Preventing the cycle of abuse from being passed on

PETALING JAYA: Parents who face challenges in raising their children must be willing to admit their problem and reform to prevent them from eventually abusing their children.

Commenting on the recent spate of cases involving parents who allegedly abused their children to death, psychologist and criminologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat said parents must admit that the problem originates from them instead of blaming their children for the abuse.

"Some parents inadvertently abuse their children due to many reasons among others because they can and that no one would dare to interfere with someone else's domestic problems.

"These parents are also unable to differentiate between discipline and abuse and do not know any other way to handle children among others," the lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Kubang Kerian, Kelantan told theSun when contacted, today.

"For the children that survive such abuse, they will tend to suffer long term trauma and continue the abusive behaviour well into the third or fourth cycle of abuse.

"They would tend to seek a spouse or partner who are (as equally) abusive as it is perceived as a way to show love and care. This eventually leads to the development of a dysfunctional family system, transferring of wrong values, roles and responsibilities to name a few," she said.

Meanwhile, consultant psychiatrist Dr Gurdeep Grewal said child abuse cases does not only occur among families with lower socio-economic status.

"Certainly the media highlights cases (physical and sexual abuse) that seem to occur in people from the lower socio-economic class, frequently sensationalising the physical abuse.

"In the higher social class, abuse does happen, but these cases are not picked up by the press. Forms of abuse also include neglect, so in more affluent families, while the physical and material needs are met, the parents themselves may be too caught up with their careers to provide emotional support and nurturing to their children, this is a form of abuse too.

When asked on available treatment to affected parents, Gurdeep said psychiatrists are able to screen for possible psychiatric conditions and treat accordingly should they be able to get these parents into therapy.

Their comments follows the death of a nine-year-old boy believed to be abused by his parents at USJ, Subang Jaya last Friday.

Another case in Kota Tinggi, Johor saw an unemployed woman and her lover being charged at the Sessions Court on Sunday with the murder of her 20-month-old son.