Emotionally abusive parents effects
Parental Psychological Abuse toward children and Mental Health Problems in adolescence
Pak J Med Sci. 2014 Mar-Apr; 30(2): 256–260.
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Objective: Present study was conducted to explore the relationship between parental psychological abuse toward their children and mental health problems in adolescence.
Method: Three hundred participants age range 13-17 years, (57% boys and 43% girls) participated in the study from both public and private high schools of Lahore. Psychological maltreatment experience scale (PMES) and Youth Self-Report(YSR) were used for assessment and diagnosis.
Results: Findings revealed that psychological abuse by parents significantly related with mental health problems in adolescents, for mother abuse (r= .24 to.67, p< .05) and father abuse (r= . 20 to.70, p< .05). Adolescents who perceived their parents as more abusive exhibited greater problems. Regression analysis indicated that hypothesized factors of parental psychological abuse predicted the mental health problems in adolescents (contributed from 10% to 49% of variance).
Conclusion: Psychological abuse by parents is related with mental health problems in adolescents. These findings will contribute to a better understanding of non-injurious psychological abuse and its impact on adolescents. Findings of the study can be used to bring the attention of parents, public and professionals’ towards damaging effects of psychological abuse on adolescents
Key Words: Adolescents, Mental health problems, Psychological abuse
Psychological abuse (PA) is under recognized and under reported phenomena especially in the adolescents by their own parents. It has been described as the most challenging as well as the most prevalent form of child abuse. 1 PA is rather difficult to define and assess as compare to physical abuse2 and may be described as, verbal abuse, harsh nonphysical punishments, or threats of abuse.3 It describes a repeated pattern of adult-to-child behavior (usually a parent) that makes the child feel worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value in meeting another’s needs.4
In many cases PA is considered to be the most developmentally damaging dimension5 and has been linked with negative outcomes such as impaired emotional, social, and cognitive development, including helplessness, aggression, emotional unresponsiveness and neuroticism.6 Research consistently suggests that PA and neglect in childhood have negative effects on normal development.7 The experiences of abuse and neglect not only put adolescents at risk for immediate adverse consequences such as poor school performance and increased psychological distress8 but may also have long-term serious health outcomes such as delinquency, aggression, low self-esteem, anxiety, substance abuse, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. 9 PA is also explained in terms of abuse of adolescents’ mental and emotional process which has been linked with psychiatric disorders in childhood such as major depression and dysthymia.10Of the few studies documenting its long-term effects, Mullen and colleagues11 report that childhood PA relates to eating disorders, depressive illness, and suicidal behaviors in adulthood.
Recent researches has also shown that children who have experienced PA exhibit common mental health problem including depression, anxiety, low-self-esteem, and eating disorders.4 In turn, these problems are associated with physical health problems, including overall poor physical health, increased risk of heart disease, self-injurious behaviors.3 This type of abuse can be extremely destructive and has been associated with a range of adverse child outcomes including emotional maladjustment, depression, poor self-esteem, conduct problems, aggression, inability to trust, and underachievement. 12
In Pakistani context child abuse still remains a taboo subject and most of the cases at home go unreported therefore, help from a mental health expert neither recognized nor accepted rather still is considered to be a social stigma.13 In last few years, some attempts have been made to study different dimensions of mental health problems among school children in Pakistan.14 Hussein15 indicated that 42.30% were rated having conduct problems based on parental report. In another study parents reported 34.40% on prevalence of emotional and behavioral problems of children, whereas teacher reported 35.80% on “Abnormal category”.16 keeping in view the fact that there are life-long consequences of child abuse, the present investigation aimed to identify mental health problems of abused adolescents.
Significance of the study: Child’s protection rights include protection from psychological abuse because PA is considered less serious and significant as compared to physical and sexual abuse. 17 With observations that its prevalence is increasing, and a growing understanding of its profound serious effects on healthy development, PA has become an issue of concern globally.1 The results of the present research will address the existing unknown, and suspected cases of psychological abuse by parents and behavioral problems.
1. There will be significant positive relationship between perceived psychological abuse by parents (mother & father) and mental health problems in adolescents.
