(6) History of mental illness or criminal activity. Although not all child
abusers are mentally ill, those who are mentally ill do sometimes abuse their children.
Individuals engaged in criminal activity may have been abused as children themselves.
Additionally, the force of laws against child abuse is no deterrent to the child abuser
who is involved in criminal activity.
(7) Rigid/unrealistic expectations of the child. Some parents expect children
to behave perfectly at all times. Toilet training accidents, for example, frequently trigger
child abuse incidents.
(8) Young/immature parent. There is no specific training for parenthood.
Very young, immature parents do not always understand that caring for a child is a 24
hours a day, 20 year task. The frustration of constant child care can lead to child
c. The Family Unit. Some of the characteristics of the family unit of an abused
child are listed below. The family may have some of the following problems.
Money problems, often including unemployment.
Adult family members who are isolated with very few friends.
Family which moves frequently, living in many different places.
Pattern of husband or wife abuse in the family.
Poor parent-child relationships.
Unwanted pregnancies, illegitimate children, youthful marriage.
d. Situations Triggering Child Abuse. Usually, something triggers an incident
of child abuse. Situations which bring about child abuse include the following.
A family argument.
A discipline problem.
Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs).
Loss of a job.