Parental Violence Distorts A Child’s View of God When kids are ill-treated, abused by their parents/primary caregivers their view of God gets distorted

Children come into this world pure, full of innocence, believing the world is a safe place, a happy place. Unfortunately, their parents carry the baggage of their past, “how their parents treated them.” Sadly, a majority of parents had inadequate caring while they were kids and end up repeating history and transmitting what they experienced as a child. 

Parental Violence Distorts  A Child’s  View of God
Violent parenting distorts a child’s view of God

Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory indicates that children learn to be perpetrators and/or victims of violence through exposure to their parents’ expressions of violence. According to attachment theory, child abuse leads to the insecure attachment between parents and children; changes in the child’s internal working model result in later relationship difficulties and inadequate care for one’s own children. Another possible explanation is that family violence during childhood increases stress and negative life events; during adulthood, high stress and limited resources lead people to use violence.

Assortative mating suggests that people select mates similar to themselves, increasing the risk of becoming involved in partner violence for people who are already predisposed. Some researchers point to features with genetic components shared by parents and children that predispose both to family violence, such as antisocial traits, alcoholism, and impulsivity. Some traits shared by parents and children may not be passed genetically but instead may be learned during childhood, such as violence approval, poor emotion regulation, deficits in social information processing, and hostile attributions about interpersonal relationships.

Unending Violence

I don’t think I will ever forget the fear I felt when my father was around. Even a trivial word or action was enough to trigger him into a violent rage. I was always on high alert, trying to keep him happy. However, that’s impossible for a child.  My world which until my mother’s death was paradise despite her illness became a living hell.

My father became the devil my brother did his best to avoid and I tried my best to please. But it was never enough. Life became a nightmare.  It was hard to believe in a loving God when my father was so mean and cruel. My faith in a loving God was destroyed. The Christian phrase God is love seemed so meaningless. I found it hard to have trust and faith in a benevolent God.

Oh, think twice Cuz it’s another day for you and me in paradise
Oh, think twice Cuz it’s another day for you You and me in paradise
Oh, Lord, is there nothing more anybody can do?
Oh, Lord, there must be something you can say ( Another Day In Paradise lyrics)

Parental Violence Monster God

M.Scott Peck in his book The Road Less Travelled writes about how our view of God is shaped “If we have loving, forgiving parents, we are likely to believe in a loving and forgiving God. And in our adult view, the world is likely to seem as nurturing a place as our own childhood was. If our parents were harsh and punitive, we are likely to mature with a concept of a harsh and punitive monster god. And if they failed to care for us, we will likely envision the universe as similarly uncaring”.

Image Source: Pixabay

Further Reading:

General Theory of Love – Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini & Richard Lannon

Into The Magic Shop – James Doty
Invincible: The 10 Lies You Learn Growing Up with Domestic Violence – Brian Martin

The Truth Will Set You Free Hardcover – Alice Miller

Why Won’t You Apologize?: Healing Big Betrayals and Everyday Hurts –  Harriet Lerner 

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