At some point in your motherhood, you might face a situation where you may suspect that a child, or worse, your child is being abused. Generally, there are five basic types of abuse in children, which are indicative of their behavior that can signal that they are being abused.
Recognizing Child Abuse Symptoms – All You Need to Know
If we were to categorize or define abuse, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that any intentional harm or maltreatment of a child (under 18) is deemed abuse. Abuse can take the following forms:
Physical abuse refers to purposefully hitting or physically hurting a child. It also means putting one’s child at the risk of getting harmed by another person.
Injuring a child’s self-esteem or emotional and mental health falls in the category of emotional abuse. Typically, this abuse incorporates emotional and verbal assault, such as belittling a child or calling them names. Rejecting, ignoring, and isolating a child also falls in this category.
Indulging in sexual activity with a child is known as sexual abuse, including sexual exposure, exploitation, oral-genital contact, fondling, and sexual activity with a child.
Many people don’t take neglect as a form of child abuse seriously. However, child neglect profoundly impacts the child’s emotional, physical, and mental growth. Typically, neglect includes the parental failure to provide education, food, shelter, and affection to their children.
Medical abuse, though not so well-known, the gravity of which cannot be ignored, refers to putting the child at risk by unnecessary medical care or by providing misinformation about a child’s illness.
What Are The Symptoms of Child Abuse?
Typically, children who are being abused feel confused, ashamed, and guilty. At the same time, they might be too afraid to talk about it, especially when the abuser is a close relative or a parent. If you suspect your spouse is abusing your child, check out separation options.
Nonetheless, watch out for the following red flags connected with child abuse:
- Withdrawal from friends, siblings, and usual activities that were once enjoyed.
- Behavioral changes, such as showing aggravated hostility, mistrust, hyperactivity, aggression, etc.
- Depression, unusual fears, a sudden drop in confidence, and anxiety.
- Abrupt changes in school performance/ frequent absences from school.
- Rebellious/ defiant behavior.
- Attempts of running away from home/ school/ kindergarten.
- Attempts of self-harm and suicide.
What to do when you detect child abuse?
If you are concerned that your child or someone else’s child is displaying possible child abuse symptoms, you cannot waste time but have to seek help immediately. While it depends on the situation, we recommend contacting the child’s healthcare provider.
You may also alert the police department and your local child protective agency. Keep in mind that all healthcare professionals are legally required to report suspected child abuse cases to the police departments. In the case of confirmed child abuse, some children overcome the psychological and physical side-effects with the help of their strong social support. Therefore, by making sure to be there for your child and provide them with all the necessary support, young lives can be saved for the better!