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Cultural Factors That Predispose to Child Abuse

January 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 196

Man is a social being that is governed by norms and values of the community he is born into. These values make a person and determine how he/she lives and relates with others. There are certain prevalent practices in cultures where child abuse is common. The following are some of these factors:

1. Social acceptance of violence. Different cultures have their strength and weaknesses; however where violent acts are an integral part of the culture, the incidence of domestic violence will be high. Take for instance the Fulani culture where transition from teenage to adulthood is marked by tribe elders whipping young boys on their bare back. The young boy who desires to be considered a mature adult is not expected to flinch on account of pain if he is to be regarded as having passed the test. Men from such background would naturally apply corporal punishment as a means of training their children.

2. Unbridled Materialism Many contemporary societies are in the grip of dehumanizing materialism that promotes selfishness as well as an exploitative social culture that makes incursion into homes. Parents from such background are constantly under stress to achieve their materialist goals in life. Violence against children in their home becomes a byproduct of the stress they are perennially under.

3. Where there are no laws against child physical abuse. Laws meant to protect children against abuse serve as deterrence to parents who might be inclined to physically abuse their children. China, Japan and Sweden are countries that forbid corporal punishment, so the incidence of child abuse is low.

4. Parents and children who spend hours watching violent movies tend to adopt violence as a means of settling scores. Such persons get desensitized about the evils of violence and resort to it when provoked.

5. A culture where it is considered a man's right to beat his wife. In a home where spousal beating occurs often, parents have no qualms abusing their children since it is accepted culturally.

6. Where practices that devalue children are common. Practices such as child labor, giving out teenage girls in early marriage and child trafficking are abusive practices which devalue children. Where children are of little value, physical abuse is very common. In such a society adult responsibilities are placed on children and when they fail, they are punished severely.

7. Wide spread use of alcoholic drinks and easy availability of liquor are factors that increase use of alcohol in the home. Drunken parents lose inhibition and resort to violence at the slightest provocation.

8. Where children have a low status in society and within a family. Where children are lowly regarded, they are meant to be seen but not heard. Societies where honor killing of daughters is rampart for whatever contrived reasons, physical abuse is seen as inconsequential.

9. Where there are no rehabilitation centers for substance/alcohol abusers. That means alcoholics/substance users will keep abusing their children till they run away from home or till child protection services come to their rescue.

10. Where parents do not know effective alternatives to physical punishment, they stick to corporal punishment to effect behavioral change in their children.

11. Cultures that do not have resources for teaching child-rearing skills will have high prevalence of child physical abuse because the parents are totally ignorant of how to handle children and the consequences of physical abuse.

Dr Francis Edo Olotu is the Medical Director of Christ Hospital, Ondo. He is also a family counselor who regularly counsels married persons and administers pre-marriage counseling to couples about to marry in his home church of St John Bosco Catholic Church Ondo. He is a frequently featured speaker in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He is married to Catherine and their marriage is blessed with four children in the age bracket of twelve to twenty two. Dr Olotu is the author of the following books: The Amazing Power in Fatherhood; Releasing the Power in Fatherhood as well as Your Guide to Cancer Prevention.

Source: EzineArticles
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