PSYCHOLOGY

Do You Know When A Child Needs Help? Learn About The Most Common Signs Of Child Abuse

November 7, 2018 09:31

Any good parent would agree that child abuse is the most horrible thing, yet the statistics show an extremely dangerous picture. Nearly 5 children die each day due to child abuse and neglect. Do you know what the difference between the diseases like cancer or autism and child abuse is? The latter can be 100% prevented! 700,000 children are abused each year, and it’s only in the US. And what’s even more disturbing is that around in 4 out of 5 cases the abusers are the parents. It happens even in loving and caring families! Therefore, it is important to learn the signs of child abuse.

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Warning signs of child abuse

First off, there are many different types of child abuse, where each type has different signs. Yes, it may be very hard to recognize them, but we hope with the following information, you will be able to help any child in need. Children rarely complain about their experience, as in most of the cases, the abusers are people they know and trust. Abused children also may be afraid that no one will believe them or they will be blamed and shamed. So instead of torturing children with long interrogations, look for the following possible signs of child abuse:

Signs of child neglect

Physical signs:

  • unbathed for a long time (extremely dirty);
  • inappropriate clothing for the weather;
  • left alone in an inappropriate place or for a long period of time;
  • signs of malnutrition or dehydration;
  • skin disorders including rashes and erythema, which may be caused by poor hygiene.

Behavioral signs:

  • child shows severe lack of trust or attachment to adults;
  • poor grades at school and attendance issues;
  • tendency to stealing things, especially food;
  • constantly demands attention.

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Signs of emotional abuse

Physical signs:

  • bed-wetting for no apparent medical reason;
  • frequent psychosomatic manifestations (abdominal pain, headache, nausea, etc.);
  • frequent vomiting and diarrhea;
  • poor development (physical and\or mental);

Behavioral signs:

  • significantly slower development compared to other children;
  • depression, anxiety, aggression, apathy or withdrawal;
  • tendency to self-destructing behavior – attempts of suicide, self-harming, drug or alcohol abuse;
  • syndrome of a “good boy/girl” – too well-mannered, too clean, and overly compliant;
  • during plays, the child’s behavior may mimic the language and behavior used at home.

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Signs of physical abuse

Physical signs:

  • unexplained cuts, bruises, etc.;
  • unexplained dislocations, fractures and muscle strains;
  • suspicious burns.

Behavioral signs:

  • violence against animals and other children;
  • long clothing to cover the bruises or other indicators of physical abuse;
  • extremely withdrawn or aggressive and impulsive;
  • not able to give clear explanations of how they received the injuries.

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Signs of sexual abuse

Physical signs:

  • torn or bloody clothing or underwear;
  • bruises, swelling, redness, excessive itching and especially bleeding in the genital area;
  • unexplained STDs (sexually transmitted diseases);
  • blood in urine or feces;

Behavioral signs:

  • too fast sexual development resulting in age-inappropriate sexual plays with other children, toys, and self;
  • unusual or sophisticated sexual knowledge, especially in young children;
  • obsession with setting things on fire by boys;
  • unexplained fear of some certain places like a bedroom or bathroom;
  • any sort of eating disorders;
  • trying to make self as unattractive and inconspicuous as possible.

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The signs described above may vary depending on the individual traits of character and specific cases of abuse. With that being said, emotional abuse is considered the most difficult to recognize, as it has almost no obvious physical indicators and the behavioral ones can be very subtle or even completely subtle. Yet, this type of abuse can sometimes have an even more destructive impact than sexual or physical abuse. Emotional abuse is about strange changes in behavioral patterns, thus it takes a lot of time and efforts to identify it.

Unfortunately, as with other types of child abuse, parents are also the most common emotional abusers. It is not a secret that parents have power over their children. But some may be so afraid to lose the control, they constantly manipulate their children. This often happens unconsciously and is motivated by positive intentions.

5 most common signs of child abuse

  1. Sings of malnutrition.
  2. Overly depressed or withdrawn.
  3. Extreme aggression and inappropriate behavior.
  4. Constantly distressed and afraid of adults, severe anxiety.
  5. Unexplained bruises, torn clothing with a combination of changes in usual behavior.

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Can you identify the child abuse type of each of these 5 signs?  We hope this article will help you recognize the cases of child abuse better, especially in your own children. However, if you suspect child abuse in other children – don’t hesitate and report it as soon as possible!

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