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Maltreatment in the Book “A Child Called “It”” by D.J. Pelzer

Maltreatment is one of the series of offenses today. Maltreatment involves different forms of abuse and neglect, harassment and oppression. An autobiographical work “A Child Called “It” by Pelzer appeared in 1995. This life story is devoted to child abuse faced by the author during his childhood. Pelzer vividly depicts hardship and emotional burden experienced by the child. This story is very impressive because it reflects the personal past of the author, physiological stress and cruelty of his alcoholic mother and negligent father. Different parents have different ideas as to the proper way to bring up children, or as to what counts as adequate care for them, but this story unveils hash realities of childhood and family violence faced by some children. The story concentrates on the physical abuse of children and psychological maltreatment.

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In this story, Pelzer describes the experience of a child faced with emotional and physical abuse. His mother, Catherine Roerva, was a cruel and emotionally disturbed woman who suffered from alcoholism. This resulted in distraction and harassment of her children, primarily Dave. The most impressive is the fact that the mother singled out her child from among her other children seeing him as the object of abuse. The father Pelzer was a fireman often away from the family. Physical abuse of the child was closely connected with emotional abuse and involved physical punishment and family violence. It would seem to be uncontroversial that serious harm to the child’s physical well-being was abusive, and abuse so defined was surely grave enough to justify statutory intervention to protect the abused child. Pelzer describes that his mother often found any excuse to punish him while favoring the other children. “SMACK!. Mother bits me in the face and I topped to the floor. I know better than to stand there and take the bit, I learned the bard way that she takes as an act of defiance, which means more bits, or worst of all, no food ” (Pelzer, 1995, p. 3).

Pelzer vividly portrays that alcoholism ruins family happiness and warm relations. Alcoholism is closely connected with physical effects such as intoxication, chronicle use and dependence, and physiological problems. Pelzer describes his mother “She still has a hangover from last night’s stupor. Her once beautiful, shiny hair is now frazzled clumps. … In all, this has become Mother’s typical look” (Pelzer, 1995, p. 3). Pelzer depicts that physical abuse was connected with parental physical punishment. He underlines that it is a mistake to think that ‘physical harm’ is uncontroversial in a way that ’emotional harm’ is not. Pelzer does not tell that his father bits him. On the other hand, parental neglect is also a serious offense. His father did nothing to protect Dave from psychical and emotional abuse. The author underlines that as a child he was harmed not simply when he was positively injured, nor even when, in addition, he was neglected. In the book, Pelzer describes terrible scenes of abuse when he was injured. His mother threatened Dave “If you don’t finish on time, I’m going to kill you” (Pelzer, 1995, p. 22). One day his mother staggering drunk stabbed Dave in the chest. After this accident, she did not even take pain to care of her son. Dave describes: “The pain from the pinching was more than I could stand. With my teeth clamped tightly on the rag, my screaming was muffled. I felt as though I was hanging from a cliff” (Pelzer, 1995, p. 23). Pelzer portrays that he had no voice and even a chance to protect himself.

In sum, when a parent exceeds a certain point in their ill-treatment of their child the State may step over the family’s threshold and protect the child. This can be helpful and interesting to people studying psychology and sociology, family relations and social works programs. This story is a vivid example of family violence and pressure caused by alcoholism. Very often, children are the unwilling victims of psychical and emotional abuse even when they know what is happening to them.


Pelzer, D.J. (1995), A Child CalledIt’. HCI; Reissue edition.

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"Maltreatment in the Book “A Child Called “It”” by D.J. Pelzer." StudyCorgi, 24 Nov. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Maltreatment in the Book “A Child Called “It”” by D.J. Pelzer." November 24, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Maltreatment in the Book “A Child Called “It”” by D.J. Pelzer." November 24, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Maltreatment in the Book “A Child Called “It”” by D.J. Pelzer." November 24, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Maltreatment in the Book “A Child Called “It”” by D.J. Pelzer'. 24 November.

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