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The Duquesne University Alumni Association presents. Exploring a child's world. The child is father to the man. And as we hope for a world of men of good will we must look to the conditions of the towns where to achieve it. So we search for the laws ways and means the sources of the capable spontaneously whole adult. It is not strange that the world of the disturbed child throws light on childhood in general. Although Father Francis Duffy Professor of Sociology at Duquesne University was not at first
looking for this light when he started working with a disturbed child. He found however that it is not that the disturbed or delinquent child is completely removed from society rather that his position is more extreme and so its obviousness offers us a sharper clearer insight into the world of children to share the fruit of his research. Father Duffy and the Duquesne University Alumni Association present a series of recorded interviews with delinquent children followed by a short discussion with Father Duffy's guest in which the child and his problems are explored for insight. And now here is Father Duffy. Many children are disturbed by immediate situation surrounding them. They worry about thoughts that intrude into their minds. Suspicions often plague them. Many young people cannot even consider possibilities without being involved and disturbed. Just last a master I was illustrating some sociological materials in a course on the family and I used the story of a 6 year old boy whose father and mother were out drinking.
The little fellow was frying fish for his three younger brothers and his paralyzed grandmother. The grease splashed onto the wall and there was a sort of explosive fire. The little boy saved the three children but couldn't get the grandmother out. She died in the fire in the middle of this story a young college sophomore leapt from his seat excused himself and left the classroom after class he returned to tell me that he thought I was talking about his sister and her children. He was loaded with apprehension because of the suspicious similarity of the case disgust with his own sister situation and he had to check with them at home by telephone. In the story that follows we hear of a young girl whose mother does and says some rather peculiar things to her child in anger. It makes the child worried concerned and annoyed. Tense and I pretense of the girl as a result of these experiences has some doubts as to her parentage and consequently she has doubts about her own identity. When the fight is over of course the mother reverses herself
and denies that she meant what she said about the child's real mother and real father. It's annoying to deal with the type of person who insults you. Especially when he tends to dismiss his bad taste later on by saying either he didn't mean it or by somehow rather blaming you for having a poor sense of humor or by saying that he was drinking at the time the accusation. Let's follow Debbie as she tries to share her world with us with all the contents of fear the apprehension and her final running away. What's your name again Debbie. How old are you Debbie. Sixteen. You still go to school and yes you. What grade are you in 11th grade. Is that public school. Yes cretin school. Have you ever been left back in school. Yes I was sick in the third grade. How big is the family. Oh we've got three brothers and sisters. Nancy she's 9. Tony's five imbibers too.
I see there's a pretty big difference between your age and Nancy's. She's 9 and you're 16 how come they're my step sisters and step by there my first father he died in a war my mother got married again. How do you get along with your second father. Pretty well. He's very good to me. I mean he likes you. Yes. Sometimes he treats me better than his real kids. I see you still go to school. No I quit in 11th grade I got a job as a waitress. I knew I never did care much for school you know. How is it that you're not at home now how come you're here. I ran away from home and yet everybody is nice to you their troop just started mixed up. How about trying to unmake some of it. Try working backwards and getting some of this straightened out. I wish I could. I don't know what went wrong. You weren't running away from anything bad especially right. No I had a good home. Except for like arguments like everybody's families got you know my mother and I would
have disagreements and stuff like that. What would they be over mostly. Oh I have these going out with them where I was going neck kind of stuff. Your mother didn't approve of your friends. No not too many of them were these boys or girls that you did. Both She had her ideas of when I should meet friends. She thought I should be introduced and not just meet them like you know on the street or something like that. There is some safety in that isn't there. Yeah but like I mean you can't always be introduced to somebody. You meet your friends other ways. I know a lot of good friends met in other ways. It's just the way she feels. And of course she was wrong. You know she's not always right. She's right now a lot of ways but and when. When you run away. How did you finance that trip. My girlfriend I see her mother keep her out of the house. She's been having some trouble at home so I would say you went away to get it. We were at a party on a Saturday night who brought up the idea of running away you
remember. I don't know I can't remember I think it was her and she was crying and everything because she couldn't go home and you couldn't take her to your house you know because you see her mother calling out my mother when she found out that we were in love in the attic. She told my mother for me to stop going with this girl because she was no good for me. Even her mother said about her daughter. Yeah her mother said. She says even though she's her mother she'll say she's no good to run around with. Why do you believe you know and I still live with his girl and so when she wanted to run away I said sure I go with her and we got an apartment together in the city here. We stayed there 10 days. How did you finance it. We got money from my friends with everybody we got together $10. That's how much the room was for a week. We hardly ate at all. I mean we had coffee nap but that was about all I see. And when you get to the point of actually running. Did anybody else go with you just the two girls home.
