Child abuse is a harmful infliction of pain on a child, this pain can be inflicted by parents, teachers, care givers, family members and so on. According to Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the child, the convention defines a child as persons up to the age of eighteen. Child abuse may take different forms on a child, however, some persons are victims of more than one type of child abuse.
While growing up, I have been a victim to more than one of the types of child abuses, some were not intentional while some were intentional. Passing through the phase had its negative and positive impact in my life. I believe a lot of children have experienced one form of child abuse or the other.
According to the Centers for disease control and prevention, the types of child abuse are as follows:
- Physical Abuse: I presume this is the most common type of child abuse especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. The administrators of this type of abuses are ususally under stress or mental problems, employment/financial issues, have a history of abuse, etc, therefore, pouring out their frustration on innocent children. In addition, this type of abuse coud be administered by parents, teachers, school prefects, neighbors or any older person. This type of abuse includes torturing, excessive hitting or slapping, severe punishments, withdrawing the child from eating or sleeping
- Sexual Abuse: This is having sexual relations of any kind wih a child. This can be by touching seductively, penetration, watching illegal sexual contents, telling them dirty stories or jokes and so on. In this type of abuse, it is difficult to identify who to blame, either the parents for uneducating their children about sexual topics or for exposing them to neighbors or the perpetrators themselves for taking advantage of the child or the government for not providing enough protection for children or for not creating awareness about the rights of a child to fight against such act. It is not unheard of for parents to sexually abuse their children. If you are interested in more details about child seual abuse, I have a full blog post on child sexual abuse here.
- Emotional Abuse: This is a constant disregard for a child by using horrible words on them and making them feel worthless, unvaluabe and unloved. This can happen by mocking a child, Ignoring a childs participation, silent treatment, frequently yelling at a child, telling them they are mistake and of no good in life, bullying, preventing them from socializing with peers, makin the feel guilty and so on. Although, It usually does not start with one, it then becomes problematic when repeated severally. In this type of abuse, I presume the parents or abusers either lack the right parenting style, undergoing mental stress, use hard drugs, etc.
- Neglect: This is when a parent or care giver fails to meet up with the psychological, physical or nutritional needs of a child, which coud affect their health or development. This includes leaving a child alone to experience loneliness or harm, locking the child up in a room like a prisoner, not providing the basic needs of the child such as food, clothing, education and shelter.
It is important to note that you as an adult may be guilty of these acts in one way or ther other. We should always know that there are other ways to discipline or treat a child when they misbehave. The mental health of a child is very important.
Ways we can help are as follows:
- Creating awareness for your children or student about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors such as sexual discussions. Teaching a child to know when to feel safe around a man and when not to.
- Teaching a child how to seek help and knowing emergency contacts numbers off hand.
- Open communication with your child is important, make the child feel comfortable around you, as this will make it easier to spot if anything unusual happens.
- Adequate security is important in a family, making sure that the home is safe for a child especially when they will be left alone in the house.
- Parents and care-takers should endevour to monitor their child/ children but be care not to over-encroach their personal space. It is important to know where they are, what they do, and who their friends are.
- Having good relationship with people around you, especially people who look after your child/ children such as their teachers, carers, friends or parents of friends. This will always come useful in grooming and protecting a child in the best way.
Having said all that, I do hope you have learnt one or two things about child abuse as a lot of children are going through one or all of these types of abuses. Help a child.
Feel free to share so as to create awareness about child abuse, also feel free to drop your opinions or experiences in the comment section.