My Father, Frankenstein: A Child's View of Battering Parents.

Journal Name
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Journal Volume
36
Page Count
3
Year Published
1997
Author (Individual)
van Dalen, A.
Glasserman, M.
Resource Type
Journal Article
This article describes a short-term group intervention with children who witnessed their fathers attempt to murder their mothers. All of the children were aggressive in school and had some degree of speech impairment. During the 12 week session, the children identified their fathers with monsters, specifically Frankenstein. The therapist responded with a description of Frankenstein as a doll with batteries in place of a brain. Children in the group learned that their fathers, like Frankenstein, could not control their behavior. This translation, as well as a focus on safety and acceptance, helped the children overcome feelings of self-blame to hold their fathers solely responsible for their violent behavior. The children were able to love their fathers without feeling like they betrayed their mothers and without copying their fathers' violent reactions. 10 references.

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