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Kathryn Seifert

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Member Since: Oct, 2006

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Parents who Attack Their Children and Partners
Wednesday, October 11, 2006  5:33:00 PM

by Kathryn Seifert

When family members harm each other, it may be beacuse they grew up in a similar environment. They may not have the skills or interpersonal developmental level to creat healthy family structures. A full spectrum of services are needed in these cases.

Twenty-seven year old Chyrotia Graham was drinking and fighting with her boyfriend. The fight became violent. Before it was over, Chyrotia grabbed her 4 week old baby by the legs and proceeded to swing the infant and strike the baby’s father. The baby sustained significant injuries and his mother was arrested. Her other 4 children were removed from her care.Although it is a natural instinct for mothers to protect and care for their children, some human mothers have that instinct overshadowed or overturned by something more powerful. It is rare for animal mothers to turn on their young, because mother’s caring for offspring is vital to the survival of their species. It is built into the genetic code for mammals. While other mammals do not think and plan with the level of complexity that humans do, neither do they, in most cases, destroy their young. Natural mechanisms are in place to ensure that non-human parents will not kill their young. For example, some female mammals will keep a male of their species away from offspring so that they will not destroy their own progeny. In fact, adult males fight other males for supremacy in the hierarchy and the right to procreate. They will fight off predators and they generally do not fight the females of their kind. Accordingly, the females are generally protected.When humans are not adequately bonded to their own mothers in infancy due to mental illness, substance abuse, violence, abuse, neglect, abandonment, or domestic violence in the family, their developing instinct to bond with, care for, and not harm their future offspring or partner can be damaged. Their skills to manage anger, self-soothe, leave violent spouses, and believe in themselves and their self-efficacy may be harmed, as well. Their interpersonal and moral development may be delayed. The combination of these factors and using substances to cope with personal pain can result such heart-breaking tragedies. A child raised in domestic violence can sometimes finds him/herself in a violent marriage when grown. Today’s traumas can take them back to the earlier traumas. Consequently, his/her automatic response to a violent partner may be similar to his/her responses as a child: hide, stay out of the way, “don’t rock the boat,” “walk on egg shells,” “I know he doesn’t mean it and won’t do it again,” or fight for all you are worth in order to survive. This does not excuse domestic violence or child abuse from either men or women, but it points us in the direction for prevention: family therapy, skill building, family supports, in home aides, and wrap around services. When all else fails, the children must be placed in a safe, loving environment and they must receive their own trauma therapy. Let's also not forget that domestic violence is as damaging to children as abuse or neglect. Prevention is the key for the future: A full spectrum of services for families torn by mental illness, substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, and tragedy. This can only happen when there is full coordination of the various agencies and services to form a seamless continuum of care for the family, not just the individual. There is a movement in many geographical areas to make this happen. We must continue to evaluate the continuum of care for families as evidence based practice and train practitioners in its use. 
Dr. Kathy Seifert

 More News about Kathryn Seifert
New Book Coming Out - 4/27/2011 5:58:00 PM

CARE2 Assessments Now Online - 6/8/2010 11:05:00 AM

CARE2 assessment Has a New Look - 4/10/2010 12:02:00 PM

Appearance on Discovery Channel ID and 10 Year Anniversary - 8/2/2009 10:28:00 AM

Bullying in America - 2/7/2009 9:58:00 PM

Raising Children Who Kill  - 10/10/2006 6:18:00 PM

Books by
Kathryn Seifert

CARE 2: CHronic Violent Behavior Risk & Needs Assessment - Second Edition

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How Children Become Violent (Professional Version)

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Take Charge of Your Stress and Change Your Life

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Pathways to Inner Peace: An Audio CD and Journal for Getting in Touch with

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Walking Among Angels - Edition 2

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How Children Become Violent - Parent Version

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Poor Folk by F. Dostoyevsky
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