A Child Called It
A Child Called It: Reflection On The Good And Bad Of Abusive Childhood
A Child Called It is a memoir based on Dave Pelzer’s abusive childhood. Pelzer was both psychically and mentally abused by his alcoholic mother. It begins on March 5, 1973, in Daly City, California. David had been late to school that morning after suffering a beating for not completing his chores on time. Catherine tells David to tell them he “ran into the door.” David ends up in the nurse’s office, being examined and interrogated by the school nurse. The nurse has known for a very long about David’s ongoing situation at home with his mother. It took him time to open up to her about his abuse, but the nurse had been his safe haven for a while. The school staff has all become aware of his beatings and they have also learned not to report bad behavior to his mother because they know that she will punish him. After a short talk with the nurse, his teachers, and his principle, a police officer escorted him to the police station. David was scared at first because he genuinely believed he is going to jail, but then he realized that was better than living in the madhouse that was his mother’s home. The police officer comforts him with the reassuring words “David Pelzer, you are free.”
Dave now reflects on the good times he had experienced early in his childhood during the 1960s. During this time it was just him and his two brothers, Ron and Stan. Their father, Stephen Pelzer, was a firefighter who worked very long shifts and their mother, Catherine Roerve, was a loving and devoted woman whom he adored. They had many pets including cats, dogs, and aquariums filled with fish and a tortoise. Mother always had amazing cooking, but Dave knew she prepared the best meals on nights his father was home. The family never had a Christmas tree that was under 8 feet. They would put much effort and time into decorating the tree and their home. After the decorating was done, the whole family would drive around comparing the neighbor’s houses to their own. Stephen often worked twenty-four-hour shifts, and because of this Mother would often take Dave and the boys on day trips. These trips, Dave remembered, were often to Gate Park in San Francisco. For Dave, springtime meant family picnics. Mother would prepare a feast for the whole family to enjoy. These were things Dave remembers as the happiest times of his life, but his favorite place in the world is the Russian River. Each day was a new adventure when they visited the river. He felt the safest and the warmest when he made memories with his family at the river.
As time progressed, Dave’s mother began drinking more to the point where she started acquiring the qualities of an abusive mother. Discipline was now brutal punishment. Mother brutally beats Dave, seriously hurting his arm. She takes him to the hospital but claims that he had rolled out of bed. He was too afraid to speak up, but he sensed the doctor knew his injury was not caused by an accident. Mother was constantly making up stories to account for the bruises and injuries on Dave’s body and would often refer to Dave as a “bad boy.” Dave did everything he could to try and earn the approval of his mother. He was a good student, with more “happy face” papers than anybody in the class, but his mother still made him repeat first grade. By now, Dave knew his mother was not as harsh when his sibling and his father were present. However, Stephen did not do much to protect Dave. He was well aware of the abuse, but he did not have the courage to go against Mother’s authority.
A Child Called It As A Writing On Child Abuse Cases
“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.” Child Called it was such a sad story. What is even more sad is the amount of child abuse in the world that nobody pays attention too. Terrell Peterson and Brianna Lopez were both terrible cases of child abuse.
Terrell Peterson was a 5 year old boy (March 1, 1992 – January 15, 1998), who was tortured and beaten to death while his case was under active state supervision. There were many calls made to the authorities saying “The mother is taking drugs while pregnant, and is using food stamps and welfare checks to buy crack cocaine. The parents were locking the children in the bedroom on weekends and denying them food and water. The mother is on drugs, while children are unsupervised.
Children are begging neighbors for food. Mother is using cocaine daily “ Those were only some of the complaints the police had gotten regularly. Ten of the eleven officers overseen it. Nothing was done until June 1996. Terrell was placed in the care of Pharina Peterson (grandmother) and Terrell’s half brother and half sister. While Terrell was in her custody the agents had little to no contact and there were no monthly visits. During the course of living with his grandmother police discovered that Terrell had been physically restrained with pantyhose tied to a banister in the apartment. The police also found written instructions for Terrell, ‘He gets oatmeal for breakfast, grits for lunch, and grits for dinner. His hands must always be tied.’ One of Terrells teachers, Joanne Bryant, had found him digging around in a trash can at school looking for food. This had happened around Thanksgiving break where he was beaten in 1996, which necessitated a trip to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with Battered child syndrome. Pharina Peterson was then arrested and indicted for misdemeanor charges.
