CHILD ABUSE by Ruth S. & C. Henry Kempe Kempe


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Some may balk at the choice of child abuse as a subject in a series on The Developing Child but Ruth and Henry Kempe approach the phenomenon creditably, as experience which impedes normal development, and back up their argument with 20 years of observation and intervention. Maintaining that four a ut of five parents can change--an encouraging statistic--they consider the circumstances of abuse (race and income are no indicators) and recommend mediation strategies. Most parents respond to long- or short-term treatment (lay therapists especially get good results); approximately ten percent are hopelessly unresponsive and another ten percent will alter behavior but continue to withhold affection (""I don't beat Johnny anymore, but I hate the son-of-a-bitch like I always did""). The children, remarkably, tend to recover emotionally if intervention is swift and decisive. The Kempes cover physical violence, physical and emotional neglect, emotional abuse, and, in an authoritative, necessarily extensive section, sexual exploitation: incest is on the rise. Many more girls are victimized but boys fare worse afterward and get less from therapeutic treatment. The authors commend Parents Anonymous and telephone hotlines, evaluate residential centers for children or whole families, and endorse a coordinated network of community services: social workers can't do it alone. Unlike most of the books in this series, this relies more on the authors' (Colorado) data and less on outside contributors, but their conclusions are keen and deliberate.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1978
ISBN: 0674114264
Publisher: Harvard Univ. Press