2. Factors of Psychological abuse are likely to be predictors of mental health problems.
Research Design and Participants: Co relational research design (within subject research design) was used to find the relationship between perception of parental psychological abuse and mental health problems in adolescents. Participants (N=300) were selected from both private and public schools (secondary) of three towns of Lahore through stratified random sampling. Secondary schools were further divided into three categories, only boy’s schools, only girl’s schools, and co-educational schools. Further classification was based on age range (13-17years) and class (7th -10th). Participants were chosen through purposive sampling. Teachers were requested to select those students who exhibited some problem behavior as well as appeared neglected from parents.
Demographic Information Form: Students completed a questionnaire inquiring about gender, age, parental education, school system etc.
Psychological maltreatment experience scale 18 (PMES), consisted on 53 items (α .97) was translated into Urdu, Mother Form (α= .96) and Father Form(α= .95), asks respondents to rate the frequency with which they were subjected to five types of psychological abuse (i.e., verbal abuse/attacks on self-worth; neglectful/rejecting behaviors; withholding supportive behaviors; minimizing, isolating, and terrorizing; and, exploitative parental behaviors) byparents. Each item was rated on four point Likert scale (never=1, occasionally=2, fairly often=3, or very often=4).
Youth Self-Report (YS 19): Urdu translation of YSR, consisted on 112 items is a 3-point scale (0=not true, 1=somewhat true, 2= very true or often true), was used to identify mental health problems. It measures six mental health /DSM oriented problems (Diagnostic and Statistics Manual for Mental Disorders; DSM-IV20),consisted of affective problems, anxiety problems, somatic problems, attention deficit hyperactivity problems, oppositional defiant problems, and conduct problems.
Procedure: Due Permission was taken from authors of questionnaires to translate into Urdu and to use. Permission was also taken the from Education Department and schools authorities to collect the data from schools. Class teachers of required age group (adolescents) were approached and briefed about study purpose and with the help of teachers adolescents in the required age group were selected. Informed consent was taken from those adolescents whose parents allow them to participate in the study. After detailed verbal instruction participants were given the questionnaires. Researcher was available to clarify and to answer the questions that students might have about the study and the questionnaire. The questionnaires were self-administered and took about 20 minurtes to complete.
In order to test the hypotheses, data were screened for basic assumptions (e.g. adequate sample size, Singularity, normality, linearity & homoscedasticity) of correlation and regression prior to analysis. Pearson correlation was carried out on the major variables, where relationship was predicted. To identify the significant predictors of outcome variables (mental health problems) regression analyses were carried out.
Demographic characteristics of sample () shows that only school going adolescent girls (43%) and boys (57%) were selected from intact families, who were never reported for abuse as well as for problem behaviors. Findings of the study indicated that perceptions of PA by mother and father and its all factors (verbal abuse, neglectful/rejecting behavior, withholding support, terrorizing and exploitative behavior) have significant positive relationship with mental health problems (affective problems, anxiety problems, attention deficit/hyperactivity problems, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct problem, obsessive compulsive problem, and post-traumatic stress problem). Adolescents perceived their parents more abusive significantly exhibit greater mental health problems as categorized through DSM IV. Correlation range from r= .24 (exploitative mother with obsessive compulsive problem) to .67 (total psychological abuse with affective problem, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct problem), (p< .05) for mother abuse and r= .20 (exploitative father with obsessive compulsive problem) to.70,(total psychological abuse with conduct problem), (p< .05) for father abuse ( & ). Findings of regression analysis indicated that different factors of psychological abuse of mother and father predict different emotional and behavioral problems. Most of the factors of parental PA appeared as significant predictors of mental health problems but mother’s verbal abuse and father’s terrorizing behavior were most common predictors for many problems. Prediction value (R2=.10 to .49) for different problems indicated that factors of parental PA is contributing from 10% to 49% in the different mental health problems (). All the models were significant (p< .001). Findings of correlation and regression analysis are reported in the following tables.
