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Guerrieri 1 Everyone can agree that adult abuse towards children is morally wrong.

Sexual, physical, verbal, emotional regardless of the type, its a natural instinct to protect those who cannot help themselves. Recently, in California, a woman who endured sexual abuse from a teacher while she was in middle school, confronted her abuser after years of building up the courage to finally talk about it. The teacher admitted that relationships like the one shared between them years ago are inherently wrong, but never apologized directly to the woman. Unfortunately, due to the statute of limitations, this teacher will not face charges to what she did to that woman, but she nonetheless will have to deal with the guilt for her actions. This case raises an important question when it comes to adult-children relationships if all abuse is considered to be wrong, why is it only sexual abuse cases that are making headlines? Lesli Somerset, a senior psychology major at SRU, thinks she may know why. I think this stems from the fact that sex is so stigmatized in our culture, Somerset said. People do not like to acknowledge it and when they do, they make whatever the issue is extra emphasized. But what about the other forms of abuse that are being publicized on national television? Shows like Dance Moms on Lifetime, show adults screaming at kids, sometimes until the kids are in tears. We are taught at a young age that bullying is wrong, but if its so wrong then what makes this type of behavior ok for adults? According to Sharon Portwood in the article, An Evaluation of the Adults and Children Together Against Violence Parents Raising Safe Kids Program, it was stated that in 2008, approximately 3.3 million children were said to be victims of abuse. The article went on to say

Guerrieri 2 that the experiences these children have with abuse often show signs of long-term deficits in physical, cognitive, and social domains. Somerset agreed with the articles findings, saying that children who have experienced abuse can suffer from disorders such as ADHD and Disruptive Mood Disorder. She also said its important to remember that every child reacts differently to adults in leadership positions. Ever child has a different temperament or personality, Somerset said. Some kids can deal with tougher criticism methods while others may not. Kids, throughout their childhood, are constantly surrounded by adults in leadership positions. People like coaches, teachers, and instructors and their methods of leadership are affecting each child in a different way. Because of this, it is important for these adults to possess certain leadership skills, skills Teresa Rothrauff, a junior pursuing a leadership minor, knows all about. I have been taught that leadership cannot be defined as a whole, Rothrauff said. It will vary from person to person. Rothrauff says that everyone possesses certain skills that will help them with leadership roles whether it be passion, creativeness, or reason, they can all translate into positive leadership qualities. She does say, however, that negatively reacting as a leader, such as yelling and screaming, is something that never makes a good leader. I feel that few people will respond positively to being yelled at or negatively criticized, Rothrauff said. People often will withdraw and perform much worse due to such treatement. Their confidence is affected and the goals they may have had will be short lived due to how negatively they are being told they are doing at that time. This type of criticism rarely, if ever, works.

Guerrieri 3 Coaching situations are commonly a place where there is a thin line drawn between being abusive and being motivational. Student athlete Ronnie Strauser says that all too often that line can be crossed. As an athlete, I would say I respond best to a coach or trainer that makes me want to work harder or do better, Strauser said. Its a pretty thin line to walk. I have seen adults yelling and criticizing kids and it was helpful in no way, shape, or form. I think its important to remember that if you are going to be the loud coach that you have to be positive. Strauser said he thinks that that type of treatment towards children is abusive and is bullying, something, which he thinks, needs to stop. This is a form of bullying, Strauser said. Especially when it comes to the younger levels Rothrauff agreed saying that she believes that the treatment of kids on television, especially those where adults are shown yelling at kids, is a type of abuse and is something that needs to be dealt with. When abusive relationships are found in families, it is an issue that is immediately taken care of according to Sarah Sobocinski, a senior social work major. The most common kinds of child abuse occur when parents cant afford their children, Sobocinski said. Social workers are sent to that family and action is taken. As a social work major, that abuse is something that I want to help put an end to. Sobocinski said that when it comes to children and their parents, since its not a voluntary position that the kids in, that its a situation that needs to be remedied immediately. Abuse, she said, is not something that any kid should ever have to deal with.
Whats worse is that in these situations, the kids are being voluntarily put into the abusive situations by their parents, Sobocinski said.

Guerrieri 4 Going back to the show Dance Moms, the moms are shown time and time again comforting their child and telling them that everything will be ok and their coach wont yell at them anymore. But in the very next episode, the same situation unfolds as the children are reduced to tears as they try to do something that they love, dancing. I absolutely think that this type of treatment is tolerated for the ratings, Sobocinski said. The moms, Im sure, are harsh and push their girls pretty hard, but as soon as they get the fame and they need to make more seasons, they will do whatever they can to keep their daughter on that team. Strauser, Rothrauff, and Somerset all agree saying that as bad as the abuse the girls take on television is, its happening because people enjoy watching it. The type of abuse these girls go through is more along the lines of psychological abuse, which is harder to prove than other types of abuse, Sobocinski said. It is, however, just as frowned upon as the other types of abuse. Do I think that its wrong, absolutely. But handling it and having the option of taking the kids out of the situation, unfortunately in this scenario, would not help. The fact remains that child abuse is considered morally wrong in any situation, but it seems to be ignored when it comes to relationships between coaches and instructors with the children under them. It will only become an issue when we make it an issue, Strauser said. And when it gets to the point when coaches are reducing their athletes to tears, it needs to become an issue.