Growing up through child abuse and neglect

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16 March 2016

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Many people do not realize how a child growing up in an abusive or neglected household affects their future. People go through hard times hiding it from the world; secretly hoping someone finds out about their story and helps them. There are many children throughout the world that do not know what it is like growing up with a normal parental figure. They go everyday living the life they live hoping to get out of it. Children that are abused or neglected go day after day worrying about when they will eat next, be looked at normal, feel special, and feel loved again. Children that grow up in an abusive/neglected household do not grow up with the correct way of parenting. Usually the child ends up gravitating towards another person or thing that helps them get through their tragedy. Jeannette in The Glass Castle is a child that goes through life with her two siblings being neglected by her parents. She struggles to get out of Welch and move to New York to start her life over. In Damaged, Jodie is a child that has been abused since she was very young. She has been through foster home after foster home till she meets Cathy.

In the third book, A Stolen Life, Jaycee is kidnapped at the age of eleven and is abused by her kidnapper Phillip. She has two of his children by the age of seventeen and is forced to live with the fact that she will possibly not be able to see her family again. All three of these books show us that even though you have multiple rough patches in your life, you can always find a reason to keep moving forward. In The Glass Castle, Damaged, and A Stolen life, three girls go through abuse and neglect as a child, but are able to overcome it with the help of gravitating towards another figure. In the books The Glass Castle, Damaged, and A Stolen Life, the characters’ abuse and neglect in the household is very diverse. These three books talk about how hard it is to live with a parental figure that does not truly care about you. They go through life trying to figure out what they are worth and why this is happening to them. Jeannette, Jodie, and Jaycee are three young girls trying to find their part in this world hoping to get out of their family tragedies. Many people go through life growing up in a household full of abuse.

Children can be abused by their parental figures in many different ways. It can be verbal abuse, physical abuse, and psychological abuse. If a child is being abused it usually starts at a young age and goes up till someone finds out about it or they end up moving out. Children tend to hide what is happening to them because they think it is not as bad as it is. Many adults that are abusive to their children were abused when they were young. “Brian, his cheeks wet with tears, was holding his hands protectively between his legs” (Walls 146). In The Glass Castle, Jeannette’s grandmother tries to abuse her little brother Brian. Because of her doing this, it makes the children think that she abused their father when he was a child. When children find out that their friend is being abused, they try to hide it as much as they can because they do not want to be the person to get their friend in trouble.

In Damaged, the girl in the story is a child that has been taken into foster care. After her eight years of being abused, she is finally taken out of the home Jodie has been abused by multiple adults, men and women; her mother and father, and their friends. This book has many things that deal with abuse in the household. “Taking off my clothes” (Glass 60). Jodie feels the need to take her clothes off when Cathy goes to take her picture to put into her scrapbook. Jodie tries to take her clothes off because when she lived with her mother and father they would abuse her and take pictures of her and other children naked. Because this has started at such a young age, Jodie thinks that it is perfectly normal to act in this behavior. When adults start abusing their children at such a young age, they grow up thinking that it is okay to do these things and that every family does it.

Children that tend to be abused only remember certain parts of what has happened to them. This is because they shut down their brain so that they can be there physically but not mentally. This tends to stunt their growth and this is why Jodie is a three to four year old in an eight year old body. When children are very young, their development does not start as fast as non-abused children making then be in slower classes during school and not being able to function properly. (Guli, et. al.) Children need help with their development and they should not be abused in any kind of way.

Children that are abused in the household tend to hide what is going on with them at school. Children do not like to tell people what is happening to them because they do not want people to look at them weird or someone telling their parents. The child is in enough trouble at home, he/she does not want it to be at school too. Children feel like school is their “get away” from the reality. Children do not want to feel like they are bringing “drama” into the classroom and they do not want to have all of the attention towards them. In the book The Glass Castle, Jeannette tries to hide how poor her family is at school. She does not like the way the kids look at her during class because of what she is wearing. Even though she isn’t abused at home, she is still neglected and not taken care of. “One day that winter, I went to a classmate’s house to work on a school project” (Walls 179). While Jeannette was at their house she was shocked at how big it was and how they had a refrigerator and washers and dryers.