Demographic characteristics of sample
|Age in years||13-17 M= 14. 8||300||Father education||Less than or high school||148||49|
Masters or above
|Gender||Boys||170||57||Less than or High School||178||59|
|School system||Private||186||62||Mother education||College/Graduation||100||33|
|Public/Government||114||38||Masters or above||22||8|
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Note: F= frequency, %= percentage
Correlation between Perception of Perceived Psychological Abuse by Mother and Mental Health Problems among Adolescents (N=300).
|Anxiety problem||. 54**||.56**||.28**||.53**||.49**||.56**|
|Attention deficit hyperactivity problem||.58**||.56**||.28**||.56**||.50**||.58**|
|Oppositional defiant disorder||.66**||. 64**||.37**||.63**||.57**||.67**|
|Obsessive compulsive problem||.31**||.25**||. 26**||.28**||.24**||.30**|
|Post traumatic stress problem||.63**||.62**||.36**||.61**||.54**||.64**|
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MVA= Mother Verbal Abuse, NRM= Neglectful/Rejecting Mother, WSM, Withholding Support Mother, TM= Terrorizing Mother, EM= Exploitative Mother, TPA= Total Psychological Abuse
Correlation between Perception of Perceived Psychological Abuse by Father andMental Health Problems among Adolescents (N=300).
|Anxiety problem||. 53**||.54**||.27**||.27**||.50**||.56**|
|Attention deficit hyperactivity problem||.58**||.57**||.32**||.32**||.57**||.61**|
|Oppositional defiant disorder||.67**||. 64**||.32**||.32**||.65**||.69**|
|Obsessive compulsive problem||.26**||.23**||. 24**||.24**||.20**||.28**|
|Post-traumatic stress problem||.62**||.59**||.34**||.60**||.51**||.64**|
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FVA= Father Verbal Abuse, N/RF= Neglectful/Rejecting Father, WSF, Withholding Support Father, TF= Terrorizing Father, EF= Exploitative Father, TPA= Total psychological abuse
Regression analysis predicting DSM oriented Mental Health problems in adolescents from psychological abuse by both mother and father (verbal abuse, neglectful/rejecting, withholding support, terrorizing, exploitative).
|Significant Factors||Beta||R (R 2)||F|
|Affective problems||Mother verbal abuse|
|Anxiety problems||Neglectful/rejecting mother|
|Attention deficit hyperactivity problems||Father verbal abuse |
|Oppositional defiant problems||Father verbal abuse|
Mother verbal abuse
|Conduct problems||Neglectful/rejecting father|
Mother verbal abuse
|Obsessive compulsive problems||Mother verbal abuse|
Withholding support father
|Post-traumatic stress problems||Mother verbal abuse|
Withholding support father
Open in a separate window
B= Unstandardized Coefficient, SE= Std Error, β= Standardized regression Coefficients. R²= adjusted R2
This study is an effort to identify the damaging effects of psychological abuse by parents on adolescents of Pakistan. This issue becomes even more important in developing countries like Pakistan where there is already lack of mental health services as well as recognition of damaging psychological abuse by parents.
Findings of this are consistent with earlier researches which linked the PA to a variety of problems such as posttraumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, personality disorders, and low self-esteem,21 aggression, emotional unresponsiveness and neuroticism,6and anxiety, substance abuse, PTSD, and depression. 9 In a retrospective study using a college sample Allen22 explored in regression analysis that terrorizing behaviors of parents, predicted anxiety and somatic complaints, ignoring parenting predicted depression and features of personality disorders, and degrading behaviors predicted features of personality disorders. Our research findings also supported earlier findings that parental PA is related with depression, anxiety, somatic complaints and other mental health problems. Findings are also consistent that verbal abuse is a leading risk factor for development of psychopathology.23
De Bellis24 argued that PTSD in children following abuse is the same condition as that diagnosed in adults following significant traumas, such as battlefield experiences or major accidents. American psychiatrists25 studied 156 children following severe abuse of parents, reported that 62 (40 per cent) met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD and 33% met the criteria even after two years, PTSD in turn also linked to internalizing disorders such as anxiety and depression and to externalizing disorders, such as ODD, ADHD and self-destructive behavior. Overall findings of the study are in agreement with earlier studies that parental abusive behaviors damage adolescents’ mental health.
