I bought a puppy at Avito and threw it off the balcony: where children abuse animals and what to do about it

Recently, in one of the residential complexes in Chelyabinsk, surveillance cameras recorded how a girl entered the entrance with a puppy and immediately afterwards flew from the 12th floor and injured herself to death. Animal rights activists suggest that this is not the first time the child has done this to animals, and the girl specifically bought this dog in Avito. Where does such cruelty come from? And is it worth worrying about if the butterfly wings are torn by a three-year-old? Explains the practicing clinical psychologist, Gestalt certified therapist, candidate of psychological sciences Marina Durneva.

“Hard” child brain

It is difficult to say after what age child cruelty becomes something inadequate and abnormal. The frontal lobes, which are responsible for the critical evaluation of their actions, are actively maturing from the age of seven – with their help, the human consciousness forms an arbitrary control, self-regulation. Therefore, for many children, negligence, which can be read as cruelty, is characteristic due to age.

In addition, the brain structures that are responsible for fine motor skills – fine motor skills and coordination – are also gradually formed, up to at least 7 years. It is normal for a preschooler to grab or caress an animal clumsily, he can not figure out for himself whether it hurts or not. He does not yet have much control over his body.

Another issue is the social intelligence that parents develop. In preschool, when the child is mainly playing activities, an adult can influence the appearance of unwanted negligence in relation to animals. The period up to 7 years is exactly the period when children are actively exploring the environment, including force control.

Such tests start long before pets: the baby bites the mother’s breast because there is no milk. Mom shows and explains that it hurts – the child learns and understands. Relationships with animals are built with the same logic. If the parent sees that the child is hurting the dog and the dog does not react very clearly to this pain – for example, it only shrinks – the parent can explain to the child that the animal is probably in pain.

Such behavior on the part of a young child will not yet be considered cruelty: this is really a way to get to know the world, which a person learns not only with joy and kindness. Children bite, push, push each other. And they try to do the same with animals.

Explain the pain

The role of a parent is to show and say that we react to pain in completely different ways. The child may cry from the pain, the dog may brush his teeth or run away – also from the pain. It is important to explain that pain is a signal from the body that something is wrong with it. It is also necessary to convey that it is not necessary to hurt other beings (both humans and animals).

Some parents try to show it physically, as if they are responding. For example, if a child bites his father painfully, he turns and bites him too. This returns to the child a sense of pain, an understanding that certain actions are unpleasant for other people, as well as for himself.

Since this action takes the form of play, there is nothing to worry about: the parent gives harmless feedback that forms to the child the understanding that the pain is unpleasant and that the other body can react to it. It is important to explain that a dog, for example, does not always count on strength – it can bark and gnash its teeth, growl and bite.

Causes of hardness

If a child, even after explanations, repeats actions that bring pain to animals, one can distinguish the criterion of non-learning, of systematicity. This is an opportunity to understand what is happening. Violent behavior may be a warning sign.

First, cruelty to animals or toys often results in the inability to express aggression towards the immediate object of aggression. He may be a parent who punishes the child or keeps him scared, but he can not object and launch aggression in a form that seems playful.

Second, the child can see an example of a cruel attitude towards himself and copy this pattern of behavior. There is a meme where a child yells at a cat. This is a depiction of the onslaught of aggression on a conditionally safer object. What does it mean? About the need to understand the family system and to understand if the child is afraid of his parents, if he knows how to express anger, if he is allowed to do that, if he is taught that. In this case, the family can turn to a child psychotherapist who will work with the family system.

Photo: painting by Richard Sargent “Transmission of anger”

Cruelty to animals is also linked to the use of force. But this is normal: we are all living beings, whose main task has always been and remains survival. You can survive in this world if you have the power in your hands, get it. If I, the subject of power, do not oppress the other, we are talking about healthy competition.

For example, two children are running in the crib, one of which is just faster and takes advantage of this. But if he sways for a long time, sees the second one, crying sadly, but denies him the opportunity to ride, then there is a prejudice for abuse of power. In such situations, the parent acts as a lydia stone: in the eyes of the child, it regulates what can be called normative.

Normal reaction limit

There is a separate category of causes of hardness associated with psychopathological changes. And if we are talking about autism spectrum disorders, for example, then we must keep in mind that they are often associated with increased hardness – it can take an unstable, non-systemic form, but it can also be extremely powerful. The child simply can not regulate his behavior, but this does not mean that in such a situation there is no possibility of learning, of restructuring the psyche.

If a child does not learn, does not learn again, this is a reason to show it to a child psychologist or psychiatrist

In my practice, there was such a case: a family with a normal lifestyle, the parents do everything for the development of the child. And he tortures a parrot. As a result, he turned out to have a schizophrenic spectrum disorder, one of the signs of which is increased hostility, cruelty to living beings. But such cases are extremely rare.

Cruelty to animals can indeed be an indication that the child has some mental characteristics and should be shown to a specialist. On the other hand, the child does not have to cry if Kashtanka dies – this is normal.

First, he may not have a well-developed level of self-awareness. Secondly, we are all different in empathy and, in addition, even sensitive people may not cry for Bambi. For me, for example, a hypersensitive person, this cartoon did not cause tears. Indifference as a response to cruelty can be a regulatory response.

But if the parents notice not just a lack of reaction, but some kind of distorted reaction – the child laughs, watching the animal suffer, tries to repeat harsh actions in a playful way – then it is worth watching him and, possibly, go to a child psychologist together.

At the same time, even an abnormal reaction to the cruelty of animals or similar systematic behavior does not indicate that the child will certainly grow up to be a maniac or a murderer. It is important to make this correlation and understand what is going on within the family.

Finally, cruelty to animals does not mean that a child will be cruel everywhere. Instead, he may behave completely differently at school, at home and on the road.

The reaction of foreign adults

Usually, the people around do not go through bullying – they make comments, they draw the child’s attention to his behavior. This is not a bad thing: the child receives feedback not only from important adults, but also from other people. For example, a child met a woman with a dog on the street, allowed her to pet the pet. But if the child caresses very loudly, the woman will surely tell the child: “Look how her head is bowed, it seems to be unpleasant for her.”

These are the fundamental moments of shaping social intelligence. However, an adult should remember that this is someone else’s child and here it is important to respect the boundaries, be as polite as possible or seek out the child’s parents immediately, with whom you can communicate more directly. In this case, the feedback will not be harmful.

If an outside adult reacts strongly, aggressively, then his actions can scare the child.

The parent will need to be helped to process this feedback, which the child may not be able to cope with due to physiological and social characteristics.

You certainly can not ignore it: it is an important indicator that allows you to survive in the world, among other things. Otherwise, the child will grow up, stop relying on feedback and become really hard. I will not cite well-known examples of teenage fliers – their cases had their own peculiarities, which, however, included this aspect as well.

Of course, a sensible adult can also have a sharp and aggressive reaction. We, as living beings, are very much afraid of anything that goes beyond the generally accepted rules and regulations. After all, as sensible people, we agreed not to hurt each other, not to do bad things. Therefore, the first reaction of an adult who observes cruelty is terror, which is often followed by aggression.

If we see a girl throwing a puppy from the roof, it affects the intensity of perception and the strength of the reaction, increasing them. It seems that if a man shows cruelty, he will be perceived more calmly. Therefore, I think that behind the aggression against the fighters lies our own horror of realizing the cruelty of the world.

Cover image: Helen Sushitskaya / shutterstock / fotodom

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