Causes and Effects of Child Abuse - Abusive Mothers

risk maltreatment chronic times

A national survey in the United Kingdom of the childhood experiences of young adults ages eighteen to twenty-four found that mothers were more likely than other household members to be violent toward their children. Child Maltreatment in the United Kingdom—A Study of the Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect (Pat Cawson, Corinne Wattam, Sue Brooker, and Graham Kelly, National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, London, England, November 20, 2000) was the most comprehensive report of childhood maltreatment ever conducted in that country, involving 2,869 interviews about young people's childhood experiences. Of the 11% of respondents who reported physical abuse, nearly half (49%) indicated that their mothers were the perpetrators of violence. Violence took the forms of knocking down the child, burning, threatening with a knife or a gun, kicking hard, shaking, or hitting with a fist or a hard implement. Another 40% of the respondents identified their attackers as their fathers.

Some Experts Say Social Factors Cause Abuse by Mothers

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Straus and Smith, in "Family Patterns and Child Abuse," found that women are as likely, if not more likely, as men to abuse their children. The authors believed child abuse by women could be explained in terms of social factors rather than psychological factors. Women are more likely to abuse their children because they are more likely to have much greater responsibility for raising the children, which means that they are more exposed to the trials and frustrations of child rearing.

Women spend more "time at risk" while tending to their children. "Time at risk" refers to the time a potential abuser spends with the victim. This would apply to any form of domestic violence, such as spousal abuse and elder abuse. For example, elderly people are more likely to experience abuse from each other, not from a caregiver, if one is present. This is not because elderly couples are more violent than caregivers, but because they spend more time with each other.

Risk Factors and Chronic Child Maltreatment by Mothers

To determine the connection between psychological risk factors for child maltreatment and chronic maltreatment, researchers conducted interviews and tests of a group of abusive mothers in Quebec, Canada, on three separate occasions: during the initial recruitment for an intervention program, two years later at the end of the program, and four years after the initial recruitment as a follow-up (Louise S. Ethier, Germain Couture, and Carl Lacharité, "Risk Factors Associated with the Chronicity of High Potential for Child Abuse and Neglect," Journal of Family Violence, vol. 19, no. 1, February 2004). Fifty-six mothers were evaluated: twenty-one mothers whose files at the social agencies had been closed for at least four months (transitory problems group) and thirty-five mothers who were still abusive (chronic group). The risk factors were categorized into two general groups: the mother's history and her characteristics as an adult. The mother's history included placement in foster care, childhood sexual abuse, running away from home in her teens, break-ups with parental relationships, parental unavailability, neglect, and physical violence. The mother's adult characteristics included family unemployment, limited social support, past intimate partner violence, low level of intellectual functioning, low level of education, and high numbers of children and partners.

Ethier et al. found that mothers who reported a history of childhood sexual abuse, placement in foster care, and running away from home during adolescence were more likely to have chronic problems of child maltreatment. Overall, mothers exhibiting more than eight risk factors had about four times the risk for chronic child maltreatment. Those with a history of childhood sexual abuse had 3.75 times more risk of having chronic child maltreatment than those without this risk factor. The risk for chronic child maltreatment was 3.57 times for a childhood history of placement in foster care and 3.02 times for a history of running away from home in adolescence. The study also found that the following risk factors predispose mothers to chronic child maltreatment: childhood neglect (0.58 times more likely than those without this risk factor), physical violence (0.69 times), and unavailability of and break-up with parental figures (0.92 and 1.54 times, respectively). The authors concluded that traumatic experiences of childhood sexual abuse (77.8% of mothers in the study), placement in foster care (80%), and running away from home during adolescence (77.3%) had adverse effects on the mothers' ability to parent their children.

Results also showed that mothers with a low level of intelligence were 2.75 times more at risk for chronic child maltreatment. A total of 78.6% of the mothers showed such risk. However, the researchers cautioned that some studies have found that unless a parent's IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is below sixty, his or her low level of intelligence does not impair parenting abilities. Still other studies say IQ has nothing to do with parental competence. Mothers with a large family were found to have 3.13 times more risk for chronic maltreatment, with 80% of the sample displaying such risk.

