This paper provides a critical exploratory framework of the child maltreatment among the Asian Americans. The driving force behind this research is the alarming reported cases of child maltreatment among the Asian Americans. The reported are disproportionately low since a very high rate of the many types of abuses among the Asian Americans is found in this group of Americans. They range from physical abuse; sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and even child neglect are prevalent. The findings emanating from the literature review do indicate the low rates could be as a result of underreporting as opposed to actual incidence.
Most of the studies carried out do indicate child maltreatment in Asian American family is rampant. A big number of these children has in one way or the other been victims of a certain type of abuse. This paper will endeavor to expose the nature of the maltreatment meted upon the Asian Americans, an ethnic minority in USA. The research will discuss ways the child development professionals should address when dealing with the issue of maltreatment among the children.
In the United States of America there are several ethnic groups that include Native American Indians, African Americans, and pacific Islanders, among many other minority groups. The research particularly explores the various the various aspects that surround this maltreatment among Asian Americans. This maltreatment is serious since it has even led to many deaths of these children in some instances.
The children experience different maltreatment types. For example, according to information from relevant department indicates that in 2010 there were over three million cases of child maltreatment reported. A 43 percentage of these were either being abused or even had been neglected (Aten et al., 2008). Other cases were of sexual nature. In the same year, it was established that 62% of the cases was due to sexual violence (International Labour Organization, 2009). In the some cases the maltreatment led to fatalities that varied according to sex and even race. For instance in the yea2010 the rates of deaths per every 100000 children was 1.9% for American Indians/ Alaska natives, 1.9 for Hispanics, 3.9 for African Americans and 0.6 for the Asians (International Labour Organization, 2009).
Several researches have been done about child maltreatment. This literature review is going to look into what the various studies have on the issue of child maltreatment among Asian Americans in particular and how the professionals can benefit from any knowledge gained (De Boer & Coady, 2007).
Child maltreatment includes ‘child abuse’ as well as ‘child neglect’. All in all, child maltreatment could manifest itself in physical abuse, substance abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse, parental substance abuse, among other forms of maltreatment. Statistics have indicated that though child maltreatment is prevalent in the USA, the incidences are particularly higher among the ethnic minority children. The children of color have proven to be overrepresented when it comes to maltreatment. This is an issue of great concern. It has been thus established that perhaps they do move differently through the system s by way of placement, length, the type of placement and even the eservices offered to them (Myers, 2008). For example, the provision of mental health care service could be less as compared to the availability of such services to other children. Further, when it comes to the type of placement one may find that in the case of children of color, there is greater use of extended kinship care. The results of this study were also to be the same as in Canada where it was found that the Aboriginal children were more represented at all the phases of the child welfare system than non-Aboriginal ones (Khan et al., 2006). Thus, in the study the Aboriginal, Black and even Latino children were almost two times more likely to be associated or even involved with child maltreatment investigations as compared to the cases reported for the white children.
This report is useful to this study since it goes ahead and gives an account to the disparity. One of them could be that either those who reported were biased in reporting the abuse e.g. teachers, social workers, counselors etc. Thus the finding will help weed out any form of bias as we set out to carry out our research, thereby making as objective as possible. This professional ethnocentrism could make a caregiver prescribe measures that are detrimental to the child’s welfare (Bala, 2008).
The issue of culture has also arisen in many research findings.The Asian cultures do for instance emphasize a great deal of relational type of socialization. Asian families’ authoritarian parenting styles do stress on the need for harmony and protection of family image and honor. In a related study, it was found that there exists a subtle correlation between authoritarian type of parenting and outcomes such as academic achievement.
Unlike the American families which use strategies such as time-outs and lecturing as away disciplining their kids, Asian families do commonly practice spanking with the hand or object. They also use verbal means of disciplining their kids, depending on the nature or frequency of the wrong done by the child.
But as seen earlier, different cultures define abuse differently. This makes it very difficult to define the forms of maltreatment. Thus, the socio-cultural and social and social ways of labeling do greatly affect the way professionals should handle cases of child maltreatment.
