacobello). If it is verbal abuse, the parent will criticize the child’s looks, intelligence, capabilities, and value. They may do it in a very direct way, or they may disguise it through humor. Either way, it is very wrong and leaves the child feeling worthless and unwanted. After a while, the child will probably start believing what the parent is saying about them, which can lead to much bigger problems such as depression or suicide (Dysfunctional Families). Physical abuse is just as wounding, just in a different way. The line between physical abuse and just a small punishment is a very fine, and sometimes blurry line. When a parent slaps or spanks his child, it is not abuse, but if he punches, kicks, whips, or beats up a child, then it definitely is. This creates an environment of terror at home in which the child constantly feels fear and anxiety. The child will also have a hard time with trust and safety (Dysfunctional Families). Sexual abuse is different than physical and verbal abuse because it is completely for the parent’s gratification. The actions that fall under this category are inappropriate touching, fondling, the showing of pornographic pictures and rape. If the child is told it has to be kept a secret or else there will be consequences, then is sexual abuse. Victims feel worthless, ashamed, and have difficulties with relationships and sexuality into their adulthood (Dysfunctional Families). Neglect is the opposite of the other types abuse because it is not about what the parent is doing to the kid, it is what they are not doing. In severe cases, a parent may not provide the basic needs in order to live: food, water, shelter and clothing (Giacobello). Usually a neglected child is deprived of a healthy childhood where she is loved and given attention. The parent isn’t playing the leadership role and taking care of her child, teaching her right from wrong. While growing up, neglected children learn to become very independent and self-reliant and learn to not trust adults. They also usually have anger towards their parent for not caring (McAdams lll). Numbers... According to a National Institute of Justice study, abused and neglected children were 11 times more likely to engage in criminal behavior as teens, are 2.7 times more likely to be arrested for violent and criminal behavior as an adult, and are 3.1 times more likely to be arrested for one of many forms of violent crime. In a study of young adults who suffered child abuse or neglect, 80% met criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder by age 21, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicide attempts. In a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study of homeless youth, it found that 46% of those surveyed had escaped a home where they suffered physical abuse, and 17% left because of sexual abuse. Young people who were victims of child abuse and neglect are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancies, delinquencies, and to suffer mental health problems. They are more likely to perform lower in school, to engage in high-risk sexual behavior, and to use alcohol and illicit drugs. Facts from the largest provider or domestic violence service in America: Safe Horizon. Divorce The foundation of a family is the relationship between the parents. Most dysfunctional families are started by dysfunctional marriages. Often times, the parents will get a divorce which impacts their children. According to Joyce Knapton 8,919 out of 16,635 divorce cases affect children in Wisconsin. This is roughly 53% of all the cases. In Manitowoc, WI, 58% of divorce cases affect children and teens under the age of eighteen (Knapton).
Different teens react in different ways. It is not uncommon that a teen will feel that they are the reason for the divorce, which is never the case. Some try to take control over the family, some start to doubt that they will be able to maintain a relationship with someone just like their parents couldn’t. Some teens understand why their parents got divorced because they can remember the stress and conflict it caused, and some feel like they have to choose a parent over the other. Overall, teens often feel angry and upset with their parents for splitting the family up. This anger and sadness can result in changes in school performance, changes in friend groups, changes in eating patterns and moodiness (University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension).
