Child abuse is the deliberate negative treatment of children; physically, psychologically or sexually. Most cases of child abuse are evident in homes while rare cases are in schools and in the society surrounding the. Child abuse is divided into three major categories that is, physical, psychological/ emotional and sexual abuse. Child abuse results to physical, social and psychological effects to the children which make the child not to be able to function properly presently and even in the future. It’s worth noting that whatever form of abuse it is, the results are hurting and they can adversely affect the child whether in the present or future.
When the parent or next of kin abuses a child physically, this means that he involves him/herself in habits like hitting, burning in fire or with hot water or strangling a child till the child swells. On the other hand sexual abuse happens between the adult and the child. The adult exposes the child to his/her private parts, or he is involved sexual penetration with the child. Psychological abuse tampers with the child’s emotions. This may involve looking down on the child, shaming the child before her peers, laughing at the child, punishing the child and not been involved in the emotional occurrences of the child.
According to Finkelhor et al, any child who has undergone any form of abuse is likely to produce effects afterwards that will interfere with her personality and well being. The effects of child abuse are however determined by the type of child abuse that the child has undergone. Children who have gone through a long period of physical abuse are likely to develop psychiatric problems. These problems are associated with signs of anxiety in a child, shyness and wanting to keep to him/herself. Any form of abuse leads to a child being distorted in his thoughts; the child may even keep aside and decide to hide the secret to anybody, while the secret keeps eating her/him within. This child will henceforth develop bad relationships later in life and can also develop ulcer problems because of emotional pressure (Finkelhor et al 7).
The child’s goals and ambitions can also be hindered by abuse. This is because the child will always fear to try out a new idea because whenever the child tries the parent disapproves of it. This child will lack taste and energy towards life and will therefore, find it hard to achieve his/her potential later in life.
Physical stress is another great effect in an abused child. Great instances of violence and trauma will result to autonomic and endocrine hyper arousal. This is great stress that results to signs as of being scared of even little things or a wish to experience higher risk situations that would result the child to harm. This kind of a child could even undergo heart problems, or other illnesses.
Physical abuse which is another form of child abuse causes psychosomatic disorder where a child may complain of feeling sick most of the time. The child may have frequent headaches and stomach aches too. It may also lead to depression which is as a result of anger within the child. This anger may eventually result to drug or alcohol abuse.
Children who are victims of physical abuse may develop rage which is after the accumulation of anger. This may cause the child to be indifferent about anything. She may break the glasses when she is displeased or burn clothes to make the other person feel it.
In addition, when children result to anger and pain, they do not have any place or person to express their anger to, they suppress it but they are left hurting. Such children are likely to exercise bad and irresponsible parenting if precautions are not taken. They can even murder their children or murder other persons. They can also get addicted to alcoholism, prostitution or even drug abuse. They are likely to turn their anger to their children when they are adults.
Abused children are likely to go through isolation. Since they feel their self esteem and identity is low, they will find it difficult to interact and even make friends. They will always be finding fault of themselves. This may eventually lead the child to having self pity, missing school or loss of appetite.
The child who has undergone sexual or physical abuse, may acquire unhealthy reactions such as harming him/herself to release pain, running away and going to an isolated place and abusing others for example their friends or other siblings. These children may in the long run commit suicide (Besharov, D. J. 16).
Another effect of physical abuse is head damage which can result to brain damage. The results of brain damage are enormous since they may cause retardation in a child. A retarded child is not able to perform properly in school academically. They also are unable to concentrate well because they keep having flashbacks of the abuse or lingering and disturbing memories.
The effects of emotional abuse also leave a great mark in the child’s life. These effects are sometimes difficult to predict. Signs like the child becoming too shy, fearful or having behaviors that are not common to children in his/her age are the common effects of a child abused emotionally.
A child who has gone through sexual abuse will assume signs like showing interest in sexual acts which are not appropriate to his/her age, avoiding certain people or sexes or acquire a sexually transmitted disease (Besharov, D. J. 21).
In conclusion, the effects of child abuse are enormous; the child may have academic difficulties, result to drugs or alcohol, bed wet, inappropriate sexual behaviors, eating problems, low self esteem and self drive, Insomnia problems and diseases such as heart problems.
While the list of effects may seem endless, a child’s integrity should not be damaged by anyone as this is likely to affect the child’s youth and adult life. It is the parent’s obligation or the guardian’s to ensure that the child grows well; being disciplined and having acquired love and attention. The parents should not pass their frustrations to their children but should raise them with love and affection.
Besharov, D. J. Recognizing Child Abuse: A Guide for the Concerned; publications of the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect. (1990).
Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., Lewis, I. A. & Smith, C. Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: Prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14, 19-28. (1990).