She has never seen anything like it because her family is too poor to afford things like that. This is because her family would rather spend their money on booze and art supplies for the parents than taking care of their children. Jeannette thinks that the kids at school make fun of her for what she wears and because she smells. She does not like having to wear the same outfit for a year straight with only washing it once or twice. Children these days are very self-conscious about what they look like around others and if they will fit in or not. In a different manner, Jodie from Damaged likes to tell the students in her class about what has happened to her. She thinks school is a safe place to be so she is comfortable with opening up to people. She does not really understand that what she is saying is inappropriate for school, but with her lack of knowledge she thinks it is okay, Jodie is known to have flashbacks of what happened to her the safer she feels. “Jodie was clinging to the radiator, her eyes wide and staring, her body rigid with fear” (Glass 268). Jodie thinks that her father is going to come to her school and pick her up like he did when she lived with her family.

When she was little and she lived with her parents, her mother and father would pick her up in their van and he would abuse her in the back while her mother video taped it. School is a safe place for children to go when they are beign abused at home. They are taken care of and feel like they have a sense of purpose being there learning. They are taken care of by teachers that have a special bond with each and every student they have. In A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard is kidnapped at the age of eleven and lives with her captive for eighteen years. She stopped going to school at that time and has missed out on many childhood activities. When she was fourteen she had her first daughter. Her second came soon after. After the eighteen years of being hidden it was her first daughter’s turn to go to high school. “Walking the halls of the high school grounds brought up feelings of grief for what I had lost” (Dugard 142). Jaycee had to go through life wondering what it would be like to got to a high school and she was never able to go. She was sort of jealous that her daughter is able to go through the experience she did not. When you are an adult and you do not get the opportunity to go to a high school or do anything with your childhood, you miss out on a part of your lifetime that you will never get back.

People grow up in homes that are neglected. It is not as severe as abuse but it is actually really close. Many people do not realize how much neglect can impact a person. Neglect can happen when the parents are not giving their child the emotional attention they need. The parent should supply food, clothing and shelter for their child. Neglect fits into A Glass Castle perfectly. The parents do not provide a proper hosue or any food for their three kids. The parents make them sleep in cardboard boxes because they cannot afford beds. The parents could also not hold a steady job making them have to move out of their houses multiple times. “We counted eleven places we had lived, then we lost track” (Walls 48). By the age of four, Jeannette had moved eleven times because her father lost his job and could not pay the house bill. Before the bank could file the charge they would move so they could not find them. All of this moving makes it impossible for her and her siblings to grow up in a stable home, school and town.

Because of their lack of money, they could not afford to buy food for days. The kids would starve till the day their dad came home after winning money from gambling, then most of the time he would use it on alcohol. Adults that neglect their children usually were not given the attention that they needed as a child so it is the only way they knows how to raise them. Sometimes neglect can be from a step parent. They think that since the child is not theirs then they do not need to give it as much attention as their own children. “I look forward to going to school most days because it gives me time away from all of his criticism” (Dugard 3). In A Stolen Life, Jaycee hates to be home alone with her step dad because all he does is criticize her and tell her what she is doing wrong. Carl has a daughter and he treats her like his little princess. He treats her very differently from the way he treats Jaycee. To Carl Jaycee is just another person that is living in his house and he could not care less if she left.

Parents that do not give their children the right attention make them feel like they are not as important to them. This makes the child feel like they need to try to get the attention of the adult in any way possible. Not getting enough attention is a cause of suicide in younger children and even adults. Children that do not get the right amount of food tend to develop poor nutrition which has a negative impact on the child’s physical and psychological development (Ed. Fu. Wi.) Many parents do not realize they are neglecting their children until there is a break were they can tell or something huge happens.

Neglect occurs mostly with the lack of communication within the family. Communication can consist of saying good or nice things to the child. There should always be a positive attitude in the household. There should also always be a good set of rules and guidelines that are followed by both the child and the adult. Sometimes there is a lack of communication between the parent and the child and they both have a different view on life. When the parent The Glass Castle, Damaged, and A Stolen Life, talk about how the child grows up with a household full of neglect and abuse and how they get through it. Having abuse and neglect in a household can either be mental or physical and even psychological. Children feel the need to hide what is going on with them at home from school.

