Rib fractures in an infant, secondary to child abuse, Author/Source National Institute of Health (PD as work product of US Dept. of Health and Human Service, a federal agency)
Physical abuse is the form of child abuse most frequently reported by the media and most familiar to the public. It is, also, the form most frequently fatal.
Children can and do sustain bumps and bruises, in the course of ordinary play. Physical abuse, however, is deliberate harm by a parent or caregiver.
An abuser may characterize physical abuse as punishment for a perceived infraction. But such punishment is out of all proportion to the infraction, and severe beyond a child’s capacity to understand or endure it. Continue reading
Frightened child, Author Jean-Francois Gornet, Paris, Source Selfie Velib, Originally Posted to Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)
Emotional abuse is an underrated form of abuse, but no less damaging for that.
The warning signs of emotional abuse include the following :
- A child who exhibits a lack of attachment to the parent.
- A child who is delayed in physical or emotional development, unrelated to an identifiable medical or psychological condition.
- A child who is either inappropriately adult (parenting other children) or inappropriately infantile (constantly rocking or head-banging, for example).
- A child who exhibits behavioral extremes (acute passivity or serious aggression; demanding behavior or abject compliance).
- A child who attempts suicide.
The parent who rejects his/her child will constantly blame, belittle, or berate that child. The parent unconcerned about his/her child’s well-being may refuse offers of help for that child’s school problems.
On the other hand, a parent can be so self-involved that his/her child becomes little more than a pawn for manipulation.
 Prevent Child Abuse America, “Recognizing Child Abuse: What Parents Should Know”, https://preventchildabuse.org/resource/recognizing-child-abuse-what-parents-should-know/.
This series will continue next week with Part 3 – Physical Abuse
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Image courtesy of NSPCC
There are a thousand ways to harm a child. The evidence of child abuse may be subtle or more obvious. To remain vigilant against such abuse, those of us concerned for the welfare of children must learn to recognize the warning signs.
This series of posts will address such warning signs. The signs here are derived from lists compiled by Prevent Child Abuse America [1A]. They fall into 4 categories: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. More often than not, these categories will overlap in the experience of a child.
No single warning sign, by itself, is considered definitive. Occurring repeatedly or in combination, however, these signs warrant further investigation.
The general signs that child abuse may be present in a family include unusual wariness on the part of a child; sudden changes in a child’s behavior; deterioration in a child’s school performance; and learning disabilities on a child’s part unrelated to an identifiable medical or psychological condition.
But the children of abuse may, also, be overachievers, anxious to please.
That said, we will begin with neglect. Continue reading