Terrell had previously implicated Peterson on record that she was the one who had assaulted him and was scheduled to testify in person at the trial. However, his caseworker, who was responsible for bringing Terrell to court, never showed up. Terrell’s and her absence were never questioned and the charges were dismissed by municipal court judge Catherine E. Malicki because ‘the victim was not in court’. Judge Catherine had an internal memo which was placed in Terrell’s file, that the trial did indeed occur, there was no evidence found of child abuse, and the charges were dismissed as a result. With the severity of the injuries, there was never an investigation and no charges were brought. Terrell was never visited by anyone from child services from the time of these injuries until he was murdered a year later. Terrell’s cause of death was; ‘blunt impact injuries to the head and the abuse of violent extremities over time.
Brianna Lopez (February 14, 2002 – July 19, 2002) was only a 5 month old baby girl. Her mother never really had cared for her. On a daily basis Brianna Lopez was slapped, kicked, punched, thrown, and raped by her father, Andrew Walters, and Uncle, Steven Lopez. Not one of them had ever said anything, not even here mother Stephanie. Stephanie, Andy, and Steven began drinking. Stephanie says that she had a few beers before going off to bed, leaving Andy and Steven with Brianna while they continued to drink. After Stephanie had gone to bed, Andy and Steven thought it would be funny to toss Brianna up in the air. Throwing her high enough to hit the ceiling, and then continued to watch her hit the ground afterward. Who knows how long their sick game continued but the father admitted to “throwing her up three to four times”. Both Andy and Steven told authorities that Brianna was screaming and crying as the abuse continued. Stephanie says she did not hear anything that evening. Later during police interrogations, Steven Lopez admitted that later in the evening he began to sodomize Baby Brianna, but stopped because he ”realized that what he was doing was wrong”. Stephanie woke up early the next morning to the sound of Brianna screaming. She saw her infant covered in bruises and asked Andy and Steven what happened. They both claimed that they maybe had been, “a little rough with her last night”. Stephanie didn’t ask any further questions and just ignored Brianna’s pain and injuries. Stephanie had noticed that Brianna was unresponsive and not breathing. She called 911 saying that her daughter had fallen from her high chair. Brianna was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at 11:10 am. Baby Brianna was horrifically abused almost from the instant she left the hospital. On a daily basis she was slapped, kicked, punched, thrown, and raped by her father, Andrew Walters, and Uncle, Steven Lopez. Stephanie’s mother later testified that Stephanie would pinch and bite baby Brianna when she became annoyed with her crying. Family members were aware of the horrific abuse Baby Brianna was getting but none of them told authorities because they. “didn’t want to get involved”. So because nobody wanted to get involved this poor baby had died within only 5 months after birth.
These abuses aren’t exactly like Daves but they are pretty similar. Some people knew but not many were brave enough to look and ask for help. Both of these cases and daves had happened by their parents and other family members. They are different because Dave was saved but this little girl and little boy couldn’t be. The pain all of these have suffered isn’t okay. Something needs to be done about childhood abuses. No child should be hurt so bad or starved as a punishment or at all.
The Authenticity Of Child’s Raw Experience In A Child Called It
A Child known as it’s a coronary heart painful authentic story concerning one child’s survival of 1 of the worst babe abuse cases ever pronounced in Calif. history. Dave Pelzer lived in an exceedingly world of starvation, cruelty, and torture from the age of 4 till his rescue with the help of valorous faculty officers at the age of twelve. This life history can each frighten and encourage all WHO browse Dave’s tremendous journey via the dark mental disease of his mother’s rage.
Dave accustomed be laundry the dishes, hoping he might want to urge achieved fast capable prevent from his mother’s rage and to own the chance to consume some breakfast. though he will not do the previous, Dave was allowed the leftovers of his brother’s cereal. Mother drove Dave to school nowadays, although she typically compelled him to run. At school, Dave was said on the nurse’s workplace therefore she may inventory his injuries, a activities they need carried on for quite your time. now accustomed differ, however. This time, the nurse known as within the principal. Very soon, Dave ascertained himself being reclaimed.