These problems can be avoided or improved if the parents make an effort to keep a good relationship with their kids during the divorce. Parents should talk to their kids, especially teenagers and explain to them why they are doing what they are doing. Teenagers are old enough to know what is going on, and they will most times want to know. It is also important for the parents to ask their kids how they feel about what is happening. When this parent child relationship does not occur, the effects of a divorce will be much greater (University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension). Parenting Sometimes, parents cannot help that they are not around a lot because of their job. Single parents have this issue much more than married parents because they are the only ones providing for their family. Ellen Galinsky, author of Ask the Children: What America’s Children Really Think about Working Parents, talks about how many working parents feel guilty for not spending time with their kids. And to make up for it they will take them on trips or buy them a lot of stuff. But after asking children across the country, she found out that parents shouldn’t feel guilty because kids were not mad at their parents for working a lot. Looking back on their childhood, many teens said that it was the little things that made a big difference like their mom waking them up every morning or their dad coming to all their sport games (Sutton). On the opposite end, there are some parents who don’t care as much about their kids doing well. Instead of having high expectations and rules, they don't pay much attention to what their child does. This is usually because the parent themself is acting juvenile and making bad decisions. When parents are poor role models, kids will think that what their parents are doing is okay. When they become teenagers, some people will engage in the same activities their parents are in, which include drugs, alcohol, gambling, and sex (McAdams lll). Although some teens will try to do the exact opposite of their parents because they see what they are doing is wrong and they don’t want to turn into them. Since parents are the base of the family and the leaders, they are expected to do a lot. Sometimes parents go over the top on expectations and rules. When a parent is too controlling and does not allow the child any freedom, the child will not be prepared for when they are on their own and have to make their own decisions. When teens have over controlling parents, they feel angry at their parents and may go behind their backs and rebel against them. In other cases, parents can expect too much from their kids. When parents have unrealistic expectations, teens will often times spend a lot of energy trying to impress their parents. They won’t focus on what they want or what they like, they will just want to try to prove to their parents that they are worth it. If they never accomplish this, teens may have low self-esteem and feel that they let their parents down (McAdams lll). When working parents don’t try to make time for their kids, the kids will not have a good relationship with them. Lots of times teens will try to get their parents’ attention by doing really well or doing bad things. Those who try to do well will focus on school and get good grades or work really hard at a sport or an activity. Those who are on the other end will get in trouble at school or possibly even the law. Some teens will go to extremes to get the attention of their parents (McAdams lll). Help http://www.glogster.com/wuwis/safe-horizon-and-if-given-a-chance/g-6kv2gcagub0ajtak5lmsea0 Even though the issue may seem overwhelming and hopeless, there are things that can be done and are already being done. The main problem with abuse is that it is not always reported. The reason for that is usually the victim is too scared or ashamed to tell anyone. Plus, the parent may tell them that if they do tell, there will be a consequence. If teens have a safe environment with people that they trust and would feel comfortable sharing their problems with, that would help solve the problem. The best place for this is at school. In order for that to happen, teachers and guidance counselors would have to be educated more on dysfunctional families and functional families. Once the knowledge is there, then they can be more understanding and helpful to teens that live in those types of families. Through individual and group counseling, teens could talk about their lives and it would show them that they are not alone. Helping and fixing the problem early on will prevent the long term effects that come with growing up in a bad home (McAdams lll).
Today there are lots of local, national, and global organizations that help with these issues. Across America there are domestic violence shelters, counseling centers, and organizations that use donations to help children and teens. Together they have made a huge impact, yet there are still millions of teens struggling through these issues. If everyone in America was educated on this topic and was aware of what goes on in millions of homes, more people would help the cause. If schools started educating their students on these topics and promoted awareness and help, kids would see that these problems are all around them. Many teens think that since they don’t hear about abuse or alcoholism, that it is not their problem. But it is affecting teenagers just like them throughout cities, America and the world. It is their problem. It is everyone’s problem. No child should have to go through what millions of children are going through each and every day. It may be a slow process, but if more and more people help fight the cause, the millions of dysfunctional homes can turn into functional, happy and safe homes. Alcoholism In America, about 22 million children live in households with alcohol abusing parents. This presents a major problem because growing up in a home where alcohol is abused has many negative effects. Most children and teens are abused by the parent physically, verbally, sexually or all three. In a present study, 43% of the juveniles from alcoholic families scored in the range of child abuse subscale. 68% of those juveniles reported being hit by a parent hard enough to leave a bruise and about a third of them also reported that they were hospitalized as a result of the parent’s abuse. There was also a group of juveniles from non-alcoholic families who were surveyed. Only 21% of them reported being physically abused and none of them reported having to go to the hospital as a result (McGaha).
Teens that live in homes with alcohol abuse, are more likely to have disorders, be expelled from school, drop out of school, be involved with the police and attempt suicide. Teens are also three times more likely to be put in foster homes and twice as likely to get married before they are sixteen. Studies have shown that 80% of all children with alcoholic parents have emotional issues, stress illnesses, hyperactivity and mental illnesses. Studies have also shown that teens with alcoholic parents are more likely to turn into an alcoholic when they are older. An interview with a teen who grew up with an alcoholic father. Works Cited
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