Limitations of the Current Study : Major limitations were reliance on retrospective responses of adolescents, small sample size, drawn from only urban area which may not be representative for whole population of children and adolescents. Prospective controlled studies are needed involving cross informants (parents & teachers), larger sample size including rural areas.
Conclusion: Present study revealed that abused adolescents were found vulnerable for mental health problems and this study is timely effort in the right direction to caution and guide parents, teachers, pediatricians and mental health professionals on the unrecognized psychological abuse and under reported mental health problems.
Acknowledgement: The authors appreciate the cooperation of the adolescents who participated in the study, their parents, school authorities and authors of scales, used in the study.
Note: This manuscript is based on PhD Dissertation “Perceived Parental Abuse, Parenting Styles, Associated Behavioral and Emotional Problems and Academic Achievement in Adolescents” by Syeda Fariha Iram Rizvi.
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What Is Emotional Abuse & Things You Should Know
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On this page
- What is emotional abuse?
- Types of emotional abuse
- Signs of emotional abuse
- If a child reveals abuse
- Effects of emotional abuse
- Who's at risk?
- Support for parents, children and young people
- Help if you're worried about your behaviour
It can sometimes be hard to know what emotional abuse is, especially when it happens as part of other kinds of abuse. That’s why we’ve got advice on the signs, effects and how to report it.
Worried about a child?
If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact our helpline to speak to one of our counsellors. Call us on 0808 800 5000, email [email protected] or fill in our online form.
What is emotional abuse?
Emotional abuse is any type of abuse that involves the continual emotional mistreatment of a child. It's sometimes called psychological abuse. Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare, humiliate, isolate or ignore a child.
Emotional abuse is often a part of other kinds of abuse, which means it can be difficult to spot the signs or tell the difference, though it can also happen on its own.
Types of emotional abuse
Emotional abuse includes:
- humiliating or constantly criticising a child
- threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names
- making the child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child
- blaming and scapegoating
- making a child perform degrading acts
- not recognising a child's own individuality or trying to control their lives
- pushing a child too hard or not recognising their limitations
- exposing a child to upsetting events or situations, like domestic abuse or drug taking
- failing to promote a child's social development
- not allowing them to have friends
- persistently ignoring them
- being absent
- manipulating a child
- never saying anything kind, expressing positive feelings or congratulating a child on successes
- never showing any emotions in interactions with a child, also known as emotional neglect.
If a child reveals abuse
A child who is being emotionally abused might not realise what's happening is wrong. And they might even blame themselves. If a child talks to you about emotional abuse it's important to:
- listen carefully to what they're saying
- let them know they've done the right thing by telling you
- tell them it's not their fault
- say you'll take them seriously
- don't confront the alleged abuser
- explain what you'll do next
- report what the child has told you as soon as possible.
Call us on 0808 800 5000, email [email protected] or fill in our online form.
Effects of emotional abuse
Over time, emotional abuse and neglect can have serious long term effects on a child's social, emotional and physical health and development. This includes:
Emotional abuse can change how a child behaves, such as:
- wanting attention or becoming clingy
- not caring how they act or what happens to them
- trying to make people dislike them
- developing risky behaviour, like stealing, bullying or running away.
Emotional abuse can affect a child's emotional development, including:
- feeling, expressing and controlling emotions
- lacking confidence or causing anger problems
- finding it difficult to make and maintain healthy relationships later in life
- higher levels of depression and health problems as adults compared to those who experienced other types of child abuse.
Emotional abuse of child or young person can increase the risk of:
- mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts
- eating disorders
- language development
- problems forming healthy relationships.
Who's at risk
Any child, from any background, can be at risk of emotional abuse. But some are more vulnerable than others.
Children who are emotionally abused are often suffering another type of abuse or neglect at the same time – but this isn't always the case.
When a family is going through a tough time, parents and carers might find it difficult to provide a safe and loving home for their children. This can happen when families are experiencing:
- relationship problems
- family arguments
- money problems or unemployment
- mental health issues
- addiction to drugs or alcohol
- domestic abuse.