Dave was section of a standard family, a correct family. Dave felt love from every his oldsters, principally on vacations and exclusive journeys into city while his father, a fireman, was once operating a 24 hour shift. However, things began to amendment. Dave’s mother began to drink and was once depressed. throughout these drinking binges, Mother would remove her dangerous emotions on Dave. It started with extended stints within the corner and quickly improved to beatings, one such beating that caused Dave a broken arm.
Mother’s rage appeared targeted on Dave solely, with the exception of his 2 brothers. Soon, the abuse additionally protected such mental punishments as starvation and extended stints in cold baths. once female parent gave birth to 2 larger sons, the punishments alone grew to be harsher, because the privileges of the opposite boys grew to become further luxurious. Dave would often pay time untruthfulness within the bloodless bathing tub while being attentive to Mother sharing gratifying instances with the various boys, like telling atrocious tales on day and gap provides on Christmas. Dave accustomed be excluded from all home events, Christmas particularly. In fact, Dave accustomed be not even allowed to sleep within the house, relegated as another to the garage.
Mother ne’er tried to hide her abuse of her son, forcing him to travel to varsity in garments he had been carrying for months at a time and filling him with recollections to tell all and varied WHO have to be compelled to raise concerning his bruises. once officers would emerge as suspicious, Mother would attract her solution of interviews or con Dave into basic cognitive process the worst accustomed be over, and he or she would not torture him. Father accustomed be Dave’s alone protection. once Father was home, Mother’s punishments had been ne’er as severe. However, Father did not defend Dave on most occasions. The dark Mother out of the blue injured Dave while threatening his life, Father refused to liaise, as a substitute further afraid for his personal mental health, once Mother complete Dave has privy on her.
Soon, Father stops payment heaps time reception, eventually shifting out of the house. Dave currently complete that his hopes of being reclaimed area unit a delusion which will in no manner return true. Dave not cared concerning warding off his mother’s rage. Now, Dave sought-after out her rage, hoping that she would kill him and provides him refuge from the pain. However, months when Dave as presently as once more found the electricity to hope, he accustomed be reclaimed by means that of valorous officers at his primary school. Dave grew up, became a father, and created peace with the frightful abuse he suffered as a toddler.
The Horrific Account Of Child Abuse In A Child Called It
Child abuse of all types has a big impact on children’s lives and perceptions of what normal should be. In the book “A Child Called It”, Dave Pelzer, a young boy who was abused by his mother who constantly overlooked and abused him on many levels. She would Inflict many pent up emotions such as a sense of fear, blame, disdain, dread, and self-loathing on him. The trauma this young boy experienced not only impacted him physically but mentally which greatly affected his perceptions of other people and himself. Not only was Pelzer affected but nearly 700,000 children are abused in the U.S annually.
For years, Dave’s mother Catherine Roerva Pelzer beat him and subjected him to countless forms of physical abuse. His mother detested individuals like dave who appear to be more joyful than they are by taking out her disappointment and self-loathing on him. The savageness of his mother was intense one night when she was drinking. She went up to dave with a knife flashing it around him “accidentally” stabbing him. As a result, from a reader’s perspective we can infer that dave’s perceptions are skewed as he believes that it was all an accident and his mother wouldn’t do that. Even though it’s obvious and we have plenty of evidence to prove that everything his mom has done was intentional. A loving mother would not stab her son or even allow situations like that to even take place. Physical abuse leaves dave with a sense of constant fear and unpredictability causing him to be more extreme in his behaviors vs. non abused children. This compares with my other sources as it helps explain the concept of “battered child syndrome.” Battered child syndrome is a clinical condition in children who have gotten genuine physical maltreatment (Tomlinson, L. 2019, December 5).. This maltreatment can extend from a break of any bone, subdural hematoma, inability to flourish, delicate tissue swellings or skin wounding because of physical maltreatment. The reasons why children experience battered child syndrome and abuse is usually caused by a parent who has become an alcoholic or has a personality disorder. In Dave’s case, his mother gave no reasoning behind her actions which was even more frightening to him.