Children feel like if other kids find out what they are going through and how their parents are different from theirs then they will get made fun of and not fit in. this can also be shown by the lack of communication between the adult and the child. If they do not have a good communication system they will not be able to understand what is wrong and what is right. Children struggle to find a way to get through their situation. They look for the help of others through outsiders and through family. Children also get through their tragedy with the help of mental attitude. As long as you have a positive mental attitude, you can pull yourself through the hurt. Also, with the help of other people’s mental attitude, it helps get children to realize that it is not so bad.

One of the hardest, yet rewarding things is living in an abused or neglected house and being able to get through it. Many people do not realize who hard it is for a child to get through their hard times. Children usually have a positive attitude about life but when this is going on, to them, they feel like they are problem. They feel like they are the problem. When this is how a child feels, they mentally give up and do not feel like they should try any more. A child that wants to give up doesn’t not feel like they are good enough for their parents children need to know that they have a reason for living; they have a purpose to keep going. In my first book, The Glass Castle, Jeannette goes through anything and everything that could tear her down.

As she grows up she realizes that she deserves better and that she should get away she realizes that she I old enough to move out making her want to move to New York like her sister did. “Maybe not right now, not this minute- it was the middle of the school year -but I could wait until I finished eleventh grade “(Walls 236). Jeannette knows that she deserves a better life and will not stop to get it. Her sister helped her get through it and has her realize that if she can move there then Jeannette could in my second book, Damaged, Jodie gets through her problems with the help of her foster mother Cathy. Jodie learns how to control herself a tad better. “Paula and I took her to a steak house (as a change from pizza) and while we waited for ours to arrive Jodie suddenly looked directly at Paula and said “I like your top, it’s very pretty” (Glass 337). Jodie has been becoming less and less able to know what she is doing. Even though she is getting worse, her memory is letting her be able to get over what happened.

Family has also helped Jaycee, in A Stolen Life, get through being kidnapped. After she had her two daughters, she knew she had to stay positive to keep her girls happy. “I have done my best to educate them in the back yard, but I could only go so far.” (Dugard 138). Jaycee tried to give her the best life they could have while living there. These three girls have tried so hard to get through what they were stuck in. They all have a family member that helped them get through it and they lean on them for comfort. Another way people get through their lives is with the help of outsiders. This could be anyone like teachers, friends, neighbors, anyone really. Most of the time people want to help others. Outsiders do not know what could be happening to you when you are at home. But if you tell someone you could save yourself. In the book, The Glass Castle, Jeannette has outsiders that tell her about New York. Once she hears that she can actually get out of Welch, she has no reason to want to stay there anymore. “I’ve got a feeling about you, she said “I think you’ll do all right up there” (Walls 239).

Jeannette’s teacher was there for her and knew how great of a person she is. She supports her in her career on her articles for the newspaper and knows that she will get a job in New York and write for the big time magazines. Outside is also help Jodie, in the book Damaged, with her foster care. Jodie was sent to High Oaks to be taken care of since Cathy cant anymore. “Ron and Betty are like me. They help children who have been hurt, only they do it better than me” (Glass 302). Cathy doesn’t have the ability to teach Jodie and get her to cooperate. Many people also help like police officers in the book, A Stolen Life; Jaycee finally gets found out about and is taken to the police station. “It looks like an evil spell.” (Dugard 209). Jaycee finally gets to use her real name and doesn’t have to hide in a backyard anymore. These three books all have at least one person that tries to help them from that had an idea of what they were going through. Many people do not realize that being able to get through it is mostly about mental attitude. You have to be able to know that you will one day get out of your situation.