Signs of emotional abuse
There might not be any obvious physical signs of emotional abuse or neglect. And a child might not tell anyone what's happening until they reach a 'crisis point'. That's why it's important to look out for signs in how a child is acting.
As children grow up, their emotions change. This means it can be difficult to tell if they're being emotionally abused. But children who are being emotionally abused might:
- seem unconfident or lack self-assurance
- struggle to control their emotions
- have difficulty making or maintaining relationships
- act in a way that's inappropriate for their age.
The signs of emotional abuse can also be different for children at different ages.
Babies and pre-school children who are being emotionally abused or neglected might:
- be overly-affectionate to strangers or people they don't know well
- seem unconfident, wary or anxious
- not have a close relationship or bond with their parent
- be aggressive or cruel towards other children or animals.
Older children might:
- use language you wouldn't expect them to know for their age
- act in a way or know about things you wouldn't expect them to know for their age
- struggle to control their emotions
- have extreme outbursts
- seem isolated from their parents
- lack social skills
- have few or no friends.
Help if you're worried about your behaviour
If you are, or think you might be, emotionally abusing a member of your family, there's help available.
You can call us for information and advice on 0808 800 5000, email [email protected] or fill in our online form.
Respect offers information, advice and support to perpetrators of abuse.
- Call Respect – People living in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can call for free on 0808 802 4040 (Monday – Friday 9am-5pm).
- Email Respect – You can email Respect on [email protected]. They aim to reply to emails within two working days.
- Chat online – Respect have a webchat service available on Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am-4pm.
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More support for you and your child
It can be hard to know what emotional abuse is. We’ve got advice on the signs, effects and how to report it.
Find out more
If you're worried about physical abuse, we have information and advice to help you feel confident in taking the next steps to keep children and young people safe.
Find out more
Neglect can be hard to spot. We've got advice on the types and signs of neglect and what you can do if you’re worried about a child.
Find out more
Psychological child abuse | State Institution "Lyakhovichi Territorial Center for Social Services to the Population"
People express negative emotions in relation to others in different ways. Someone simply speaks badly about some person behind his back, and someone chooses a harsher and more unpleasant method of influence - psychological violence. Statistics show that the victim most often is not an adult, but a child. Minors are subjected to psychological violence in schools, on the street, at home. This is a very serious problem, because because of it, children's emotional behavior and development are disturbed. They have fears.
What is psychological abuse?
Psychological violence is also called emotional. This term refers to the periodic or constant insult of the child with some unpleasant words, the humiliation of his human dignity, the utterance of threats. Often, parents have formed the desired image of children. To achieve it, mothers and fathers present their children with such requirements that they are not able to fulfill due to age opportunities. This also applies to psychological abuse.
Negative attitude towards a child has very serious consequences. He ceases to be happy. He begins to suffer from his own feelings. The child withdraws into himself, loses confidence in the people around him. In the future, all this leads to problems in building relationships. Another negative consequence is low self-esteem. For example, peers at school may call a child scary, stupid. With such thoughts about himself, he grows in the future.
Problem classification into forms
What can be considered psychological abuse of a child? Experts identify several forms of this problem. Here are the main ones:
- Degradation. With this form, children or adults influence a particular child with rude words, curses, name-calling, ridicule in front of other people.
- Ignore. This form of violence is most often observed on the part of adults - parents. They do not pay attention to their child, they are not interested in his successes and achievements. He does not feel affection, care, love. Naturally, such an attitude depresses the child.
- Repulsion. This feature of behavior is manifested by the fact that parents push their child away, constantly drive him away, that is, they make it clear that they do not need him.
- Terrorization. In this form of abuse, the child is constantly threatened by something. They threaten him, make demands that are impossible at this age stage.
In various books on education, articles on psychological abuse of children, special attention is paid to isolation. This is another form of the problem. Its essence lies in various prohibitions (for example, you can’t communicate with peers, go for a walk with them). Sometimes, during isolation, parents resort to additional physical violence - they lock the child alone in an apartment, room, and sometimes even in a closet, beat him if he violates the prohibitions.
