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The Impact of Abusive Treatment of Children on Their Lives

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Every year there are about 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States (“Child Abuse and Neglect Facts”). Abuse can be experienced in many ways including physically and emotionally. Children that has suffered child abuse in their younger years can be affected all the way into their adulthood.

Some may say that children suffering from emotional abuse can be impacted more as an adult than those suffering from physical abuse. During the beginning years of someones life, everything they do revolves around their parents or guardians.They are the first known source of security,safety, love, understanding, nurturance and support. Growing up not having any of these has the ability to change a child’s outlook on everything, typically more negative. Some forms of child abuse is ignoring, rejecting, isolating, verbally assaulting, terrorizing, and neglecting the child. According to American Humane Society, “An infant who is severely deprived of basic emotional nurturance, even though physically well cared for, can fail to thrive and can eventually die. Babies with less severe emotional deprivation can grow into anxious and insecure children who are slow to develop and who have low self-esteem” (“Emotional Abuse”). Even at such a young age children are affected by emotional abuse. Unfortunately, emotional abuse is far harder to detected rather than physical. “According to the federally funded Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (1996), almost three times as many children are maltreated as are reported to CPS agencies” (American Humane Association).

Child abuse is a problem all over the world and can affect a person as an adult as well. There are hundreds of adults living in the US that suffer from some form of trauma due to abuse in their childhood. Some of the most common long term effects of child abuse is impaired brain development, depression, unhappiness, substance abuse, and poor mental and physical health.

“Emma Foster, a young ASCA member died early in 2008, as a result of the impact of child abuse. She and her sister, Katie had been abused by their parish priest. Emma struggled for years to deal with the repercussions of her abuse, battling anorexia, depression, self-harm and drug abuse. She died in her bedroom, alone at the age of 26, as the result of an overdose of medication. Her sister, Katie had already received a life sentence. Struck down by a car while intoxicated from the alcohol she was using to numb her pain, Katie was left severely physically and intellectually disabled, and requires 24 hour care” (ASCA “Emma’s Story”).

Emma Foster and her sister Katie are only two of the thousands of abuses that affected them tremendously as an adult. We’ve all heard the saying, “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt me” growing up, but how much of that is really true? unfortunately, experiencing some sort of emotional abuse such as name calling can definitely hurt you, especially as a child.

Children that have suffered from child abuse have a higher risk of having a mental illness as they enter adulthood. A mental illness is known as a medical condition that disturbs the way a person is feeling, thinking, mood and the ability to do everyday functions, depending on how severe the illness is. According to National Alliance on Mental illness (NAMI) “One in four adults-approximately 61.5 million Americans-experiences mental illness in a given year… Approximately 20 percent of youth ages 13 to 18 experience severe mental disorders in a given year. For ages 8 to 15, the estimate is 13 percent” (Duckworth, M.D.).” These numbers are very high, and a good portion is from some form of child abuse experienced in their younger days. Some of these disorders that have been developed include post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, depression, Dissociation, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, Dissociative identity disorder, personality disorders and many more. Depression being one of the most popular in the united states, especially in teenagers. A lot of these younger children don’t choose to be abused, they’re brought up in an unhealthy environment and will have to deal with the possible consequences later on in life.

Have you ever seen a little kid walking to school with bruises or scars that don’t look like they were outside climbing a tree and fell like their parents say? Those disturbing marks left on that kid could’ve easily been from his or her mother and father, the people they’re suppose to love and trust the most. Typically parents that physically hit or cause harm to their children usually grew up in a household where they experienced similar situations with abuse. With this in mind, they don’t realize how physically hurting their child is an unacceptable way to discipline them. With physical abuse, symptoms are a lot more noticeable than those who were emotionally abused. Some symptoms are as followed:

“Black eyes, Broken bones that are unusual and unexplained, Bruise marks shaped like hands, fingers, or objects (such as a belt), Bruises in areas where normal childhood activities would not usually result in bruising, Bulging fontanelle (soft spot) or separated sutures in an infant’s skull, Burn (scalding) marks, usually seen on the child’s hands, arms, or buttocks, Choke marks around the neck, Cigarette burns on exposed areas or on the genitals, Circular marks around the wrists or ankles (signs of twisting or tying up), Human bite marks, Lash marks, Unexplained unconsciousness in an infant” (“Child Abuse – Physical”).

If a school administrator or a neighbor suspects a case of child abuse, emotionally or physically, they have the right to get ahold of Child Protective Service (C.P.S). Child Protective Service is an agency mandated by law that tries their best to prevent, identify, investigate, and treat child abuse and neglect. CPS has every right to take your child away and put them in better home or shelter if needed. This affects the child tremendously, both as a child and adult.

Emotional and physical abuse is a huge problem that many of us don’t think about. No child should have to go through the feeling of being unloved or not important because of their parent or gaurdian. Having the feeling at such a young age can easily change their future and how they will develop into an adult

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The Impact Of Abusive Treatment Of Children On Their Lives. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 28, 2021, from
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