Yes this boy away and he was going to California. We found out about it and we asked him if we could go with him. He planned to take his car again you know even going out there I don't know how he was going. I think his mother was going to give him the money or something. He's 25 but he's not married. And I asked him if we could go with him and he said sure but he'd have to find a way for all three of us to go together because bus fare cost a lot of money. So this was Monday morning and the girl and I waited in a drugstore. He left and went someplace we figured he was might be going to get some money. We didn't know what he was going to do you know. We came back and he pulled up out front. He was in a new Dodge station wagon and he beeped the horn right away we got our stuff together and we went out. We found out it was stolen right away he told us he said he took it anyways we got it and we took off with him. We headed west out Route 40. He borrowed some money before I picked up the car and we had some money for gas. I had a class ring. I paid twenty seven dollars for it but I hawked it for $5 in a
pawn shop in Richmond Indiana. The other girl had a class ring and we hawk that in buy gas with it. I said did you get all the way to California with you know we've picked up a Nevada for speeding. Is this the first time you were arrested. Yes I was never in trouble. What did you feel like when the policeman pulled your car over. Oh my. I have just a bundle of nerves. I started crying right away which I should have done because we were only pulled over for speeding. They didn't know the car was stolen yet so they took the boy out of car and asked him for the owner's card and he didn't have it. So they put him in the highway patrol car and he just sat there. Then they phoned and sent for another highway patrol car and he came and got us. They took us and they took the stolen station wagon down to the police station and they called Pittsburgh and found out that it was stolen and we were fingerprinted. Then we had to put on a number and have our picture taken. It was terrible. It was like as if we were well we were criminals but just having them put your name in little letters and giving you a number and taking your picture it was really
something. How long did you stay out there. Carolyn I was moved around four different jails while we were out there. We were out there for two weeks and the boy well they held him you still out there. Then they sent you back with a share. Yes with a marshal. Do they have the handcuffs on you. Yes we were handcuffed all the way back. The marshal had his wife and when we went in to eat and everything we had done it was really terrible. I can't believe it sometimes. When you got back did your mother and father rally around. They have been deceived. Oh yeah but they were ashamed or embarrassed. I guess they're mostly embarrassed they didn't come right out and tell me but I could tell they feel that you're being punished for not listening to their warnings. No not really they're hiding that. But I think as soon as I get home that's probably what they'll say. Really I don't think I'll mind it so much because I really think it'll be good to hear it. I told you so because if I had this wouldn't have happened
in the first place. I think I just got mixed up so that I didn't know which way to turn. Are you mixed up in any other areas. I guess in religion What's the matter there. I've gone to so many different churches. First I was baptized Episcopalian then I went to Catholic Church and I was baptized condition. And when you go to the sacraments to. Yes I was a Catholic for about three years or so then I stopped going to church on together. Oh I don't know that I went to the Lutheran church because it was across the street from where I lived. Quit that. And I stayed was soon girlfriend during the summer. And she was a Methodist so she wanted me to go to church with her. So I did because I had been going when I went away to school and this girl whose father was a preacher used to take me to their house on weekends. So I joined their church. Since I quit school I mean going anywhere. I came here. Then they asked me what I was and I said Catholic because I think that's what I really should be. I see. I've gone to six or seven great schools about five
different high schools. What was the worst thing about the home that made made you finally decide to leave. I guess it's just the fighting you can't stand it gets on your nerves. Yes. What kinds of things they fight over. They fight over you or over each other or money or what. No it's just that my mother fights with me my dad stays out of it altogether. He doesn't talk at all. He does whatever my mother says for him to do. And they're united against you. And my mother says I'm one of them. As far as he's concerned even if he knows I'm right he won't take my part. Sometimes I wish he'd stand up to where. What kind of things does your mother object to. The she approves of your friends. Do you approve of more than the kind of people that you could approve of. They're nice to me. See I get along with everybody. I like to make friends. Do you think that good friends will encourage a little girl like you to run away from home in a stolen car or get involved in a federal offense.