You have to have a positive outlook on what it will be like once it’s all over. In A Glass Castle, Jeannette and her family have to move in with her grandparents in Welch. They are looking for a new home there but everything is torn down and old Jeannette tries to make the best of the move by saying “maybe in the summer we can go fishing and swimming” (Walls 133). Jeannette always tries to have a good mental attitude she knows that if she doesn’t try to make things better than they are, then no one will. In my second book, Damaged, Cathy has to have a positive mental attitude to be able to take care of Jodie and her children. “I always felt better after a walk, and for Jodie the energy release was essential, otherwise she’d be hyperactive for the rest of the day” (Glass 65). Cathy is always stressed with dealing with how Jodie acts and all the attention that she needs to give her. She always has a positive attitude through making her capable of getting through every day. In my last book, A Stolen Life, Jaycee has to have a positive mental attitude to keep her children happy.

Even though she has gone through anything and everything to tear her down, she still wakes up every day so her girls do not realize anything is wrong. “We spend many hours on the beach, I love playing in the water with the girls” (Dugard 155). Jaycee loves spending time outside of the backyard, even though it is scary for her to be out. She is happy and full of life to make sure her girls are happy. The two girls do not realize what was happening to them was wrong. That since they were born into it they think it is normal. People do not realize the impact they have on an abused or neglected child. If someone is willing to help you, let them. Any little bit of help works. A stranger’s attitude helps or hurts a child by if the person is high spirited or low spirited. In all three of the books I chose to read, they had an outsider help them get through their problems with a positive mental attitude. In the first book a Glass Castle, Jeannette gets help from her teacher by always having a positive attitude around her.

She always tends to tell her how she is doing and makes her feel good about herself. “Mr. Muckenfuss conferred with Miss Bevins, and she told me as long as I kept clean she’s fight for me” (walls 204), Jeannette likes having someone there for her other than her brother and sister. When Miss Bevins in ta good mood and treats her nicely, she feels good about herself, and important. In Damaged, Jodie has the same thing happen to her. She likes it when she is getting attention from anyone and everyone. Jodie has many people that are nice to her and try to have a positive attitude around her so that she has one too. The people that take her after Cathy cant anymore are always having high spirits and are in a good mood. They know that this helps the children feel safer and are more comfortable. “Jodie grinned, not quite understanding what I’d said, but appreciating that it was special, and that it applied to her “(Glass 307).

Cathy knew that Jodie would like her new family because they knew her needs and how to take care of her. Another way outsiders help children is in my third book, A Stolen Life. This is because, even though her kidnappers treated her poorly in the beginning, they grew like a family. This by no means is ok, but under the circumstanced, it was for Jaycee. The kidnappers end up treating her like their own daughter, except for occasion al times when Phillip used her. Jaycee wasn’t a normal kid, she didn’t grow up in a normal home, and she didn’t get to have the life she was planned to have. Her kidnappers helped her get through it thought because they cared about her and her two daughters out into the car with Nancy and we take off to the nail salon: (Dugard 155). Nancy (Phillip’s wife) takes Jaycee out to the girly things that girls normally do with their real moms. She pretends that she is her real mother because she never had children of her own. Many people are nice and giving to children because they know what it was like to be taken care of as a child and do not want others to be treated badly The Glass Castle, Damaged, and A Stolen Life, all show how a child can get through their tragedy.

With the help of others, you can overcome whatever you would like. You can get help to get through it from family and outsiders. Your mental attitude and other’s mental attitude can help you get through the tragedy by making you have a positive feeling about life and the whole situation. Many people overcome their tragedy with the help of others. Children just need someone to tell, whether it be adults they personally know, school members, teachers or friends. Children tend to gravitate towards someone/thing whether it be friends, family or an idea of some sort. Having someone help them through their hard times gives them a reason to not give up. This is what makes children want to live their life and see what it will be like after their torture is over. When a child or adult is trying to overcome their tragedy, they need someone there to help them.

People need someone there for them an someone to tell their story no matter how horrible it is when someone lets out their story it is a relieving feeling for them and helps them get through it and feel better about themselves. Usually they end up telling an adult searching for help. Thy think that since they know them on a personal level that they will be there for them for the most part this is true, in my first book, the Glass Castle, Jeannette looks to her older sister for advice to see what she did to get through the neglect in the house hold. Lori helped her by having her save up money so she could come live in New York with her. “That fall, Lori helped me find a public school where, instead of going to classes, the students signed up for internships all over the city” (Walls 248). Lori knew that Jeannette was good at writing articles for her school paper when she lived in welch so she told her about this college that she could go to and intern for the priority newspaper. She ended up getting the job and was one of the best writers on the board. Jeannette looks at her sister as an adult figure because she is older and works for what she wants and if motivates Jeannette to leave Welch and change her whole life around.

