Child Abuse

February 25, 2004

Psychology 1010

In 1999, a survey was taken that showed 22 % of abused children were victims of physical abuse, 8% sexually, 54% through neglect, and 16% by emotional abuse. Psychological abuse can include a number of different factors including neglect and verbal abuse. The majority of abuse that takes place is done so psychologically rather than physically. Many children are simply ignored by their parents and have little or no involvement with them because of this. Children are also verbally abused and therefore are “beaten down” psychologically. Those who are abused psychologically tend to be very dependent and take care of themselves, have poor self-esteem and confidence, and can have a poor relationship with their peers. On the other end of the spectrum, physical abuse occurs in 30 percent of child abuse cases. A very serious result of physical abuse is known as SBS (Shaken Baby Syndrome). This condition is cause by violent shaking of a small child, which in turn causes the brain to bruise and eyes to bleed. Seizures, partial or total blindness, paralysis, mental retardation, and death are all results of this form of abuse. The main reason why this abuse occurs is the parent’s frustration from a crying baby. The parent does not want to hit the child, so they shake the child back and forth to make him or her stop crying. Children show many signs of physical abuse in their day-to-day life. These signs include shying away from adult contact, lack of trust, aggressive behavior, self-destructive behavior, extended days away from home, and even suicide attempts. On average, fifteen out of every 1,000 children in the United States are abused either psychologically or physically each year. In 1999, 1,185 children died from physical abuse. An important thing to consider regarding child abuse is the child abuser. There are many ways to identify whether or not someone is an abuser or not. Typically, a child abuser is a harsh disciplinarian, describes his or her child consistently in a negative way, the explanations of the child’s injuries are not probable, and he or she becomes defensive or refuses to explain when asked about the child’s injury. The abuser may have a social or psychological problem such as depression or low self-esteem. Other conditions may be that there is an alcohol or drug-related problem, some lack basic skills of normal child development and parenting. Some of the child abusers have unreasonably high standards for the child to love up to, and when the child cannot live up to them then he or she feels that it is their duty to discipline the child. This discipline may lead to child abuse. Stress is another factor for child abuse, but probably not the only factor. The abuser may never have even had the thought or the urge to abuse the child but under so much stress sometimes, they do not understand that their punishment would be considered abuse or they do it not realizing what they are doing. The abuser may show signs of disregard for the child\'s needs, welfare, limited abilities, and feelings. Many abusive parents believe that children exist to satisfy the parents needs and that the child\'s needs are unimportant. The children who do not satisfy their parent’s needs may then become the victims of abuse. Sexual abusers may have unusual personality traits and behaviors that can result in sexual contact with a child. Sexual abusers may use threats, bribery, coercion or force to get the child to engage in sexual activities. This violates the natural trust between the child and adult, and if goes untreated may lead to emotional and mental problems later in life and the abused child may become the abuser. The child may not tell anyone because the abuser has threatened him or her not to tell. Although child abuse is something that has just recently been taken seriously, many advances have taken place to prevent it. The CPS (Child Protection Service) has grown by 40 percent over the past two years. Public awareness about this issue has grown enormously as well. Child abuse is very hard to get rid of completely because of human nature. However, if people can try to identify the problem before it grows into a way of