And I guess not. Would you do that to your friends now. Oh I know what is going to happen I'd have hit the head. And I would have let him take the car Ethan. But what I was going to ask is What else could have happened and what other outcome could there be with that this kind of thing. Well we were bound to get picked up I know that. What else do you and your mother fight over. Just little things. Do you feel that she'd be happier if you were out of the home. You know when I was at that boarding school she'd call me up and she'd write me letters and she'd send me money. It seemed like she missed me you know. But soon as right away where we were fighting again it's as if I had two personalities. We just can't get along. We want to we try. There's just something there or something you know in the back of her mind or in the back of my mind it's just keeping us apart. And I don't know what it is. Would it be possibly that you feel she doesn't want you. And that could be it. Has it ever bothered you.
Yes it has. Especially when she gets mad sometimes and she says that she doesn't even know who my dad is. You know and she sometimes says no I'm just by my mother and I say what do you mean by that. And she says when she says your mother was a tramp and I say that you're my mother and she says I'm not your mother and then she'd gone you know. She says she wasn't my mother. Then after she'd stop being mad at me and everything I'd ask her the same questions and she'd say of course I'm the mother. But you see I think that she's planted the seed in your mind already that makes you wonder who you are. Yeah. And then she can't reassure you that she is your mother once and she's told you she isn't. And she did tell you that several times did you this one time I never forget this. It was in the summer. We were fighting and I said something about my dad and she said I don't know who your dad is. She says he could be the garbage man for all I know. That really hurt me you know because I always figured my dad was a good man. He gave His life for his country and everything.
But now you're not sure of that. No I don't know what to believe. Bushy Did you suspect that you may not be legitimate and it bothers you that that you may not have been married at all have fired me quite a bit because I know that during a war while reading stories in there lots of times that happened you know a woman would have a kid and they wouldn't even be married and a man would get her and she'd put the child up for adoption or something. So I really don't know who I belong to and your mother did send you off to a boarding school once and then she does let you stay with different girls during vacation she kind of released you from living with her at home. That was because most of the time I've had my eye on me the way. Maybe that was bad. Maybe I was just spoiled but she didn't have to leave me go. Are you saying then that you would have felt more secure or you'd have felt better if she refused to let you live outside of the home. Now I think I was she says started some things and so lenient in others she's not consistent then I would say to her Well you let me do that why can't I do this.
And she'd have no reason for her refusing. Well what you were doing there was testing limits pushing her to see how far you could go with her and how much you could get away with. Well yeah I know that from a judge and I think that all the girls have done. I've been to several Proms at school and I know that many girls haven't even gone to one. You've done a lot of pretty innocent stuff. Oh yeah. I feel as if my mother would never have to be ashamed of me that. Did I do anything wrong other than what I've done now. I think Natalie's Maybe your mother spoiled you either because you didn't have a regular father or because your real father was actually killed in the war. Maybe she tried to make this all up to you what would your grandparents say do they ever talk about your real dad. Yeah my grandmother tries to help me a lot. She's real good to me. Does she ever say anything about your dad. Yeah she says that she feels that maybe my mother before he went overseas was that it had been an incident. Fighting words or something. And now he's dead she's taking it out on me.
