Step children are in trouble. They are faced with numerous challenges that arise out of their underprivileged status. While some may thrive irrespective of these challenges, many succumb to abuse and neglect orchestrated by their foster fathers. Many are being tortured, raped and maimed at the hands of the very men their mothers love. What are the reasons for this?
If you thought only women hate their step children then you are wrong. Papers are awash with cases of men who abuse their foster children. Some have gone to the extent of raping, torturing and even killing their foster children. Why do men abuse their foster children? Why do they molest these innocent victims of circumstances? Observation and baseline surveys carried out by this author reveal several reasons:
- Some men are just violent by nature – Men who rape, torture and kill their foster children could be genotypically and phenotypically violent. Such men commit many other crimes that are similar in nature and the torture unto which they may subject their children may be just an extension of this violence.
- Frustration from previous unions – Hurts, frustrations and regrets from previous unions with women who either died or divorced these men could make them vent their anger on innocent victims, in this case, their step children.
- The feeling of otherness – How can I explain this? That sense of belonging that comes with blood ties may be found missing between foster parents and their ‘children’ hence the tendency to mistreat and abuse them.
- Competition for affection – A lot of time and effort goes into parenting, especially for mothers. When mothers remarry for whatever reasons, children from past unions may come against stiff competition from the father as they look for the mother’s undivided attention.
- Poverty – When poverty enters through the door, love gets out through the window. When this happens, the first to suffer are the children and bad for them if the man identifies them falsely as the source of his unbearable circumstances.
- Peer pressure – Friends and relatives may also determine how men and women treat their children, especially those who are not biologically theirs. Such pressure may come from either close buddies or even parents, especially mothers.
- Drug abuse – When who abuse alcohol and narcotics tend to be more violent compared to teetotalers. While alcohol may only accentuate an already existing emotional problem, drugs can not be ruled out completely when it comes to the role they play in physical abuse of children, particularly step children.
These and many other reasons may be to blame for the rising cases of homicide, particularly that which is directed against poor defenseless children. Sometimes mothers are forced to pick between loving the man or protecting the children and that becomes the deal breaker.
Published in: Family