Violence is something that children have seen too much of, whether it be in or out of the home. Violence is on the television, in movies, in songs, in the news, and in video games. For the purpose of this paper I would like to look at a point made in Weissbourd's The Vulnerable Child and some points from an article titled "Are there Gender Differences in Sustaining Dating Violence? An examination of Frequency, Severity, and Relationship satisfaction". in the Journal of Family Violence, Vol. 17, No. 3, September 2002 which discusses violence between men and women in dating relationships. After studying both these pieces I've come to understand that a child's witness to violence at a young age can affect their feelings towards violence as an adult. Weissbourd addresses different issues about children and violence.
One that seemed intriguing to me is how he points out that the way children cope with violence depends on their parents own ability to cope with violence. With this idea in mind one can come to the theory that if someone lived in a home in which domestic violence was a norm, then it is a good chance that their home might contain domestic violence, and their children will also be in a situation in which domestic violence will be accepted. In "Are there Gender Differences in Sustaining Dating Violence?" Jennifer Katz, Stephanie Kuff el, and Amy Coblentz point out that violence in relationships can depend on the length of the relationship. During this particular study it was found that in a more serious and committed relationship it is men that tend to be more violent, as opposed to women being the aggressors in less serious, newer relationships.
So with this new added information it can be assumed that if spousal abuse was present in a marriage then in more cases than not it is the husband that is the antagonist. This is not in every instance, but according to this theory in the periodical a husband is more likely to be the aggressor rather than the wife. So if a child were to grow up in home where dad is physically abusive to mom then it is a good chance that their children will become somewhat numb to the idea of spousal abuse. A son might not feel that the effects of spousal abuse are really as bad as it is. The reality of domestic violence has been somewhat sugarcoated from the child's early subjection to it.
This whole theory is very interesting to me because my uncle (by marriage) physically abused my aunt. She's had a hard time with it and I would like to know if his past might have anything to do with his ability to raise his hand. He grew up in Watts located in Los Angeles. The area itself was considered ghetto and violent. From stories it has been said that his home life was no better. His mother admitted to my aunt that she too had been victim to spousal abuse.
She actually used this as excuse for her son's behavior because he had grown up watching his father do it. At the time that he mistreated my aunt their two children watched. I wonder if they too, especially their son, will decide that this is okay behavior for a man. I also worry that their daughter will believe that it is acceptable if she ever is treated this way. It seems that the idea of domestic abuse lost some of its harshness as my uncle was exposed to it as a child, so I can only assume that unless we instill in their children's head that physical abuse is not okay they will become numb to its effects. In conclusion I realize the importance of sheltering children.
Not complete sheltering, but give them the knowledge to understand that abuse is not the only way to handle a situation. We need to teach all children that they should not provoke fights or feel that they deserve any violence imposed on them. If we sit around and keep exposing children to this tremendous violence they will never fully understand the harsh reality to it. If parents themselves can't understand to the full extent the dangers of spousal abuse, then they will never be able to give a real explanation to their children. So is there some chain that has been started that will never end? Or will the next generation of children be able to teach themselves these moral issues.