Emotional and Psychological Child Abuse
HAS YOUR CHILD BEEN PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSED?
Psychological child abuse can be just as harmful as other types of child abuse. Sadly, emotional abuse can be harder to spot and often goes unrecognized.
A study published by the American Psychological Association (APA) showed that children who were emotionally abused face similar — and sometimes worse — mental health problems than children who were physically or sexually abused.
However, the problem is that emotional abuse toward a child is rarely addressed and is harder to recognize and substantiate. Physical child injuries (bruises, cuts, burns) are much easier to spot.
WHAT IS PSYCHOLOGICAL CHILD ABUSE?
One of the problems with psychological abuse is that there’s a lack of a universal definition. However, psychological and emotional child abuse comes in many different forms. Many times, psychological abuse is perpetrated alongside physical or sexual abuse and can be a direct result from previous child injuries.
Below is a list of 10 characteristics of psychological child abuse:
- Belittling, humiliating, or ridiculing
- Neglecting or leaving a child alone all day
- Withholding love and warmth
- Putting a child in dangerous situations
- Admitting openly of disliking or hating the child
- Describing the child negatively
- Having unrealistic expectations
- Making threats if certain expectations or goals aren’t met
- Restricting social interactions
- Keeping child from receiving needed medical care
This is by no means an exhaustive list of psychological child abuse tactics. Any sort of emotional maltreatment of a child that results in an impaired psychological growth can be considered abuse. In addition, psychological mistreatment is generally a repetitive, ongoing, or constant form of abuse. The effects of emotional abuse in children can be seen into adulthood, including brain development issues and behavioral problems.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL CHILD ABUSE?
Many of the signs of psychological or emotional abuse in children are the same as physical and sexual abuse. Children who are experiencing psychological abuse may show these signs:
- Low self-esteem
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
The APA study showed that behavioral issues at school, attachment problems, and self-injury were more prevalent in children who were psychologically abused than those who were physically and sexually abused.
Child protection agencies have a more difficult time addressing emotional abuse in a child due to the lack of physical injuries. Sadly, psychological child abuse is not considered as serious in the public eye as physical and sexual abuse.
WHO CAUSES PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE IN CHILDREN?
Like in physical and sexual child abuse cases, oftentimes the child abuser is somebody that the child knows personally or is familiar with. Any adult that is involved in a relationship with the child could be a potential psychological or emotional abuser.
Psychological abusers can be:
- Religious leaders
- Social workers
- Family members
HOW DO I REPORT PSYCHOLOGICAL CHILD ABUSE?
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) has a central place to report child abuse and neglect and abuse of a child in child-care facilities or treatment centers. Texas law says anyone who thinks a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited must report it to DFPS.
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
Texas Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400
THOMAS J. HENRY’S COMMITMENT TO CHILD WELFARE
Thomas J. Henry is committed to causes and organizations which aim to improve the welfare of children, especially children who have suffered abuse or neglect. ChildSafe is a Children’s Advocacy Center — and the only one in Bexar County — that provides specialized services to children and teenagers who have been physically abused, neglected, or sexually abused.
In 2015, Azteca and Thomas J. Henry made a $350,000 donation to ChildSafe — the largest individual donation ChildSafe has ever received. This donation will allow for the design and establishment of a new web-based training meant to help teachers and school employees recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED CHILD ABUSE LAWYER
If you believe that your child has been the victim of psychological or emotional abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for psychologically abused children across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free case review.