Abused Teen Moms More Likely to Mistreat Own Kids

Time to 'break the cycle': advocates
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 13, 2013 8:52 AM CST
Teen moms who suffered abuse are more likely to pass it on to their own kids, a study finds.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – New research points to an unsurprising pattern of abuse across generations: Teen mothers who were abused themselves are more likely to mistreat their own children. Researchers in California found that more than 40% of teen moms had been reported as possible child abuse victims; half of those reports were confirmed. The kids of victims suffered mistreatment at twice the rate seen by children of other teen mothers, the Los Angeles Times reports, with more than 34% of them victimized by age 5.

The study offers firm evidence for a long-observed trend. "We talk about wanting to break the cycle of maltreatment. There seems to be an opportunity here" to do so by boosting efforts to help teen mothers who were abuse victims, says the lead investigator. "These young parents do not have parents to turn to to help them," adds an advocate. "We simply can't look away and pretend we don't know what happens to their children." Separately, the study noted that more than 25% of girls in LA County who were in foster care at age 17 became teen mothers. "The sad part is they really don't understand the concept of being a mother yet," says a former foster child training in social work. (Read more child abuse stories.)

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