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over 3 years ago

My mother was brutally abusive and I still have the scars to show it (I am 52). She was unpredictable. violent and controlling. My father was the same. Both kept the fear of them killing us (the children) as the ultimate threat. I have lost friends and fired therapists who don't get it, don't get that some parents are evil, do not need to be "forgiven" or loved. It took me decades to accept my feelings of betrayal, damage, and anger, and get over that without pretending my parents actually parented me. I am the complete opposite of them. So are my siblings. We broke the pattern.

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almost 4 years ago

I am 12 years old. I am in 7th Grade. My mom abuses me almost everyday. I recently got my report card, and I had all A's and B's. But at parent-teacher conference, my teacher said my locker was constantly jamming, and my mom got mad and started hitting me. If I start to cry she hits me harder. Help?

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about 3 years ago

My parent's sucked. My father was basically out of my life at the age of 7. My parents had a nasty divorce and I rarely see him. A phone call a couple times a year and a couple visits until his death in his early fifties. During the vists he usually put me to work and always called me a dork and a butthole. My mother was a lot worse. My whole life her constant complaining, nothing was clean enough or good enough. Her unnatural fear mongoling, she terrified me saying "I was always at risk of being kidnapped and murdered, she liked me to stay in my room. The imaginery dangerous men were always after her too - at the mall, work, or following her in her car. The insane compulsory spending of all the monies on herself. Not paiding bills, phone calls from bill collectors, or the threat of utilities about to be shut off. Being afraid from being told the sheriff was coming to evict us at any moment. I wore rags for clothes, ate hotdogs and chips everyday. Her pathological lying, she would say "I always tell the truth to you. I never lie." I believed everything she said for years. She would make stuff up if she didn't know the answer. She would strongly accuse me of lying about stupid thing all the time, I almost never lied to her. A drug addiction to pills and pot. She has boxes of pills. The constant negative talk and hate. We were always at war with some neighbor, family member, or someone. Just someone to hate. Every couple years she developed a new deadly illness, something imaged. I'll be blind by the time I'm 35, I can hardly see anything, I shouldn't be driving. I was eight years old when I started hearing that crap. After a couple years some new illness developed. I was abused with junk food. She forced food onto me. I ate mostly out of big salad bowl if I wasn't eating hot dogs. She would say "Nobody wants to be the only one in a house with a problem." We were both overweight. She would call me into a bathroom and distort my body in front of the mirror and tell me how fat I was and needed to diet, she wouldn't stop until I cried. Twenty minutes later she'd come to my room with a salad bowl full of ice cream. She stole thousands of dollars from me, always promising to pay it back. All birthday and Christmas money and later my personal earnings. She started charging me rent in high school and after college, the last month I lived in her house I was paying $600 a month. She would complain the money hardly covered my food expenses. I ate mostly hot dogs. During my adolescence I spent most of my time in my room in front of a T.V., school and grades didn't matter, friends weren't really allowed unless my mother approved of them - maybe 1 out of 10. It seemed mom wanted me to be sickly and to fail most things. To quit something my mom would never discourage me. After college she become really aloaf and basically only keep in touch with me for pot or money. Pot was in my life at the age of 8, I became preoccupied with pot at the age of 17. In college I was so broke I hardly smoked pot and luckily graduated. At the age of 22 to have a common bond with my mother I become a heavy pot smoker. I losed 15 years of my life to pot. I stopped using pot and alcohol, 3 years ago. It was a 15 year fight for soberity. I moved away from mother 3 one-half years ago. She started sending me email a handful of times two years ago, truth be told I miss her. Two months ago I drive 1200 miles round trip to help her move, she was overwhelmed about the move and was very grateful to me. I did 85% of the move and saved her well over $2000 dollars. I have very low self-esteem and being helpful makes me feel important. My mom must had seen a bounce in my step and decided to told me she thought I had adult Asbergers autistism. She said for the millionth time "She always know I wasn't right." That's why she had her tubes tied - can't risk any more not right children, divorced my father (any day he was going to start beating me.), stopped being a good mother to my older brother because all her time and attention had to center around me. I didn't learn how to read until the 4th grade and all I did was just memorized all the words. My brother was 3 years older than me, he literally hit and verbal abused me everyday of my life until he was sent to live with my father when I was 10. We fought everyday, all day long, I've never seen two brother fight like my brother and me. I was always under attack from him and his friends. After I finished moving my mom the last thing she said to me before I left for home was "I'll never see you alive again." Once again implying and implanting in me, I'll commit suicide. That was over two months ago, I've been in a state of unbelievable depression, constantly thinking I'm retarded. It's been super hard to function. It's hard to go to the supermarket, my handwriting is terrible, it takes all my strength to apply for jobs. I feel like the only jobs I qualify for are manual labor or janitorial. I'm a 40 year old college graduate with a B.S. degree. My relationship with my mom has adversely affected all my relationships. I destroy the majority of my relationships. I only date the most dysfunctional women and at the most for two years. I just started praying again this week. I don't belief in God but I belief in praying. I pray for forgiveness and faith. I hate my mom. I'm forgiving her only for myself. The last three years have been the best years of my life. I'm really fit, have one great friend, and live with one great dog.

