A Child Called "It" book cover

A Child Called "It"

by Dave Pelzer
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Why is Dave's father not trying to help him but ignoring him instead in A Child Called "It"

In A Child Called "It" Dave's father Stephen ignores him instead of trying to help him because he's a weak, selfish man who cares only about his own happiness. So he turns a blind eye to his wife's abuse of Dave and refuses to stand up to her. Even when he walks out on his family, it's for purely selfish reasons.

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Despite everything, Dave still clings tenaciously to the idea of his father as protector. It gives him a sense of hope, something to cling onto in a life marred by systematic parental abuse. Yet each day that provides more and more evidence that Stephen is anything but a protector of...

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Despite everything, Dave still clings tenaciously to the idea of his father as protector. It gives him a sense of hope, something to cling onto in a life marred by systematic parental abuse. Yet each day that provides more and more evidence that Stephen is anything but a protector of his son. Whenever Dave's mom abuses him Stephen doesn't so much raise a word of protest. Truth be told, he's scared of his wife. He'd much prefer to turn a blind eye to what's going on under his own roof and comfort himself with alcohol.

Stephen clearly has his own issues. But that doesn't in any way absolve him of responsibility for neglecting his parental duties. To some extent, he's as guilty of abusing Dave as his wife. Though ignoring Dave's suffering may not be on the same moral level as Catherine's physical and verbal abuse, the end result is much the same in that it leaves Dave feeling alone and unprotected.

Fundamentally, Stephen is a selfish man and is not the kind of person cut out to be a father. It's notable, for instance, that Stephen packs his bags and leaves because he can't handle Catherine's anger, not because that anger is directed against Dave in the form of abuse. It never seems to occur to this self-centered man to take his son with him, to get Dave out of harm's way.

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