We all go through difficult and stressful times in our lives. We get burdened with work, money gets tight and our children can sometimes add even more stress to our already overwhelming schedule. Because of all of this stress, it can sometimes be easy to take out our frustrations on the ones we love the most, and for some of us this is our children. Having a child to care for isn’t easy, but it is important to remember that your kids are innocent and only want to be loved. If a child is not shown affection by their parents, and instead are neglected or abused, this mistreatment will leave lasting scars.
Some of these scars might be physical. Some scars will heal eventually but others could end in a child’s death. But the emotional scars from abuse have long lasting effects throughout life; damaging a child’s self confidence, ability to have healthy relationships, and the ability to function at home, at school and at work. Children who have been abused can display:
- A poor self image
- Inability to trust and love others
- Sexual acting out
- Anger and rage
- Anxiety or fears
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Self destructive or self abusive
- behavior including suicidal thoughts
Often the emotional damage to abused children does not surface until adolescence or even later, when many abused children become abusive parents. An adult who was abused as a child could have many problems in their lives, including trouble with physical closeness and touching, intimacy, and trust.
There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, and child sexual abuse.
Failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or caregiver failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter; protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; or ensure access to medical care or treatment. It may also include unresponsiveness to a child’s emotional needs.
An act of another party involving contact intended to cause feelings of physical pain, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm.
A form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities, displaying pornography to a child, and actual sexual contact with a child.
This form of abuse is the hardest to recognize and define. It could include name-calling, ridicule, and excessive criticism and humiliation.
It is very important to understand the consequences of these forms of abuse.
If you have a problem with abuse, or know someone who does, please visit this website for more information: www.childabusepreventioncenter.org/.