The downfall of society begins with the mistreatment of children. There are a multitude of ways to mistreat children, and it does not involve just abuse. One way to mistreat a child is being a bad influence upon the child. Society functions by having individuals that follow the rule and contribute to society.
The child is the product of the parent in terms of future behavior, as a general rule with exceptions. This is because children go through what is called imprinting. They learn different patterns of behavior from other humans. When the humans they are around are a bad influence, the chance of the child obtaining bad behavior is increased. Thus begins a vicious cycle.