Physical abuse is not the only form of abuse that can take place but also emotional abuse which has a big effect on a child’s decision making, social life, and personality. Dave’s mother made him not know wrong from right 24/7 having him question his every decision. His mother’s punishments were designed to inhibit Dave’s mental growth (silencing him at an age when he should be learning new words, preventing him from learning new information, etc.), perhaps in order to make him even more dependent on her. Dave’s mother would teach her child to be a slave by brainwashing him into repeating “I’m a bad boy.” His mother conditioned the family by normalizing abuse having everyone under her control. She would do this by punishing dave for any reason that can be imagined. For one time his mother guaranteed that she had seen him playing on the grass, which was not allowed what so ever according to her rules. Dave immediately replied, ‘I never played on the grass’. He soon was questioning whether his answer was correct or a mistake. As he was met with his mother’s response which was a punch to the face; according to his mother, he had by one way or another committed an error. His mind was in absolute confusion as the rules that he is told to follow are somehow still broken even when followed. It’s never fully explained why his mother begins abusing Dave; all Pelzer writes is that she begins drinking more heavily (however, there are millions of alcoholic parents who don’t abuse their children). His mother’s cruelty is impossible to understand, the way she manipulates and forces dave as she wishes. Child abuse and neglect negatively impact both neurological and psychological development. Patterns of abuse are learned and repeated in families. Adverse childhood experiences are a risk factor for psychopathology later in life, including borderline personality disorder (BPD) and multiple personality disorder (MP). Forms of personality disorders occur when children are subjected to such conditions. When forms of personality disorders occur there seems to be impairments in self-functioning and interpersonal functioning which affect decisions, personality and social functioning(ej levey, 2016). Abuse affects everyone differently and this is due to how each personality traits, as well as family, operate.
Abuse happens to children in families from varying backgrounds, all things considered, religions and ethnicities. There is no single reason for abuse; rather, it happens because of numerous possible factors that affect the family. Abusive guardians are less stable, warm, fun-loving and responsive with their kids and are bound to utilize cruel order and verbal hostility than positive child-rearing methodologies (e.g., utilizing breaks, thinking, and perceiving and empowering the kid’s successes)(Blitzer R. December 4th). His mother’s remorselessness toward Dave appears to be intended to keep him as powerless, desolate, and terrified as could be expected. She doesn’t want him to have relationships or friends with anyone so she forces him to wear the same clothes every day so that people despise him some even end up urging him to kill himself. In spite of the grimness of his life, Dave finds little ways to fight back against Mother. Even though he’s too young to defeat Mother, he quickly learns the importance of preserving his own dignity—therefore, he vows never to beg for mercy to anyone. This information is reliable and compares with my other sources because it helps explain how abuse leads to improper development of normal emotional and social skills in children.
The emotional well-being of moms has for some time been perceived to influence kids’ well-being. The discoveries of this examination propose that the impacts of child abuse can be reduced profoundly upon the psychological wellness of the dad. In particular, unfavorable impacts of a mother affect the psychological well-being of a kid’s conduct which considerably diminished when a dad announced better emotional well-being (Kahn, R. S. 2004, August 1). When Dave’s Father is home, his mother doesn’t hurt Dave as often. One night, Dave’s father was doing the dishes and says to him know that sometime in the not so distant future, he and Dave will both escape that crazy house. This makes Dave feel somewhat better. Later that day his controlling mother prevents his father from aiding Dave. Dave’s Father constantly discloses to Dave that he’s saddened for everything. Dave’s love for his father gave him hope and he even winds up naming his child after his father, disregarding his dad’s powerlessness and lack of control in the house. Dave at least had his dad who was a shield to him and gave him a sense of love and comfort. The sad thing is even though his dad gave him a slither of love, his dad was still an awful parent who was very passive and would not intervene and stop the abuse. Dave was lucky to have someone like his dad because when both the dad and mother were revealed to have less fortunate psychological wellness, then the impact on a kid’s social development was significant, especially for males.
