Question

Child Abuse

How does mental abuse affect children?

A Answers (2)

  • Mental abuse affects a child's ability to develop emotionally and physically. The child may appear awkward or withdrawn in social settings, especially in areas of language development. The child may also suffer from emotional issues, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, fearfulness, and trust issues. The child may act out with rebellious behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse. Symptoms of abuse can also manifest physically as the inability to gain weight or sleep properly. Many of these symptoms may be recognized when evaluating another problem like poor school performance.

  • ABonnie Lynn Wright, PhD, Geriatrics Nursing, answered on behalf of Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)

    Physically, mental abuse in young children impacts their brain development. The nerves themselves fail to develop into their full potential and subsequently so does the child. They will not have the neurological infrastructure to develop healthy relationships, learn to their maximum capacity, handle stress in healthy ways, and many et ceteras.

    As an observer, mental abuse in a child is evidenced by a high-strung, defensive, moody, aggressive or withdrawn youngster with little confidence in themselves and little interest in socializing or group activities. They may be self-deprecating or act like a bully to others to cover their own feelings of inadequacy. 

    Without something in the child's life to buffer the abuse, the effects will continue. However, if there is a loving, nurturing relationship to offset the abusive one, the impact will be less severe.

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