‘Dad beats mom,’ writes Class V girl in her essay, stirs debate on abusive households

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A Kolkata girl wrote an essay about her abusive father and started a national debate. Here's what you should know about dealing with abusive households.

When the English teacher of the Salt Lake School in Kolkata asked her students to pen an essay on ‘My Family,’ little did she realise that she was invoking a young calm girl to share her suppressed anger.

In her short explosive essay she wrote, “My dad is a bad man. He beats my mother regularly. Mom and I cry every night. No one cares for us. Even our uncles have turned a deaf ear to us. Dad beats me also. This is my family." This is what the girl had all to write about her family.”

She ended the essay with, "When I will grow up, I will take my mother far away from my dad.”

A leading daily that reported the incident alleged that the teacher alerted the principal about the pain this little girl was going through and sought immediate action.

The report states that the parents were called to the school and after a few counseling sessions, they were asked to stay separately till the father mend his way.

This incident has started a national debate on abusive households, with clinical psychologists lauding the girls’ effort to share her emotions.

Read: Top 5 negative things kids learn from their parents

Affect of abusive households on kids

Ideally, it is the safe environment of a house that lends confidence and support to young children. But if a child's home faults on this very basic necessity, then it can hinder their overall growth and development.

Seema Hingorrany, clinical psychologist, Mumbai, spoke exclusively to theIndusparent.com about abusive parenting.

"Children tend to get traumatised in such a toxic environment which can lead to depression and a host of other psychological problems such as anxiety and aloofness," she says. She adds that children who come from abusive homes where parents express their anger violently could also face the following problems:

  • Such children cannot have a normal emotional regulation
  • They suffer from post traumatic stress disorder
  • They may suffer from dissociative disorder
  • They would want to miss school
  • They would fear their own parents
  • They would be unable to lead a normal healthy life

This kind of situation also makes it difficult for the child to get over the past and forgive an abusive parent.

"Children who notice abusive parents tend to over identify them and feel guilty themselves. Children are also made to feel imperfect and hence, the abuse. However, I must add that children have the ability to forgive more easily than adults," says Hingorrany.

She however, adds that for forgiveness can only take place if parents immediately address the abusive issue and control the abusive environment.  "So in this girl's case, if her father stops the abuse at home and is counselled regularly, she maybe able to forgive him."

Continue reading to know how parents and children must deal with an abusive household.

Hingorrany advises parents and children of abusive households taking a cue from this report. "If the child is brave enough to report an abusive household, he or she must immediately be supported and asked to not give up on their confidence. They would have to be counselled to inculcate trust."

As for the parents, they must first question themselves on why they are being abusive. "Reflect on your actions and try to solve a problem amicably. Avoid any violent behaviour in front of your child," she says.

Seek help

Experts also suggest that if one witnesses an abusive household, they must immediately report the same to a domestic violence helpline. You can try the following:

  • National Commission for Women : 91-11-23234918, 23222845. Complaints Cell :: 91-11-23213419, 91-11-23219750, 91-11-23236153 (Telefax)
  • SNEHA : (+91 22) 2661 4488 / 2660 6295 / 2404 0045 | For emergencies: (+91) 9833092463
  • Bellbajao : +91.11.41666101-06

Also read: 8 things parents should avoid in front of their kids 

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj