Child abuse is not limited to physical abuse only. Bruises and broken bones indicate that a child is a victim of abuse, but emotional abuse and neglect can be equally detrimental to a child's emotional, mental, and physical well-being. It is hard to notice that a child is a victim of emotional abuse, which is why it is important to know abusive parents signs to help children recover and deal with the issue in a better way.
Abusive Parents Signs
Learning to identify abusive parents can really make it easier to help children who have been dealing with the vicious cycle of abuse for years. Here are the most common signs of abusive parents.
1. Emotional Abuse Signs
While it seems that emotional abuse is not as damaging as physical abuse is, the reality is different. Emotional abuse can affect a child's mental health and alter the way they interact socially. Some of the most common examples of emotional child abuse are calling names, constant shaming and belittling, frequent yelling, constant bullying, and ignoring a child as punishment. Giving a child the silent treatment is never a good way of handling things. Moreover, limited physical contact with the child and humiliation can damage a child emotionally.
One of many abusive parents signs is that they neglect their child. It means that they fail to provide for their child's basic needs, be it clothing, food, supervision, or hygiene. It is quite tricky to spot child neglect. Sometimes, a parent does not choose to neglect their child on purpose – they end up doing it because of untreated depression, a serious injury, or severe anxiety. Drug or alcohol abuse may also take a parent's ability to keep a child safe.
3. Physical Abuse Signs
Abusive parents may deliberately hurt their child, but it may as well be the result of severe discipline, like punishing the child in a way not appropriate as per the age of the child. It is worth mentioning that many abusive parents believe that their actions are for the betterment of their children. They believe that physical punishment teaches children how to behave properly. That is not always true, especially when they cross that thin line between physical abuse and using physical punishment to discipline.
Physical forms of discipline are actually different from physical abuse. Here are the elements usually present in physical abuse:
- Unpredictability: The child has no idea when they are going to get punished and for what reason. They always stay nervous and have no clue about what will trigger a physical assault.
- Desire to assert control: Abusive parents do not realize how harsh they have become, and that is mainly because they act out of anger.
- Fear: It is not necessary to make your child fear you to teach them discipline, but abusive parents do not understand this and end up damaging their child's personality.
Many abusive parents use isolation to punish their children. Parents who do not realize how important it is for a child to learn to social with other often use this form of abuse. They often isolate their children from other children as well as adults. They are not allowed to attend social events, such as sleepovers and birthday parties. Some parents take it to another level and never allow their children to participate in fun or developmental activities at school.
5. Not Offering Any Help to Solve Problems
Next on the list of abusive parents signs is a form of abuse that involves offering no help to a child when they have a problem to take care of. Parents who do not stand up for their children or avoid interfering in their problems end up making their children more aggressive.
6. Sexual Abuse Signs
Sexual abuse refers to any type of sexual contact between a child and an adult. In this type of abuse, it is common for adults to make threats or use their power to frighten a minor and compel them to engage in any sexual activity with them. Parents who sexually abuse their children may touch them inappropriately or take nude pictures of them. If an adult only touches the private parts of a minor, that is also considered sexual abuse.
Get Help When You Need It
It is important for you to learn about abuse parents signs so you can help children who may be confused and need someone to guide them in the right direction. Children who experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse should also consider getting help to break the cycle of abuse. Here is what children can do.
- You can talk to a trusted adult and ask for help. This will also help you understand if your parents are really abusive. You should tell the trusted adult exactly what you have experienced and why you think your parents are abusing you in any way.
- You should contact the police if you know that your parents have an abuse behavior towards you. You can simply dial 911 or other emergency service to report a case of abuse. You can also call for help when you see that your parent is drunk and is likely to hurt you in any way. You can also find the number of your local Child Protective Services office and ask for assistance.
- While there is help available, it is also important that you take some steps to avoid getting hurt. You should get away from danger as quickly as possible. Call 911 and find a safe place to hide until help arrives. You can also lock yourself in another room to stay safe.