There is by all accounts a good reason to think about the genetic and environmental transmission of mental issue will continue to affect dave and his future life. To our surprise, Dave turns out to become a great dad and Christian ending the cycle of abuse. Furthermore, he even joined the airforce and become a spokesman for child abuse propagating his ideas to change and help others overcome their troubles. His whole perspective on life has changed to a much happier one. Caregivers need help to educate their youngsters about their emotional wellness issues. Even though parent attitudes and habits affected kids’ lifestyle, it did not stop dave and made him an even stronger person. Kids who are abused usually develop Multiple personality or Borderline personality, There is even a relationship between abuses and specific alternate personality. MPs and BPs morph and change when they are feeling overpowering emotion and as well as when conflicts happen. A hypothetical build that may clarify the rotation of character and the occurrence of MP is that maltreatment makes a child filled with anger. The kid is taught that anger is not a good emotion and that it must not be ‘felt.’ The repression of the rage relegates it to an area of the mind, the unconscious, that is outside of awareness. As repression continues, the feelings build-up, which creates the potential for explosions of feeling when repression breaks down ( Wilbur, C. B. 1984). Children should not live with their parents if the parent has a genuine psychological instability, as contrasted and mild dysfunctional behavior, second that the parent had an addictive disorder, and third that the ill parent was the dad (Rognmo, K. (2019, January 8). This compares with my other sources as this explains how personality can be affected by abuse and have it can impact a person’s life mentally.
Child abuse is a typical issue that occurs around the world, and its physical and psychosocial impacts are felt by children, their communities, and their families. It has been connected to changes in the abused from psychological to social development for the duration of their lives, placing them in danger of taking part in possibly dangerous conduct later on. Family doctors have a significant job in recognizing instances of abuse in children. Their role is important in voicing such cases to social services to prevent further abuse; furthermore giving further information and help to families that are abusive to give them an eye-opening perspective (Rosen, A. L. (1986). His mother is compelled to mislead others about how her child gets his wounds; over time, she uses scare tactics to make Dave lie about his wounds to doctors such as when she stabbed him. It’s shocking how the doctor appears to realize that Mother is lying, but then does nothing to stop her abuse, says a lot about society’s propensity to choose not to see abuse: Dave’s was in some way only abused in light of the fact that his companions, friends, educators, doctors, and neighbors look the other way. When Dave enters the fifth grade, he’s nearly given up on life inside and out. His colleagues bully him and instruct him to murder himself, even his siblings assume of him as the ‘family slave’ and alternate hitting him. In spite of the fact that Dave bears some horrendous torment, his life isn’t totally sad. There are a few people who treat him generous, for example, his substitute teacher. In the book it’s never clarified why the substitute lets Dave remain after school, however, it’s proposed that, to an extent, she could tell that he’s fearful for his family. The way authorities besides the substitute would swallow the excuses made by the Pelzer family suggests that during the 1970s, open familiarity with abuse was low, and individuals were essentially bound to ignore maltreatment compared to how they would in the 21st century.
By 1971, Dave has gotten so used to his maltreatment—something no human ought to ever need to go through, let alone have such a cruel lifestyle become the normal reality. Dave is forced to steal because his mother starves him and even gets punished for stealing even though he was revoked food in the first place. He is still fearful of the unknown and what will happen in the future, he’s coming to acknowledge hypervigilance as an essential piece of his life; although he learned resistance and self-preservation. Unfortunately, Dave keeps on trusting and relying upon Mother, even though she wounds him. Dave has never known any life other than life under Mother’s influence, maybe clarifying why he confides in her. Attachment Disorders are psychiatric illnesses that can develop in young children who have problems in emotional attachments to others. Most children with attachment disorders have had severe problems or difficulties in their early relationships. They may have been physically or emotionally abused or neglected. There are two types of attachment disorders “reactive attachment disorder” (RAD) and “disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED).” Kids with RAD are less inclined to socialize with others as a result of negative encounters with grown-ups in their initial years. They experience issues calming down and don’t search for comfort from their guardians when they are upset. These children may appear to have practically no feelings while interacting with others. They may seem troubled, bad-tempered, irritable, or frightened while doing normal activities. Children with DSED don’t seem dreadful when meeting somebody for the first time. They seem like normal happy kids and some may even go up to strangers to talk with them. when these kids are placed in a more stranger situation, they don’t check with their folks or parental figures, and will regularly go with somebody they don’t have a clue about(Briere, J. N. 1992). From the information given we can infer that Dave would have DSED since he was still strong-willed and not completely repressed. Having at least a few decent relationships from his dad, little brother, to his teacher.
Dave Pelzer’s Story Of A Lost Boy In A Child Called It
The book being discussed in this paper is The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer. This book is the sequel to his first book A Child Called “It”. Pelzer’s life story is one of the worst documented cases of child maltreatment. In his books he describes what he went through in his life as being abused by his mom. The book The Lost Boy is specifically about what he went through from the ages nine to the age 18. In the book he recounts what he went through when he was in the child welfare and foster care system. This paper will take a look at the bio-psycho-socio-spiritual perspective (Bostrom, 2005), present some of the problems and introduce potential solutions and interventions that could have been useful for Pelzer’s case worker as well as anyone that could have potentially helped Pelzer in that time of need.
