When someone sees a child with a bruise or a broken arm, one worry goes through the heads of many – child abuse. Most of the time it is just children being children – they run around, fall over, jump of high heights without a care in the world. However, physical abuse is not the only thing to worry about – there are many who suffer from child emotional abuse.
What Is Child Emotional Abuse?
In a nutshell, emotional abuse with children affects the way that a child feels. Instead of showing physical signs, everything is on the inside. This is a very subtle form of child abuse and it will usually take years for someone to pick up on there being a problem.
There are different types of emotional abuse. There are some parents and adults who will humiliate and belittle their child in public, while others will just make negative remarks and constantly compare to other children in negative ways.
Another sign, which many parents do not initially believe is emotional abuse, is a lack of affection or love for a child. This will involve minimal to no hugs or kisses throughout the child’s life.
How emotional abuse affects a child
Abuse affects all children differently but all forms will leave scars that last into adulthood. While physical abuse leaves physical scars, child emotional abuse is more on the inside, which will lead to damage to the self confidence and the ability to have strong relationships and being able to cope with school and home life.
The most common affect from emotional abuse is the lack of being able to trust. This will stem from the people who have caused the abuse but will go onto caregivers, teachers and even partners. This will lead to a difficulty in making friends and knowing who can be trusted or not. There are fears of being controlled by someone else.
The self-esteem is damaged because a child will not feel like he or she is worth anything. The constant belittling will have this affect and it will lead to difficulty with education or even in the work place. Showing emotion and knowing that it is good to feel certain ways in certain situations is also a struggle. More children who have suffered from child emotional abuse will have problems with anger and depression. Many turn to alcohol to be able to tune out the feelings and help deal with them.
The signs of emotional abuse in children
It is important to know the signs to look out for when it comes to child emotional abuse. While every child is different, there are some signs that are common. The usual one is a child that is withdrawn. Because of the inability to trust, the child will spend more time alone and will struggle to make friends.
A child will also worry about constantly doing something wrong. There will be a fear of being caught doing it – even if it is just an accident. This is because they are shouted at and belittled for doing something wrong at home.
Something that is very common for children who suffer from child emotional abuse is that they show years older or younger than they really are. Some children will regress and turn to sucking thumbs or throwing tantrums, while others will want to take care of others to show the emotion that they are not getting at home.