Your mother feels guilty and she feels that you're part of your father so she takes it out on you. She feels guilty. My grandmother remembers a number of incidents of fights between my mother and dad she said and I have rights. Don't you think that that should take care of your fear that you're not legitimate you see your grandparents knew this man and they would know if your mother was married to him or not. Yeah and then there's a way of saying things it puts a doubt in your mind. She says and however I think in times of anger if she says I'm at a time when she wants to hurt you or punish you or make you mad or sorry this is what they call psychological torture. Yeah. To many parents I think I wouldn't ever think of striking their child but they will scare or worry the child. Sometimes it's worse in your case it's worse. My mother never beat me or anything but her words hurt worse than her hand way. I think I'd rather be stepped across the face the listener some of the things she said to me and she called me names over and over again and a mother who loved her daughter would've called her she had no reason for calling me those names because I've never done anything to deserve the pretty hard to love her she doesn't
love you. Maybe that's why I ran away. Maybe I was trying to run away from her and not the home. Sometimes children run away to make their parents run after them. Yeah you know I just want some time. I just wanted my mother to come over to me and put her arms around me and just say I love you and everything she missed the signal she'd never do that. Did anybody know. Well my grandmother but I was never I don't know I just grew up to fast I was allowed to do too many things when I was too young. I see. Well it seems to me just from talking to you that you're beginning to get some pretty good insight into yourself. I have learned a lot since I came in. And I see some kids that I really wonder sometimes here because they really are bad and some of those here because their parents don't care about them. And I really want to go home I want to try to start all over again.
How old would your mother be would she be 30 or 40 or 40 to 50. 40 to 50 but she's closer to 40. How do you go about changing a woman who is over 40 years of age. I don't know how I'd change her. Maybe I'd have to change myself. That's a good start. Talk some more about that. I guess I will have to change myself. Change your attitudes my attitudes my ways. The mother is the one who had me and I guess I should fit into her plans as much as possible I think. On the other hand you see that she has sort of let you down too as you said a child needs affection. She has to feel she belongs that she's wanted and welcomed and she's loved and possibly forgiven if she needs it allows it have to be made for a child's mistakes. Even when you run away with this man and girl you're mother should have tried to understand. I don't know whether she will or not but you have to try to understand you before she always whenever I get anything wrong it was never as big before. But whenever I did anything wrong she
always treat me the same afterwards. But if we ever had an argument afterward she'd always bring it up. Would she say give you one last chance to be good. Is she constantly reminding you of your past mistakes and your failings faults. And you hope that she had forgotten about these things. I like that thing that says forgive and forget. You know she can forgive but she can't forget. And that makes you doubt as to whether or not she forgives too much. Yeah well I'm afraid that's about all we have time for right. OK. And now joining father Duffy to discuss the features of this child's world is his guest Paul Sullivan Duquesne alumnus who is now athletic commissioner of the state of Pennsylvania and in private law practice. Here are Father Duffy And Mr. Sullivan today's case I thought revolved around a broken home that was repaired and not to satisfactorily. And it involved a broken chair a child who was partly repaired.
I was going to ask you what you thought of this idea of a child having degrees of intelligence and insight and one thing is for example a smart child I guess knows something because he learns it. I child who isn't so smart but still is smart learns from the mistakes of other people. I think we begin to get the kind of stupid area when when a person insists on making his own mistakes but he learns by them. And then the dumbest of all is the one who doesn't even learn by his own mistakes but insists on making them over and over again doesn't learn a thing. I get the feeling that this girl will learn by this mistake it's the only time she's ever been in trouble and she seemed to be pretty thoroughly impressed with the treatment. Don't you think. I think she was very much impressed at this point. And certainly there's no reason to say that she will make another mistake she hasn't made it yet. She got into her problem through a fairly natural sequence of events and a pattern of home life. I don't think that
she's been following any career evil. No I don't think so. I thought it was interesting that the mother and child seem to get along fine when they're not together. It's peculiar Well it's the easiest way to get along. We're not together. There are children who are seen to touch off a spark of antagonism in their own parents. And I imagine it personality clashes and sometimes it's a matter of the personality of the child. In this case it could very well be the personality of the mother's much as a child. Yes it would be pretty difficult listening to a child the early part of it to understand why such a child a nice child would run away. But then I think to her this represented a type of high adventure and that is understandable with a child but on the other hand when the child talked more you found out that here was
a real psychological mother problem. A woman who tortures the child who reverses herself and is inconsistent. And while which I was handled pretty roughly by the authorities particularly that western state it seemed to me the treatment seemed to do the trick. But now I think you'll agree that the child is now thrown back into her hole confusions her old problems or old tensions and her old worries with a new one added. Yes. She has been a victim of. Some pretty uncertain handling at home on the other hand a child with stability will resist that much better than this girl has done and she'll adjust to her mother's attitudes and she will not prolong these arguments over a period of months and years. She you know what I'm actually the come up sometimes but to make a kind of a career figuring is not just indicative of a very intelligent