Signs of psychological abuse
When a child becomes a victim of psychological abuse, this can be guessed from certain behavioral patterns. The following signs are observed:
the child develops anxiety, excessive anxiety;
appetite is disturbed;
minor avoids peers, adults,
seeks to retire; sometimes, due to psychological abuse, a child develops such a character trait as aggressiveness;
sleep is disturbed due to negative emotions;
the child begins to pay less attention to studies, gets poor grades at school;
constant threats, insults, bullying by peers or adults lead to suicide attempts.
As early as childhood, psychological abuse causes health problems. Physical and mental development is delayed, enuresis, nervous tics, and obesity occur. Emotional abuse affects the brain. This ultimately causes a predisposition to various diseases:
coronary heart disease;
chronic fatigue syndrome;
oncological diseases, etc.
Domestic violence and advice to parents
Psychological violence in the family against a child occurs for various reasons.
First, parents may simply not love their child. It's terrifying. This reason simply does not fit in the head. How can you not love your own child, because he is the future of parents. Abusive moms and dads need to be talked to. Relatives also need help. If the parents do not come to their senses, then it is best for the child to live, for example, with his grandmother.
Another common reason is demands on the child. It is important to remember that you cannot force another person to do something. Requirements that are impossible to fulfill or that the child does not like can suppress the will and cause a depressed state.
Commandments of wise parents
There are 4 commandments of wise parents. They can help avoid psychological abuse of a child, because mothers and fathers do not always realize that their upbringing is wrong and leads to negative consequences.
First, never try to make the best out of your child. Not all people are the same. Each person is endowed with certain abilities and capabilities.
Secondly, do not compare your child with other children, do not reproach him for not achieving something, like some of his classmates.
Thirdly, do not threaten the child, do not blackmail him. Otherwise, you will cause him only fear, shame. Your child may think that you just do not love him.
Fourth, do not sort things out with a child in front of witnesses, even if he has done something. It is better to discuss the problem at home, find out the reason. When misbehaving, shame the child, but remember that there should be a measure in everything.
A problem at school Absolutely any child can become a victim of school bullying. The likelihood of this is greatly increased if he is calm, not too active and sociable. His offenders can be class leaders, aggressive children who have found a victim for self-affirmation or who always strive to be in the spotlight.
A child will always tell about psychological abuse if he trusts his parents. With a secretive nature, lack of trust in the family, the opposite situation is observed. The child does not share his experiences and problems with anyone. It is possible to guess that he became a victim of psychological violence at school. The presence of this problem is indicated by the following nuances:
the child does not want to go to school;
he doesn't talk about his classmates;
his things are sometimes torn or soiled;
The child returns home after school in a depressed state.
What to do if a child is abused during school
Psychological abuse of children at school is a problem that should be solved by parents together with the class teacher. The teacher, as a rule, is aware of everything that happens in the classroom. You can also talk to the mothers and fathers of the offenders. If a minor has been a victim of abuse for a long time, then the best way out is to change schools or temporarily transfer to home schooling.
If a child does not want to transfer to another school, then parents should give him some advice on how to deal with ridicule, insults:
who does this;
an effective way to deal with offenders is to show them that their unpleasant words do not hurt or upset at all;
in response to the insults of the offenders, you can simply laugh (if you demonstrate such behavior every time, then after a while, peers will simply become uninteresting in “poisoning” their victim).
Liability for child abuse in the Republic of Belarus
The legislation of the Republic of Belarus establishes several types of liability for persons who abuse a child.
Administrative responsibility. The Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Belarus provides for liability for failure to perform or improper performance of duties for the maintenance, upbringing, education, protection of the rights and interests of minors - in the form of a warning or the imposition of an administrative fine.
Criminal liability. Belarusian criminal legislation provides for liability for all types of physical and sexual abuse of children, as well as for a number of articles - for mental abuse and for neglecting the basic needs of children, lack of care for them.
Civil liability. Abuse of a child may serve as a basis for bringing parents (persons replacing them) to liability in accordance with family law.
