A child’s brain is in its formative stages. This implies that it is unable to absorb the shocks caused by factors like abuse or neglect. From the simplest level of analysis, if a child is neglected, his or her brain will respond in a manner that will make the child perceive him as an outcast in the society. Such a child usually ends up being antisocial and eventually suffers from mental disorders. Furthermore, if a child is abused; physically, sexually or otherwise, there is usually a tendency of his brain to be exposed to some shocks of excitement. The magnitude of such shocks is usually large than their brain can absorb. This may also lead to mental disorders. It is also necessary to note that the natural environment partly contributes to mental illnesses. Children abnormally panic due to things like lightning, earthquakes and hurricanes. However, the scope of this paper is to analyze how mistreatment of children can lead to mental disorders. In this regard, three newspapers articles will be analyzed, and reactions will be drawn from them.
How Child Abuse Primes the Brain for Future Mental Illness
This article which has been published in Time Healthland, proposes that maltreatment of children, during their childhood, is a leading cause of many mental disorders. It is imperative to point out that researchers have unanimously agreed with the assertion of this article that child abuse contributes in a fundamental way, to mental disorders. The main argument behind this assertion is that maltreatment leads to the shrinkage of the brain of a child. The effect of abuse on the mental ability is more vital in children than to adults. This is because the mental system of children is in the formative stage. Maltreatment causes mental illness by reducing the size of the brain in parts of hippocampus, making children more vulnerable to drug and substance addiction, depression among other mental problems.
The above named article has expounded on the effect of maltreatment of children on their mental system extremely well. However, the author seems to conduct only a partial analysis. In fact, his analysis is normative rather than positive. He looks at issues as he thinks they ought to be but not as they actually are. This assertion can be illustrated by the fact that the other fails to appreciate the fact that some abused or neglected children do not suffer long-term consequences. Furthermore, the author disregards the fact that different children are affected differently by maltreatment. In this regard, it is crucial to note that the severity of maltreatment on the brain mostly depend on factors like; the age and the development status that a child was in when the maltreatment or neglect occurred, the type of abuse viz. Physical, sexual or neglect, frequency and the duration of the maltreatment as well as the relationship that exist between the abused and the abuser. These variables are fundamental to discussing the causal effect of maltreatment. As such, the author should not have remained silent on them.
Furthermore, the author’s conclusion from the data collected ignores the effect of other extraneous variables. At the lowest level of analysis, we can present his findings in a simple model. Our dependent or explained variable is mental illness while our independent or explaining variable is maltreatment. Represented in this manner, the author implies that mental disorders are only caused by maltreatment of children. However, we know with an extremely high degree of confidence, that there is other factors or variables viz., Drug abuse that causes mental illness. In statistical terms, such factors are the extraneous variables to our simple model. Unfortunately, the author overlooks them.
Furthermore, the claim that the author’s analysis is cheap can be strengthened by the fact that the costs of maltreatment of children are ignored. Therefore, the author fails to convince us that this issue is vital, since he is adopting a reporting approach, rather than an analytical approach. The direct costs of maltreatment include the cost of having to bear the burden of maintaining the welfare of the abused child and the cost of prosecuting the abusers. On the other hand, indirect costs would include the act of the abused child engaging in criminal activities or lowering his or he productivity.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
This article focuses on different abilities of different people to overcome Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The author recognizes the fact that the effect of a trauma caused by natural calamities such as the Hurricane Katrina can last in a lifetime for children subjected to neglect or abuse. By quoting a report by the Harvard Mental Health, Chris notes that abuse or even neglect primes a child into being extra sensitive to stress. The author also tells us the possible curative measures for mental illness.
However, the author does not mention anywhere, how different people are differently susceptible to mental illness. Though he mentions that maltreated children are more susceptible to mental illness, he does not illustrate how. From an analytical point of view, therefore, this can be viewed as just a hypothesis. This is because the author does not specify how or why he is arriving at his conclusions. Furthermore, the author does not specify how abuse or neglect, damages the brain of a child; thus his information is less credible.
However, the author's view is right, that mental illnesses can be treated. In this regard, he proposes both medical and social interventions. The author is also right when he recognizes that treatment of mental illnesses requires psychiatrics and other brain professionals, and not mere doctors to provide care. Unfortunately, he did not recognize the fact that the ability to reverse a mental illness depends on the extent at which the brain has been damaged. In this regard, some mental illness, at their pronounced stages, is impossible to reverse. This is a fact that the author ignores.
Animals and Trees More Important Than Children?
This article argues though children faces imminent danger of being abused, in United States, the number of organizations lobbying for protection of animals and plants, against abuse, are more than those lobbying for protection of children against abuse. At this juncture, a question is raised in relation to whether the American society cares more about plants and animals than their own children. The author further argues that the campaign against child abuse should be intensified by using mediums such as bill boards. The author also mentions that one of the effects of child mistreatment is poor mental system. However, the author does not a clear connection between the two. Comparison of the number of lobby groups for children and those of animals is utterly irrelevant, since the two are heterogeneous. Furthermore, empirical evidence suggests that animals are more susceptible to abuse than people. Lastly, child abuse is a social problem which requires a social intervention which is much more complex than just publishing information on bill boards.