Does Abuse At A Young Age Affect The Development Of Children? - AP Seminar - Research

2213 words - 9 pages

darelys m
[COMPANY NAME] [Company address]
Word Count: 2049
The Childhood Domestic Violence Association, a leading nonprofit organization
dedicated to helping victims of childhood domestic abuse, stated, “5 million children witness
domestic violence each year in the US.” Such high numbers of witnesses to these heinous and
wicked acts suggests the immediate threats to the children of our nation. On discussions of
domestic abuse, one controversial question regarding the topic is whether children who witness
and experience violence will become abusers themselves, or whether their development is altered
due to the extensive trauma. Children’s experiences shape their behavior, and these early
encounters to such turbulent situations can be argued to indeed change the development of a
child and have everlasting impacts to their brains. In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass,
we see the case of young Alice entering a fantastical world in the chapter Looking-Glass House.
Alice stated, “I’ll tell you all my ideas about Looking-glass House. First, there’s the room you
can see through the glass—that’s just the same as our drawing room, only the things go the other
way.” Even in literature, it is shown that children are highly imaginative and innocent, and a
childhood of trauma and abuse would most definitely affect the development of a child and their
future decisions. Through the Looking Glass furthers connect to the fact that a child who
experiences trauma may be susceptive to create these fantasy worlds to cope with their emotions.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Administration for Children
and Families of the United States which promotes the safety and well-being of the youth in the
country, stated, “Adolescents with a history of childhood maltreatment can have decreased levels
of growth in the hippocampus and amygdala compared to nonmaltreated adolescents.” The
hippocampus is responsible for the formation of memories as well as interacting with one’s
surroundings and environment. Damage and decreased levels to the hippocampus would result in
memory loss, as well as loss of those childhood memories maltreated children endure. However,
damage to the hippocampus would be detrimental to the development of a child because of the
way our brains associate skill with memories and experiences. Thus, the learning abilities of
children can be affected due to extensive exposure to abuse and violence. The amygdala, on the
other hand, is also associated with memory and its processing, as well as emotional responses
and decision-making. Maltreatment and abuse can cause damage to the amygdala, showing how
these experiences to young children are detrimental because it would cause abrupt behaviors and
an impairment of judgement.
Periodically being exposed to abuse at young ages may cause children to form defense
mechanisms to c...

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