Child Abuse & Erik Erikson Thesis

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Child abuse no doubt hampers the victim's personality growth and development, as backed out by various publications, studies and research. During these formative years, we are delicate and breakable. Our environment and our relationships either make or break us. The aggressive, apathetic or withdrawn behavior can be traced to feelings that they hardly anyone can be trusted, or that they are inferior to others. All these are residual effects that linger on even long after they were abused or maltreated in the past (Oates, 1984).

But it is also important to note that while most child abuse victims succumb to maladaptive personality development patterns, there are also a remarkable few who manage turn their lives around and take the 'other path,' as Erikson would have put it. In a study on the personality development of victims of child abuse by Oates (1984), it was noted that because they were often left to fend for themselves, some victims developed some of the social skills in the social maturity scale. One such example was an 8-year-old child who was forced by her circumstances to fend for herself because her parents would not look after her.

Child welfare workers have varied approaches in treating in dealing with domestic violence cases, specifically those who are victims of child abuse.

It is recognized that a child is in a compromised situation if he or she continues living with his or her abusive family. The situation may become even more aggravated if intervention involves a roundtable talk among the caseworker, child abuse victim and abusive parents or family members. It is more likely to endanger the victim and to contribute to maintaining silence. In the presence of the violent partner, for example, a woman and her children are likely to hide and deny the violence. If they find the courage to disclose their experience of violence, they may be at risk of suffering even more severe violence, and the cycle goes on and on (Wodraski, et al., 1995).
Most child welfare workers agree that individual meetings with the victim and separate meetings with the adult in custody work best at most cases (Wodraski, et al., 1995). During these meetings, it is imperative to make the child feel he is any less adequate than others and that his or her painful ordeal did not make him any less of a person. Bringing out the child's confidence in his or herself and fostering him or her to trust other people is central to his or her recovery.

Placement of a child can is often considered, but only as a last resort, when most intervention and talks have seemed to fail.


Administration for Children & Families of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Child Maltreatment Report 2003. Retrieved November 23, 2008 at (as cited in Suprina and Chang, 2005)

Burger, Jerry (2005). Personality. Singapore: Thomson Asia Pte. Ltd.

Harder, a. (2002). The Developmental Stages of Erik Erikson. Retrieved November 23, 2008 at

Hitchcock, R, a, (1987), Understanding physical abuse as a life-style. Individual Psychology: The Journal of Adierian Theory, Research & Practice,43(1).

Legal Information Institute. (2003). Child Abuse Prevention and TreatmentAct. Retrieved January 6, 2004, at http://www4,law, (as cited in Suprina and Chang, 2005).

National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect. (2003). Child maltreatment 2001: Summary of key findings.Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesAdministration for Children and Families Children's Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2004, at (as cited in Suprina and Chang, 2005)

Oates, R.K. (1984) Personality Development After Child Abuse. Archives of disease in childhood. Vol. 59, 1989.

Suprina, J. And Chang, C. (2005), Child Abuse, Society, and Individual Psychology: What's Power Got to Do with it? The Journal of individual Psychology. Vol. 61,….....

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