Forms and consequences of violence
Physical violence - infliction of physical injuries on a child, various bodily injuries that cause damage to the child's health, disrupt his development and take his life. These are beatings, tortures, concussions in the form of blows, slaps, cauterization with hot objects, liquids, lit cigarettes, in the form of bites and using a variety of objects as tools of fanaticism.
Physical abuse also includes the involvement of a child in the use of drugs, alcohol, giving him poisonous substances or drugs that cause intoxication (for example, sleeping pills not prescribed by a doctor), as well as attempts to suffocate or drown a child.
In some families, various types of physical punishment are used as disciplinary measures - from slaps and slaps to spanking with a belt. It is necessary to realize that physical violence is really a physical attack (torture), it is almost always accompanied by verbal abuse and mental trauma.
Sexual abuse or abuse - The use of a child (boy or girl) by an adult or another child for sexual purposes or gain. Sexual abuse includes sexual intercourse (coitus), oral and anal sex, mutual masturbation, and other bodily contact with the genitals. Sexual depravity also includes the involvement of a child in prostitution, the porn business, the exposure of the genitals and buttocks in front of the child, peeping at him when he does not suspect it: during undressing, the administration of natural needs.
Mental (emotional) violence - constant or periodic verbal abuse of the child, threats from parents, guardians, teachers, educators, humiliation of his human dignity, blaming him for what he is not guilty of, demonstration of dislike, hostility towards the child . This type of violence also includes constant lies, deceit of the child (as a result of which he loses trust in an adult), as well as demands placed on the child that do not correspond to his age capabilities.
Neglect of the interests and needs of the child - lack of proper provision of the basic needs and needs of the child in food, clothing, housing, upbringing, education, medical care by parents or persons replacing them, due to objective reasons (poverty, mental illness, inexperience) and without them. A typical example of neglect of children is leaving them unattended, which leads to accidents, poisoning and other consequences that are dangerous to the life and health of the child.
One of the manifestations of child abuse is a woman's lack of love for a child when it is still in the mother's womb, that is, for a child from an unwanted pregnancy. He, who has not yet shown himself in any way, is no longer loved, they do not think and do not care about him. Being emotionally rejected even before birth, such children are born prematurely twice as often compared to children from a desired pregnancy, they are more likely to have low body weight, get sick more often in the first months of life, and develop worse.
Any kind of child abuse leads to a variety of consequences, but they all have one thing in common - damage to the child's health or danger to his life.
Negative health effects are: loss or deterioration of the function of any organ, the development of a disease, impaired physical or mental development. Out of 100 cases of physical abuse of children, approximately 1-2 end in the death of the victim of abuse. The consequences of physical violence are bruises, injuries, fractures, damage to internal organs: the liver, spleen, kidneys, etc. It takes time to heal these injuries, but even more time and effort is required to heal the emotional wounds, the psyche of a child affected by beatings.
Distinguish between immediate and long-term consequences of abuse and neglect of children.
Immediate effects of include physical injury, injury, and vomiting, headaches, loss of consciousness, which are characteristic of concussion syndrome that develops in young children who are taken by the shoulders and shaken violently. In addition to these signs, in children with this syndrome, hemorrhage in the eyeballs appears. The immediate consequences also include acute mental disorders in response to any kind of aggression, especially sexual.
These reactions can manifest themselves as agitation, a desire to run somewhere, hide, or as a deep lethargy, outward indifference. In both cases, however, the child is seized with the most acute experience of fear, anxiety, and anger. Older children may develop severe depression with a sense of their own inferiority, inferiority.
Disorders of physical and mental development of the child, various somatic diseases, personality and emotional disturbances, and social consequences stand out among the long-term consequences of child abuse.
Disorders of physical and mental development
alcoholics, there are signs of a delay in physical and neuropsychic development. Foreign experts called this condition of children the inability to flourish.
Abused children often lag behind their peers in height, weight, or both. They begin to walk, talk later, laugh less often, they do much worse at school than their peers. Such children often have "bad habits": thumb sucking, nail biting, rocking, masturbation. And outwardly, children living in conditions of neglect of their interests, physical and emotional needs, look different than children living in normal conditions: they have swollen, “sleepy” eyes, a pale face, disheveled hair, untidiness in clothes, etc. signs of hygienic neglect - pediculosis, rashes, bad smell from clothes and body.
