Saturday, August 01, 2009

At-risk children are often exposed to violence

All antisocial people abuse their family members, but not all are violent. Often antisocial people are preoccupied with weapons even when they are not violent. This preoccupation influences children because weapons are symbols of aggression and can be used to intimidate and produce fear even if there is not violence in the home.

Antisocial people are also drawn to violent entertainment because they gain pleasure from aggression. The violent entertainment serves the same function for them as pornography does for others, it gives them pleasure because it triggers their dominance motives.

Typically children who have an antisocial parent are exposed to all kinds of violent media. They are also exposed to weapons on a frequent basis in a way that promotes thinking about aggression. This exposure to violence occurs in the context of a home where the antisocial parent behaves abusively toward other adults and often the children. Remember, verbal and financial abuse set the stage for the exposure to media violence and weapons to damage the child's developing personality. It is the total package here, not just the presence of a weapon in the home.

To learn more I recommend you visit the Safe Start Center sponsored by the US Department of Justice. They have an excellent free publication that discusses the risks of exposure to violence to the mental health and well-being of children. To get this publication click here.