It is apparent to anyone that has read any of Pelzer’s books that what he went through as a child was abuse and neglect. Child abuse and neglect as defined by The Federal Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act is, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to act which prevents an imminent risk of serious harm (What is Child Abuse, 2003). According to that same article, there are four major types of child maltreatment; physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. Three of those will be discussed in this paper as it pertains to what Pelzer went through and talks about in his book.
The first perspective to the bio-psycho-socio-spiritual approach is biological. In the book Pelzer describes the time When he was taken to a hospital after he had been saved from “The Mother”. He describes how his body looked, “My legs and arms were a combination of yellow and brown. dark circles of purple bruises faded on top of fresh rings of blue bruises-where I was either grabbed, punched or slammed on the kitchen floor” (Pelzer, 1997, p.39). This quote describes the physical abuse that he went through. according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, Physical abuse is non-accidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, kicking, beating… or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child (2013). Pelzer also describes how both his mom and dad used to drink excessively. “Upstairs the battle begins. Since it is after four in the afternoon, I know both of my parents are drunk” (Pelzer, 1997, p.5). According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, Parental substance abuse is a risk factor for maltreatment and child welfare involvement (2014). Knowing this and knowing that Pelzer’s parents drink heavily it proves that substance abuse takes a part in child maltreatment. According to the same article the effects of parental substance abuse on children can be both indirect and direct (2014). and direct meaning through a chaotic living environment, which Pelzer was going through because he lived in the basement with no bed nor blanket nor pillow. direct meaning through physical or sexual abuse, which he was physically abused.
The next perspective to the bio-psycho-social-spiritual assessment is the psychological perspective. One major aspect of the psychological perspective is emotional abuse. as stated in the article What’s Child Abuse, emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth (2013). “Was it really mother’s fault? Maybe I deserved everything I got over the years” (Pelzer, 1997, p.47). This quote from the book shows how Pelzer questions himself and whether it had been his fault and if he had deserved everything that happened to him over the years. This ties into the concept that children often blame themselves, self-blame, for what they are going through. This is achieved by the perpetrator’s endless attempts to brainwash the child into believing that they deserve everything they are getting. This is probably the biggest tool the perpetrators used to abuse children emotionally and psychologically because once they have achieved this then they can let go of any guilt or remorse that they might have, if any. Another way that Pelzer was treated psychologically was by being neglected. As stated in the same article neglect is defined as the failure of a parent, caregiver, or a guardian to provide for a child’s basic needs. This was evident in the book because Pelzer would describe how his mother barely fed him anything and how he would either must steal food or search for food in trash cans. he was also not giving any clothes or showers, so he always wore the same raggedy, dirty clothes every day. another example for the psychological perspective is how Pelzer was so traumatized from being physically abused that every time someone would touch him, he would retreat. “I retreated into my protective position” (Pelzer, 1997, p.44). This shows how he always got defensive when it came to people touching him because in his head, he was ready for his mom to strike him. He would expect physical punishment every time he was touched.
The next aspect of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual assessment is the social perspective of looking at things. In the book Pelzer talks a little about his relationship with his dad. He says how his dad used to be his hero. “His job as a fireman in San Francisco, his years of drinking and the strained relationship with Mother have taken their toll on him. Once my superhero and known for his courageous efforts in rescuing children from burning buildings, Father is now a beaten man” (Pelzer, 1997, p.7). The man that he once looked up on is no longer his superhero. another relationship he had was with Ms. Gold, his social worker. From the moment that Pelzer met her he grew fond of her. He looked forward to everyone of their meetings. She was his favorite person to see in any given day. “She became my best friend. after school, whenever I saw her car, I’d Sprint down the walkway and burst into Aunt Mary’s home, knowing Ms. Gold had come to see me. We always ended our sessions with a long hug” (Pelzer, 1997, p. 47). In a way she became his Safe Haven. His person to turn to in times of need and the person he could trust. Although, at one point he did lie to her and hurt her. “I thought of how kind Ms. Gold had been throughout everything. I suddenly realized the terrible position I had just put her in. I never meant to hurt anybody, specially Ms. Gold” (Pelzer, 1997, p.59). This happened after they were having one of their talk sessions and Pelzer was feeling remorse for the pain he might cause Mother and his brothers. He started to tell Ms. Gold that he had made everything up and that he was lying. This made Ms. Gold break down in tears. Pelzer was having a conflict with telling the truth (Jones, 2006). even though she knew that he was the only child in the family being abused, Cinderella syndrome (Doyle & Timms, 2014), He still felt bad about telling people their “secret”. this way of thinking lasted all the way into his day of trial where he had a very important decision, tell the truth or lie and say that he made everything up. At the day of his disposition hearing (Jones, 2006), where the judge makes that decision whether the child will be returned home or be a ward of the court, placement decision (Jones, 2006). He decided to tell the truth after all which granted him his freedom he so deserved.