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about 4 years ago

I am a male of 34 years of age. My mother put fear, paranoia, OCD and hate inside of me by controlling me constantly till the age of 22 years. Growing up she would hit me in the face with a rubber slipper for everything little thing she didn't like about me.

Today I am filled with anxiety, have been on anti-depressants for over 10 years and do not socialize with anybody.

I hate myself as much as I hate her for bringing me into this world.

My Dad was always working long hours from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm so he never knew what was going on. I don't hate him, but he is a stranger to me.

Growing up I never had anyone to listen to me. My childhood was basically spent hiding in my bedroom so I would not get hurt by her or anybody in this cruel world.

My mother is still verbally and emotionally abuse to me to this day. She constantly makes up stupid reasons to call me on the phone. And I stupidly answer the phone thinking just maybe this is an emergency and she might really need my help. Of course, its not any emergency and feel sick to my stomach as soon as I hear her voice. Her reason for calling usually has to do with finding out a telephone number for a store or getting her directions to a store. And yes, she has a GPS and I've taught her several times how google any phone number she needs.

I can't escape her. I've even told her not to call me unless its an emergency, but she doesn't respect me, so she continues her ways.

The pain and emptiness inside of me seems endless. I wish I had the courage to end my life. Unfortunately, the fear she has put in me makes me scared of what might me on the other side of this life.

Wish me luck on what remains of my life...

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about 4 years ago

I am 48 years old man and was abused in many way by all my life. My mother was just pure evil. Cindy if this helps. It's all about control with your mother.She tries to control your past and future)or how you think. She has no life so tries to control yours. Your mother is insane and she is taken you with her. Remember nobody can take right NOW away from you ( This moment). it's always yours. This moment belongs to you. So take it and own it. You will never be happy till you get your mother out your life. Or tell her she is evil. There is is no love in her but there is love in you. Don't waste it on her. keep it with you and keep it there in your heart. You are whats important and always will be. Try this it might help. STOP THINKING. Take time out every day and don't think. Just look around you and notice life going on. ( nature i mean) and remember how with life all of life you are always loved ( no other liveing thing will ever judge you. If you need something to belive. Make it life all life.When i did this what i noticed was i seem to fit in fine. I never think about past or future just right now were life is. Take care

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about 4 years ago

I am 53 years Old. My Mother still abuses me. In 2005. She promised to help me with my teeth. She said that since she never has done anything for me that she would fix my front teeth. She fixed them for me alright, She pulled out my front teeth and kicked me to the curb. I am still devastated! I can't even get a job! I have NO TEETH! all my jobs where front desk work at hotel's. This is so embarassing, know body takes me siriously. I am to the point of sucide. I have know money. I can't even get a job because of the way I look. She is entertained by this!!! I HATE MY MOTHER! Someone please HELP ME!

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about 2 years ago

my mother ripped my arm out of socket
at 2. i was found on a construction site at 3 runaway on my tricycle. escaping systematic abuse. was taken away from her after. 45 years now of
trying to see wholeness. some women get away with evil. because their methods of coverup, scapegoating and
verbal and emotional abuse leave no
marks. nothing for our 'justice' system. why do you never hear of women
policing their own? when will it be fashionable for women to be held accountable. most men i know would rather be hit than sustain verbal emotional wrath of a narcissistic woman they love. yeah some of us just take it, being taught young noone is going to hear. when does society realize half the real crimes are committed by the 'fairer sex'.

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almost 3 years ago

An Abusive Mother’s hatred for her daughter is overwheming. This is killing the loving and caring Father. Her abusive nature has separated the Father from his Family. What scares me the most is..... that Her abusive nature is showing up in my young son’s personality.