In my second book, damaged, Jodie looks up to Kathy for help and comfort. She finally feels safe around her and knows that she won’t hurt her. “Did your daddy do those things to you?” (Glass 134). Jodie feels like it is normal to be abused because it is something that she has grown up with. It just comes natural to her. Since she thinks it is normal she thinks that the other children’s parents do that to them. Ever since she started living with Cathy she realizes that what had happened to her was wrong and that Cathy was parenting her the correct way Jodie has had many people in her life that has hurt and abused her and had a hard time trusting Cathy to not. In my third book a stolen life, Jaycee has to trust her kidnapper to not hurt her. Jaycee’s life was in the hands of the man who took her. She has to look up to him and trust that he will be good to her. “I do remember, however, when my sister, Shayna, turned 16. I was 26 by then living in Phillips secret back yard in my own tent!” (Dugard223). Jaycee was glad to finally be given her own room after so many years of living there. She had to look up to Phillip and Nancy kind of as parents because she didn’t know anyone else driving that time. These three books all talk about how the child grows up looking to find someone to trust to tell their story.

Overcoming your tragedy can also involve school members, teachers, and friends. Many people do not realize that all a child needs is a friend, or anyone to talk to. In my first book, The Glass Castle, Jeannette has one friend that helps her get through her rough patch. Her friend Dinitia would allow her to go swimming with her since she couldn’t afford to pay to swim with all of the white kids. “Dinitia Hewitt was there too. That summer morning I’d spent swimming with Dinitia at the public pool was the happiest time I’d had in Welch…”(Walls 199). Dinitia was Jeannette’s only friend and she was the only girl that would spend time with her. Jeannette needed someone to be there for her and to help her get through the drama of the household. In my second book, Damaged, Jodie feels the need to tell her classmates about what had happened to her. She felt safe as school, like no one could get her. This helped her get along with other students and able to have some friends. “Jodie didn’t appear to notice anything amiss at all – in fact, she was full of high spirits and rather triumphant” (Glass 229).

Since Jodie was new to the class, many friendships had already been created making Cathy nervous that Jodie would be left out. The children understood that Jodie had problems wrong with her and did not make fun of her. They were all very nice and appreciative. Like in my third book, A Stolen life, Jaycee has to wait till the end of the book to finally get reconnected with her mother. Phillip seemed like he couldn’t take the stress of hiding her and the girls anymore so he confessed to taking her. After she was released she leaned to her mother for guidance about how to live a real life and how to really take care of her girls. Her mother had to show her how to live on her own and her sister had to teacher how to drive. “Every time thing seemed overwhelming, I would look at my mom and that happy feeling came back and te h warm light inside me grew bigger.” (Dugard 238). Jaycee knew that her mother was there to help her for good now. She didn’t have to be afraid of losing her. Having her family back in her life keeps her moving forward.

After a child has been abused or neglected, they tend to gravitate towards a person or thing. Children like having someone/thing to lean against for help. In my fist book, the glass castle, Jeannette gravitates to New York and the city life. She loves how there are so many people there and how fast pace everything is. “Our apartment was bigger than the entire house on little Hobart Street, and way fancier>”(Walls 247). Jeannette had never lived in an actual running house until now. She was more than ex cited to have an actual bathroom and kitchen. She loved how New York wasn’t like how people explained it and she knew that she would be there for a very long time. In my second book, damaged, Jodie tends to gravitate towards Cathy the most. She trusts Cathy and knows that she won’t hurt her. Jodie connects with Cathy and tries to get better for her.