The last aspect of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual assessment is the spiritual perspective. Pelzer goes through many changes throughout the book. One big change that happened was leaving his home and being put into foster care. “What was once my sanctuary soon became a prison that kept me from playtime at my foster home” (Pelzer, 1997, p.81). This shows the change that is going on inside of him. He does not do view things the same anymore. His view of the world he wants lived in is changing (Doyle & Timms, 2014). Another big change in him was the need to be accepted by others, whatever means necessary. “I became a legend within the group. I was fully aware that what I was doing was wrong. I also knew that some of the bigger boys were using me, but I did not care. After years of isolation, I was finally accepted within a group (Pelzer, 1997, p.86). Being accepted by others became an obsession to him. All he wanted was to be accepted by others around him, to not be the outcast or that weird one, and he was willing to steal to be accepted. “I remember August 21, 1973, As my day on my bike. that day was the first time I felt that I was a normal kid, caught up in the splendor of a never-ending day” (Pelzer, 1997, p.107). This quote shows a huge change in him. For once in his life he is a normal boy. It also starts a new shift in his life where he slowly starts to develop a sense of worth.
In the book there are times where it is clear that the way things were handled were completely wrong and not helpful. One specific time was when Pelzer was taken to a psychiatrist to help him to cope with the change of being abused by his mother to being in a foster home. One would think that a psychiatrist would do anything to help the child feel wanted and understood. In Pelzer’s situation that was not the case. As soon as the psychiatrist entered the room where Pelzer was, he called Pelzer by the wrong name. Right off the bat Pelzer felt uncomfortable. He continued to call him by the wrong name the entire time they were talking, even after Pelzer corrected him several times. He also instead of first gaining the patients trust by talking to him about normal things and not diving in into the reason why he is there, he being with questions and comments like “Do you hate your mother?”, “Why do you think your mother beat you like that?”, and “You should hate your mother”. This way of approaching things with a child who has been recently been abused is not the right way to go about things at all. Children need to be approached with care and with the goal to gain their trust so they can slowly start to unease and talk to them about the traumatic events that they went through. Later in the book Pelzer is notified that the same psychiatrist has reported that he has violent tendencies and that he even tried to lash out against him, which was completely not true. This shows that even professionals that are in the business and are trusted by many to do the right thing can sometimes be a hinder to the betterment of a child’s life. One way to prevent this from happening again is to evaluate the professionals who work with children that have been abused (Strengthening Families). To make sure that every professional who is working with these children is fully equipped with the skills needed to talk and help these children. Another problem that is addressed in the book is the what society thinks about child abuse and how they consciously decide to not accept it as a problem. “You see, if the same people acknowledge-admit-a need for foster care, that means that they are admitting to a bigger problem of what got you kids into foster care in the first place. And that means admitting to things like alcoholism, child abuse, children who run away or get into drugs” (Pelzer, 1997, p.204). Pelzer’s foster mom tells him this when she is trying to warn him about getting put into a mental institution by his biological mom if he does not behave. The quote demonstrates society’s view of a bigger problem that people are too scared to admit to. Although, this problem has been reduced since then, it is still a problem people face. One way to prevent this or to help alleviate the problem by promoting child and family wellness, by creating public awareness and by creating supportive communities (Child Welfare Information Gateway). We can promote child and family wellness by educating families on how to treat children and the different parenting styles that there are, and which one is the best or has the best outcomes in the long run. We can create public awareness by having workshops around towns to inform people of the problem and to know what to do in case you witnessed or suspect a child being abused. We can create supportive communities by creating support groups for children and families who are going through abuse and for allies who want to help. Social media currently is huge way to get the message across. Almost everyone has either a cellphone or a computer with working internet service. Getting the message across about support groups and all the resources there are out there should not be too difficult. Facebook groups are becoming a great way for people with a common goal or interest to stay connected.
