Influence of intrafamilial abuse in children's change of values towards their parents

Keywords: child protection, parental alienation, parental alienation syndrome, socialization, values

Abstract

The socialization that parents and society exercise on children instills in them a set of values towards parents. Some of these values are not lying, feeling affection for the parents, and wanting to have contact with them. In this work, we attempt to determine whether these values change in the face of intrafamilial abuse.  To that end, an incidental sample was used, consisting of 2730 minors aged between 6 to 18 years, who had never suffered abuse. They were asked to put themselves in the place of the main character of a story. The story varied depending on the conditions to be studied: observation and direct suffering or account of the abuse by another, type of abuse (physical or psychological), who perpetrated the abuse (custodian or non-custodial), and who received it (the other custodian or the minor). The results show that, as a rule, children lie to conceal both parents’ abusive behavior; they love their parents and want to have contact with them, even in the presence of abuse. Notwithstanding that in the presence of abuse by one of their parents, children still love them and want to have contact with both parents, a significant number of children, however, stop loving them or want to have contact with the abusive parent. These results undermine what is defended by theories like PAS with no scientific evidence, and underline the need to use scientific procedures to test the reliability of minors’ testimony based on the idea that children tell the truth.

Published
2020-01-13
Section
Articles