“Jodie and I had been together almost constantly for a year and I felt that everything we’d been through had bonded us and brought us close.” (Glass 317). Cathy knew that she couldn’t completely fix Jodie. She tried as hard as she could though and was the most normal thing to a real family she could have. Jodie liked living with Cathy and even though Jodie was having her problems Cathy loved Jodie like her own child. In my third book, a stolen life, Jaycee gravitates mostly to her two daughters. She knows that they need to take care of and them to give them the most normal life possible. “it’s hard to stand up for yourself when all the other person does is tell you how wrong you are and give you reasons why he is right.” (Dugard 218). Now that they are free she doesn’t have to listen to anyone else and she can make her own rules. Jaycee is a great mother and now she has the chance to prove to the works that she is. Through all of the abuse and neglect in these three books, they all get through their problems with the help of gravitating towards someone/thing that makes them a stronger and a better person.

When you gravitate towards someone it gives you a reason not to give up. You feel like you have a purpose and feel like you need to keep going. All three of these books relate to this statement by all three having a reason not to give up on others but mostly themselves. In, The Glass Castle, Jeannette does not give up because she knows that here is a better live out there for her and she will not stop till she gets it. Her sister and brother help her realize that they can get out of Welch and start their lives over. “I had no idea what my life would be like then, but as I gathered my school books and walked out the door, I swore to myself that it would never be like mom’s that I would not be crying my eyes out in an unheated shack in some godforsaken holler “(Walls 208). Jeannette does not want to live life like her mom and dad. She feels like if she stays in Welch, she will end up the same.

This is what motivates her to keep going and not to give up hope. In Damaged, Cathy has to try to not give up hope for the fact of making Jodie better. Jodie went through so many foster homes and each and every one of them gave up on her and sent her back to social services. Jodie has many problems and Cathy feels like she is the only one that can help her. “I had given Jodie my promise that nothing of the kind would happen to her again and I was frightened that she would think I’d broken my promise and lose her trust in me.” (Glass 147). Cathy does not want Jodie to feel like she is hurting her, but helping her. After she had the examination she was better though. Cathy took care of Jodie better than anyone else had and Jodie could finally realize that. In A Stolen Life, Jaycee has to keep going for herself, her daughters, and to make sure her kidnapper got caught. Jaycee knew how hard it would be to act like everything was normal for her daughters and she got through it all making them proud of her.

She had to be the best mom she could even thought she was still only a child herself. “I am seventeen years old and I am about to have my second baby” (Dugard 122). Even though Jaycee was a young mother, she taught her girls school material the best she could since she ended school when she was only eleven, that’s all she could teach them. She knew she wouldn’t give up hope that one day she will get out for the sake of her two girls. All three of these books relate in the way that they all have a reason not to give up on their problem. After comparing three different books, it is clear that when a child is going through abuse or neglect, they overcome it with the help of gravitating towards someone/thing. When a child is abused or neglected in a household, they tend to hide it from surrounding people, hoping that one day they will find out and help them. Abuse and neglect can be form lack of communication, or goes back to the parents and how they were raised.

Children that grow up with the lack of parental figure in the lifetime tend to grow up faster and are able to take care of themselves at a young age. A child’s mental attitude can also affect the way they get through the tragedy by if it is positive or not. When a child has another person’s mental attitude helping them, they can get through the situation better. Children search for someone to tell their whole life until they are taken out of the problem. They will look for anyone to tell whether it be adults they know, teachers, class mates, friends, and neighbors. When you are being abused or neglected you feel like you have no reason to be there. Children think that when their parent is mad at them then they are worthless and their parents want nothing to do with them. Children gravitate towards someone or something that helps them feel important and comfortable. When they gravitate towards a figure they feel like they have a reason to live and a reason to not give up. Growing up in an abused or neglected household tends to affect your life on how you look at the world and how you live it. You feel scared that you will not be loved or that you will go back to the tragedy you lived. You find a place to feel safe, to feel needed.

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"Growing up through child abuse and neglect" StudyScroll, 16 March 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). Growing up through child abuse and neglect [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 29 September, 2023]

"Growing up through child abuse and neglect" StudyScroll, Mar 16, 2016. Accessed Sep 29, 2023.

"Growing up through child abuse and neglect" StudyScroll, Mar 16, 2016.

"Growing up through child abuse and neglect" StudyScroll, 16-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 29-Sep-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). Growing up through child abuse and neglect. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 29-Sep-2023]

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