The socio-cultural perspective does greatly tell how caregivers should handle the issue of maltreatment. According to this school of thought the way we define child maltreatment should reflect cultural norms of the community in question. For instance, most cultures do limit or completely avoid the question of sex and sexuality. They are not open to discussing such matters with their children.This is the same with most Asian American families. Some families do consider girls that are no longer virgins as ‘ruined’ regardless of the circumstances under which they may have lost that virginity. This is why the question of cultural definition does prove to be a challenge, especially when it has to do with discipline (Aten et al., 2008).
Though physical aggression is frequently seen as an abuse, the categorization of emotional and psychological abuse and neglect have met resistance in terms of being considered as abusive. From such conflict then, it is apparent that the categorization of child maltreatment is to a greater extent influenced by aspects of race, culture and even ethnicity. For example in a study carried out on the perceptions of child maltreatment among the Asian Americans and White Americans, it was established that there were glaring racial differences in the definitions. In the study, the white respondents tended to rate many behaviors as forms of abuse (Fang et al., 2012). These were particularly physical and emotional maltreatment. The Chinese Americans and Filipino American respondents, on the other hand, were more concerned with parental sexual exploits and parental drug abuse as more qualifying to be considered as abusive acts. One conclusion that can be drawn is that this particular response could be derived from deep rooted parental socialization of the children in these Asian American cultures.
In another study on Korean mothers, it was established that child abuse signified parental love for the child. Education also played a big role in the findings of this study. For instance mothers who had attained higher levels of education tended to be more negative toward child maltreatment (Earner, 2007). Equally, Korean immigrant women who held the opinion that they had at one time as immigrants tended to be more predisposed to approve of the use of any form of corporal punishment. Yet in a study carried out among urban Americans, the respondents were found to have very strong feelings toward classification of child neglect as an abuse. In an overall assessment, the Native American parents felt that majority of vignettes were in great violation of the appropriate child care standards (Aten et al., 2008).
The cultural differences in the perceptions and attitudes of professionals toward child maltreatment are crucial part of this research. In a research done on eighty priests of Korean descent, it was found that they were familiar with the child maltreatment reporting legislation and felt that the laws actually endeavored to protect the children. The majority of the pastors also said that they would prefer the majority of family members go for pastoral mode of counseling as opposed to directly reporting the incidences to the child protective agencies.
To assist in the discussion perhaps the strengths based perspective would suffice. This perspective focuses on stong points of an individual rather than weaknesses. This perspective is grounded on the belief that every group is of people has the ability to improve positively. So empowering individuals forms the core objective of this perspective. This equally goes along way into assisting the people learn by themselves to change. Through the empowerment they get exposed to accessing both internal and external resources. Thus the individuals should be viewed as agents of change. From the literature it was seen how the Asian Americans have a unique perspective towards child maltreatment. Therefore, there is need for the professionals to consider that the capacities of the members of this communities to address maltreatment and work with them accordingly. This therefore requires that that the individuals in question should be granted their freedom to identify their own goals.Thus for one sees clearly that professionals like those in the healthcare should be in a position to work perfectly well with the community stakeholders in order to address the existing challenges that are to do with child maltreatment.
This approach debunks the earlier tendency of several professional practitioners in always blaming the victim. Thus, bi-culturalization of assessments and interventions should be in line with the individuals’ and families’ cultural norms. Further, these should involve the identity of the indigenous interventions that could be incorporated into the Western type of interventions (Bala, 2008). Of equal importance is the formulation of a plan which promotes the individuals set values and belief systems.
In order for the welfare of the child to be effectively managed for the Asian Americans, it is crucial for the professionals to promote interventions that are racially and ethnically meaningful. Thus, professionals from diverse disciplines should have a clear grasp of the different ways of maltreatment. These do manifest themselves in oppression, marginalization resource access. Therefore the various stakeholders are faced with the formulation of the direction the child welfare has got to head. The professionals should not be tempted to think that the dominant practices are necessarily the best and should be prescribed to even the ethnic minorities such as the Asian Americans.
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