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almost 3 years ago

An Abusive Mother’s hatred for her daughter is overwheming. This is killing the loving and caring Father. Her abusive nature has separated the Father from his Family.

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almost 3 years ago

So sad to hear the horrible mother stories. I love my children and just find it hard to imagine how a mother could grow so cold towards her baby. Hmm, this is so freaking sad. I have boys. I wonder if the statistics are higher for girl abuse ratings.

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almost 3 years ago

So sad to hear the horrible mother stories. I love my children and just find it hard to imagine how a mother could grow so cold towards her baby. Hmm, this is so freaking sad. I have boys. I wonder if the statistics are higher for girl abuse ratings.

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almost 3 years ago

My mom abused me. I've been abusing my family for years and don't know what to do?

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about 3 years ago

please remove my comment from 7 hours ago

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about 3 years ago

My mother was extremely violent and almost killed me numerous times. She is highly intelligent, never ran away from home has a teachers certificate and is highly regarded in the community for her teacing contributions. She never was in the foster care system but had abusive parents herself and I beleive was also sexually abused as a child but has no recollection of it. Her father sexually abused me and thus I believe her and other females in our extended family as he engaged in group abuse of children when the adult women were out of the home shopping or attending appointments.

My sisters and I have broken the pattern of abuse by remembering what happened to us we could ensure not to repeat the patterns but to do exactly the opposite. Having experienced violence and sexual abuse is not an indicator or predictor that you also will do the same as in numerous cases breaking the pattern of abuse is more often seen. The sample for this study is not representative of survivors of abuse as it only deals with people who have come in contact with the system. Far too many survivors of childhood violence and sexual abuse never come in contact with the system at all.



regards Eliza

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about 4 years ago

To the 14 year old,



I would call DFAX/DHS first (Department of Family and Children's Services). I probably wouldn't share with your aunts and uncles since it sounds like they are very likely to side with your mother and brush it under the carpet. The one lady is correct; you're mother will not be committed to an institution. More than likely, they will make her take parenting classes and things like that until they think that she has her act together. I know it is scary

to think of going to a foster home. But I don't think it will be permanent unless your mother is horribly abusive and refuses to get help with her anger and control issues. Let us know how you are getting along.

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almost 5 years ago

I'm sorry that your mother is abusing you. I am 40 years old and went through abuse by my father. Here is what you need to do. Call Child Protective Services. Forget about shame. There is NO SHAME in protecting yourself. You mother is an adult and she should know better than to hit you. Yes, many adults think it is OK to hit their child, but it isn't. Don't worry about your mom, she can take care of herself and she can also get help. I'm not sure why you think she'd end up in a mental institution but unless she is committed by a doctor she won't. Adults cannot be forcible committed. You need to worry about yourself and any brothers or sisters first! I can understand that you want to go away and I am certain that CPS can help you. Keeping it all inside and not telling anyone will not help you or your mother. Please tell your relatives. Tell them you are afraid and hurting. Let them know that you have called CPS (call them FIRST) and let them know what you want. Perhaps you can go live with one of your relatives? I hope things work out for the best for you AND your mom. I know this is a tough time for you and you're scared but keeping it inside isn't good, it will only keep on hurting you in your mind as you get older. Best of luck to you.

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almost 5 years ago

I'm 14 years old and my mother abuses me. she has been doing it for about my whole life. and I'm scared to tell anyone because it's a family thing like my whole family is old fashioned (aunt,uncle,dad,mom etc...) and to them hitting your child is normal and I'm scared if I tell the authorities it will bring shame to the family. I'm also scared of where my mother my turn out I'm scared that she might end up some kind of mental place n like u noe I don't want my mom to go through that I mean she barley speaks English. besides I love my mom I just want to go away not her. so please reply if you can give advice

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about 5 years ago

What do you mean a mother is abused by a 12 year old daughter. That sounds completely twisted around and sick. No child does anything wrong if it is not treaed wrong by its caregivers in the first place. A child expresses its anger and tries to protect itself. The responsibilty lies with the parent. It`s absolutely sick to claim that a 12 year old child abuses its parent. And what did that parent do to the child in the f_Irst place?!! I recommend you to read "For Your Own Good" by Alice Miller. It`s wrong to blame a child and I strongly urge you to restrain from that.

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about 5 years ago

my daughter is being abused physically and emotionally by her 12 old daughter. Any articles or books that may help me to understand this situation and be of some help. thank you.