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Physical Abuse; may trigger
Topic Started: Feb 27 2011, 04:29 PM (500 Views)
fromtheashes
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PHYSICAL ABUSE

Physical child abuse: types and warning signs:
Physical child abuse is an adult’s physical act of aggression directed at a child that causes injury, even if the adult didn’t intend to injure the child. Such acts of aggression include striking a child with the hand, fist, or foot or with an object; burning the child with a hot object; shaking, pushing, or throwing a child; pinching or biting the child; pulling a child by the hair; cutting off a child’s air. Such acts of physical aggression account for between 15 and 20 percent of documented child abuse cases each year.

Many physically abusive parents and caregivers insist that their actions are simply forms of discipline, ways to make children learn to behave. But there’s a big difference between giving an unmanageable child a swat on the backside and twisting the child’s arm until it breaks. Physically abusive parents have issues of anger, excessive need for control, or immaturity that make them unable or unwilling to see their level of aggression as inappropriate.

Sometimes the very youngest children, even babies not yet born, suffer physical abuse. Because many chemicals pass easily from a pregnant woman’s system to that of a fetus, a mother’s use of drugs or alcohol during pregnancy can cause serious neurological and physiological damage to the unborn child, such as the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome; mothers can also pass on drugs or alcohol in breast milk. A woman who drinks or uses drugs when she knows she’s pregnant can be charged with child abuse in many jurisdictions if her baby is born with problems because of the substance use.

Another form of child abuse involving babies is shaken baby syndrome, in which a frustrated caregiver shakes a baby roughly to make the baby stop crying. The baby’s neck muscles can’t support the baby’s head yet, and the brain bounces around inside its skull, suffering damage that often leads to severe neurological problems and even death. While the person shaking the baby may not mean to hurt him, shaking a baby in a way that can cause injury is a form of child abuse.

An odd form of physical child abuse is Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy, in which a parent causes a child to become ill and rushes the chlld to the hospital or convinces doctors that the child is sick. It’s a way for the parent to gain attention and sympathy, and its dangers to the child constitute child abuse.

Is corporal punishment the same physical abuse?
Corporal punishment, the use of physical force with the intent of inflicting bodily pain, but not injury, for the purpose of correction or control, used to be a very common form of discipline: most of us know it as spanking or paddling. And many of us were spanked as children without damage to body or psyche.

The widespread use of physical punishment, however, doesn’t make it a good idea. Most child-care experts have come to agree that corporal punishment sends the message to children that physical force is an appropriate response to problems or opposition. The level of force used by an angry or frustrated parent can easily get out of hand and lead to injury. Even if it doesn’t, what a child learns from being hit as punishment is less about why conduct is right or wrong than about behaving well — or hiding bad behavior — out of fear of being hit.

Signs of physical abuse include:
Physical Signs:
~Cuts
~Bruises
~Welts
~Well-defined burns
~Broken or fractured bones

Behavioural Signs:
~Reluctance to go home
~Aggressive behaviour
~Unexplained injuries

If you ask a child about how he or she got hurt and the child talks vaguely or evasively about falling off a fence or spilling a hot dish, think hard before you accept the child’s story at face value.

Effects of child abuse:

Child abuse can produce dire consequences during the victim’s childhood and adulthood. Some effects of child abuse are obvious: a child is malnourished or has a cast on her arm; a nine-year-old develops a sexually transmitted disease. But some physiological effects of child abuse, such as cognitive difficulties or lingering health problems, may not show up for some time or be clearly attributable to abuse. Other effects of child abuse are invisible or go off like time bombs later in life.

Emotional Effects of Child Abuse
Just as all types of child abuse have an emotional component, all affect the emotions of the victims. These effects include:
~Low self-esteem
~Depression and anxiety
~Aggressive behavior/anger issues
~Relationship difficulties
~Alienation and withdrawal
~Personality disorders
~Clinginess, neediness
~Flashbacks and nightmares

Many adults who were abused as children find it difficult to trust other people, endure physical closeness, and establish intimate relationships.

Behavioral Effects of Child Abuse
Child abuse can play itself out not only in how its victims feel but in what they do years later. Children who suffer abuse have much greater chances of being arrested later as juveniles and as adults. Significant percentages of inmates in U.S. prisons were abused as children. One of every three abused or neglected children will grow up to become an abusive parent.

~Problems in school and work
~Prostitution
~Teen pregnancy
~Suicide attempts
~Criminal or antisocial behavior
~Alcohol and drug abuse
~Eating disorders
~Spousal abuse

Getting help for an abused child

Although many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives, when it comes to child abuse, you don’t have the option of keeping mum. If you know of a child being abused or even suspect abuse, you have the responsibility to report it. In the United States, Canada, and Australia, the concept of mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse is well established and is beginning to catch on in other countries around the world. Laws on mandatory reporters designate classes of professionals — typically school personnel, social workers, health care workers, mental health professionals, childcare providers, and law enforcement personnel, but in some states also clergy, film processors, and drug abuse counselors — who must report suspected child abuse. Eighteen states and Puerto Rico require all citizens to report suspected abuse or neglect.

By reporting, you can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child and the child’s family, especially if you help stop the abuse early. Early identification and treatment can help mitigate the long-term effects of abuse. If the abuse is stopped and the child receives competent treatment, the abused child can begin to regain a sense of self-confidence and trust. Parents may also benefit from support, parent training and anger management.
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