One of the most common fears among adults who were abused as a child is the fear of being an abusive parent themselves. They have heard it said time and again that children who were abused often grow up to be abusers themselves, and though it would be misleading to say this never happens, it doesn’t need to be the case and often isn’t true at all. If you were among the tens of thousands of young adults who was abused, physically, emotionally or even sexually as a child, here is some information that might interest you. Before writing off having kids of your own, know this.
Not All Abused Children Grow Up to Be Abusers
Oddly, whenever a story surfaces about a child who has been abused, the first thing people say is that the offending adult must have been abused as a child. Sometimes this is the case but not always. According to cureviolence.org, their research indicates that approximately 1/3 of those who were abused as a child will carry on the tendency based on their personal history. This means that 2/3 of abused children grow up to be a perfectly ‘normal’ parent with no tendencies towards abuse as an adult. However, how can you know which group you fall within until you have children? Is it safe to become a parent now knowing?
The Best Place to Find Your Answers
There are people who specialize in counseling adults who were abused as a child, and although you might simply consult with a psychologist, social worker or even a psychiatrist, there is someone who might even be better suited to finding the answers you seek. Believe it or not, a counselor with a masters criminal justice dual major who is now working as a criminologist would probably be your best bet. The reason for this is because they are not only trained in psychology but are also expert in criminology, or in plain English, the study of the criminal mind. And, yes, child abuse is a crime and it takes a criminal mind to perpetrate horrors such as child abuse.
Why a Major in Criminal Justice?
You may be confused because most of us equate a degree in criminal justice with the legal system. We think of a criminal justice masters program from top ranked schools like Boston University Metropolitan College as preparing students to rise within the ranks of police departments or within the legal profession, but many psych undergrads go on to major in criminal justice to offer a better foundation in criminal psychology. Many counselors see the need to study how the criminal mind works, patterns of behavior, social causes and societal demographics that lead to being an abuser. These are the counselors, often within the legal system, who deal with the abusers themselves as they re-enter society after incarceration, as well as counseling the victims of abuse.
Because they are trained to spot those triggers more keenly than a counselor with a general psych degree, they would be best equipped to help you determine if you are prone to being an abuser and if so, how to get the treatment and therapy necessary so that the pattern stops here and now in your generation.