To conclude, in this paper we took at the story of David Pelzer and what he went through as a child and teenager in the foster care system. The bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspective was used to assess what he went through in those tough years of his life. Some problems of the child welfare and foster care system were addressed and were followed by some prevention options to avoid or help alleviate those problems in the future. Pelzer showed a great deal of resilience in how he managed things throughout his life. He did not let the fact that he was abused and his experience in the foster care system deter him from becoming a successful man in life. He persevered through all the obstacles thrown at him and managed to stay in line and beat the system in his own way. He does credit a few people for his successes and for saving his life. His book shows us how society views child abuse and some of the shortcomings of the system.
Life Lessons in “A Child Called It” and “The Lost Boy”
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Faith is taking the first step with courage even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” In the nonfiction novels “A Child Called It” and “The Lost Boy” by Dave Pelzer, Dave survives through hard times with courage and faith. Dave’s mother used to be the best mother he could ask for until she became an alcoholic. Since then she has become very abusive both physically and verbally, hurting Dave in many ways. In the first book, “A Child Called It,” Dave has to have a lot of hope and courage to survive. Then after doing so he must learn to be able to fit in to a normal household when he gets taken into foster care in the second book. This will require him to have faith in himself and others. In the end he emerges victorious. Therefore, the lesson that Dave teaches us is that courage, hope, and faith can help you get through the hardest times in life.
One instance in which Dave illustrates the importance of courage and hope is when he decides to start fighting back against his mother. After his mother beats him one day, Dave has had enough and builds up the courage to survive and fight back against his mom. He states, “That day I vowed to myself that I would never, ever again give that bitch the satisfaction of hearing me beg her to stop beating me” (Pelzer 43). David is trying to be optimistic about the future and have hope that he can make it out alive and eventually stop the abuse. He does not want his mother to have the satisfaction of beating him while he just sits there doing nothing, so he decided to do anything to make sure it doesn’t happen. Another time he tries to fight back is when he tells his school nurse about his abuse. On page 12, Pelzer is talking to his school nurse and is asked about his wounds. He replies “That is where my mother stabbed me ma’am.” He has finally built up the courage to tell someone about the things that his mother does to him. Because of the fact that he had the courage to do so, the police find out and he is taken from his mother’s custody. The ends his life of being abused and he is saved from his mother. In order to survive he had to not give up and have faith in others.
Another time where Dave teaches us about the importance of courage, hope, and faith is in the second book, “The Lost Boy,” when he has to now begin a new life in a foster home. After spending a short while in a temporary foster home, Dave goes to his second foster home which is owned by Lillian. He really wants to live as a normal kids, make friends, and find someone he can call his new mom. At one point he is speaking to Lillian about his past and she says, “You’ve overcome more in 12 years than most folks will ever accomplish in a lifetime. You hoped to survive and in the end you did” (Pelzer 206). This goes to prove that Dave must have had a lot of trouble in life and that his hope to find a new life and new beginnings has been keeping him going. For someone to survive such horrific treatment and then become a normal kid is very hard and you would need a lot of hope and courage to do so. Another example is when at the end of the book Dave, who is now a grown man, is reflecting on his past. He writes, “I had a lot of faith in not only my self, but also other. If not for this I would have given up long ago” (Pelzer 302). Dave believed in himself and that he had what it took to change and be able to survive. He also believed in others and that they would help him. The fact that he says that he may not have lasted if not for all the faith he had in others and himself shows that it is one of the biggest reasons he was able to push through and live on.
The lesson that Dave teaches us is that courage, hope, and faith can help you get through the hardest times in life. Even when you are faced with difficulties that you or others believe are impossible to overcome, you should not give up. If you are courageous enough to stand up against it and have the hope that you can win, you will. You must believe in yourself and those around you. This is the message that Dave tries to convey in the story.