Various diseases as a result of abuse
Diseases can be specific to a particular type of violence: for example, during physical violence there are injuries to parts of the body and internal organs of varying severity, bone fractures. Sexually transmitted diseases can occur with sexual violence: infectious and inflammatory diseases of the genitals, syphilis, gonorrhea, AIDS, acute and chronic infections of the urinary tract, trauma, bleeding from the genitals and rectum, ruptures of the rectum and vagina, prolapse of the rectum.
Regardless of the type and nature of violence, children can experience various diseases that are psychosomatic: obesity or, conversely, sudden weight loss due to appetite disorders. With emotional (mental) violence, there are often skin rashes, allergic pathology, stomach ulcers, with sexual violence - unexplained (if no diseases of the abdominal cavity and small pelvis are detected) pain in the lower abdomen. Often, children develop such neuropsychiatric diseases as tics, stuttering, enuresis (urinary incontinence), encopresis (fecal incontinence), some children are re-admitted to the emergency department for accidental injuries, poisoning.
Mental characteristics of children affected by violence
Virtually all children affected by abuse and neglect have experienced psychological trauma, as a result of which they develop further with certain personal, emotional and behavioral characteristics that negatively affect their future life .
Children who have been subjected to various kinds of violence themselves experience anger, which is most often poured out on weaker children: younger children, animals.
Often their aggressiveness manifests itself in the game, sometimes their outbursts of anger have no apparent reason.
Some of them, on the contrary, are excessively passive, unable to defend themselves. In both cases, contact, communication with peers is disrupted. In abandoned, emotionally deprived children, the desire to attract attention to themselves by any means sometimes manifests itself in the form of defiant, eccentric behavior.
Children who have been sexually abused acquire age-appropriate knowledge about sexual relationships, which is manifested in their behavior, in playing with other children or with toys. Even young children who have not reached school age and are victims of sexual violence can subsequently become the initiators of sexual abuse and involve a large number of participants in them.
The most universal and severe reaction to any, not only sexual violence, is low self-esteem, which contributes to the preservation and perpetuation of psychological disorders associated with violence. A person with low self-esteem experiences feelings of guilt, shame, she is characterized by a constant conviction of her own inferiority, that she is the worst. As a result, it is difficult for a child to achieve the respect of others, success, communication with peers is difficult.
Among these children, even as adults, there is a high incidence of depression. This manifests itself in bouts of anxiety, unaccountable longing, feelings of loneliness, sleep disturbances. At an older age, adolescents may experience suicide attempts or completed suicides.
Feeling unhappy, destitute, adapting to abnormal conditions of existence, trying to find a way out of the current situation, they themselves can become blackmailers. This, in particular, applies to sexual violence, when in exchange for a promise to keep a secret and not break their usual family life, children extort money, sweets, and gifts from adult rapists.
Social consequences of child abuse
It is possible to single out two aspects of these consequences that appear simultaneously: harm to the victim and to society.
Children who have experienced any kind of violence experience difficulties in socialization: they have broken connections with adults, do not have the appropriate communication skills with peers, they do not have a sufficient level of knowledge and erudition to gain authority in school, etc.
Solving their problems child victims of violence are often found in a criminal, asocial environment, and this is often associated with the formation of addiction to alcohol, drugs, they begin to steal and commit other criminally punishable acts.
It is not uncommon for girls to become involved in prostitution, and boys may have sexual orientation problems. Both of them subsequently experience difficulties in creating their own family, they cannot give their children enough warmth, because their own emotional problems have not been resolved.
As mentioned above, any kind of violence forms in children and adolescents such personal and behavioral characteristics that make them unattractive and even dangerous to society.
What are the societal costs of child abuse? These are, first of all, the loss of human lives as a result of the murders of children and adolescents or their suicides, these are losses in their person as productive members of society due to a violation of their mental and physical health, low educational and professional level, and criminal behavior.