approach to the problem. You know and I think that the mother has badly mismanaged this child from the very beginning particularly in the area of the psychological torture of persuading the child that she was like her mother and that she didn't know who her father was. I think that's pretty difficult for a child to do. I wouldn't myself throw that up as a serious fall of the mother I think the mother may have been goaded pretty badly in some of these cases. Yes and she probably retaliated. Rather insanely and she apparently from that the little girl says regrets this and tries to straighten it out. Now whether she's guilty of psychological variant of what we call very toss and she tells the truth in anger rather than in wine. We wouldn't know I mean I would have no means of guessing. No you're probably right too it doesn't help very often to establish who was guilty. I think in terms of being in the Arctic region and window breaking it doesn't help
very much against the call to find out who broke it. The important thing I guess is do let's get going on the fixing of it well and the fixing of this child I would say that what she needs particularly is a recognition of her own problem. She's going to have a better chance of mending her on deficiencies and she is of mending her mother's deficiencies and it's very difficult to form A and I think your evaluation of the parent from that's possibly mis oriented analysis of the child. Well you have to work with what you get. In other words we get one third the problem I'm sure that another third is the mother another third is the father. But the only one we can contact is the child and it's not so important I don't think what the child either says or really what the child has done is not too important but the it's the attitude behind it and these are the things we try to pull out from these children to see what their attitude how they react to these things. Oh I would think there are. Straight as a lawyer allowed I would try to get her to do most of the straightening herself rather than expect the mother to
change I think it's her problem the little girl's problem is to learn to live with the attitudes of the mother and try to change her own reactions rather to a philosophy of passive reaction. She doesn't attempt to continue these quarrels that could be brought out to the child and she can live and harmony that she herself helps to make that isn't so important at all whether the mother is erratic and difficult. What is important is that the child not compound the problem by reacting to it in such a way as to make it worse. One fire catches fire into the other. There's interest emulation in all of these domestic quality problems. I think that the great domestic problems is to have one party keep his or her mouth shut when the other person has his or her hers or his open and to keep feed out of both and keep feeding out of it. This little girl I think doesn't really need much help in the area of intellectual
insight she's got those I think which she needs help and support in is to see that the only one she can really do anything about is herself. I think that's the crux of the whole business and particularly in her case and she there's no pattern of criminality here there's no pattern of delinquency here this judge has made a bad mistake. But I think she was carried along by as you mentioned the idea of adventure and the fact that the door to it was not only held up and she was pushed through it to a certain extent as best as other little girl was literally pushed around so that the two of them went off. And if and Ray comes in the picture is a sort of an unhappy coincidence that led to the real didn't it. Yes. And he didn't help the problem either he just further complicated it. So today then we discussed the case of Betty a 16 year old white girl of mixed religious convictions who has gotten into serious trouble and we are hoping that her one experience with with high adventure it will be like the
one working on the high wires in a circus it's full of excitement. But we just hope that there is no electric current going through it. You have been listening to exploring the child's world. The program in which the child speaks. Father Francis Duff a professor of sociology of Duquesne University has conducted the interview with the child and to find the outlines of this world in the discussion with his guest Mr. Paul Sullivan. This has been a presentation of the radio service of Duquesne University in cooperation with the Kings alumni association. Technical director Fred McWilliams program director and announcer Harold or may listen again next week or another in the series exploring the child's world. The interview heard on this program was a recreation exploring the child's world
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Exploring the child's world II
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Duquesne University
WDUQ (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the reasons a specific child winds up in the juvenile delinquent system.
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Interviews with delinquent and disturbed young people who are encouraged to discuss their experiences and express feelings. To protect individuals, each program is a re-creation of an actual interview using different names and places.
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Interviewee: Sullivan, Paul
Producing Organization: Duquesne University
Producing Organization: WDUQ (Radio station : Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Speaker: Duffy, Francis
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 63-26-12 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:43
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Chicago: “Exploring the child's world II; 12,” 1963-08-27, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 21, 2024,
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APA: Exploring the child's world II; 12. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from