Login
Copyright

Child Abuse and Neglect: 4 Major Types, Characteristics & Effects

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: The Career Counseling Process

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:07 Child Abuse
  • 0:44 Physical Abuse & Neglect
  • 2:25 Psychological & Sexual Abuse
  • 4:22 Effects of Childhood Abuse
  • 6:05 Counseling Interventions
  • 7:02 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Login or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jade Mazarin

Jade is a board certified Christian counselor with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a certification in Natural Health. She is also a freelance writer on emotional health and spirituality.

Child abuse is a major problem in our world today. Counselors must be educated in the topic, particularly the four types of abuse, their effects, and what to focus on in therapy.

Child Abuse

Did you know that every ten seconds a report is made about a child being abused? Or, that about four children die every year as a result of abuse? It is a very sobering reality that children are being horribly mistreated every day by adults who are meant to love and care for them. Along with physical damage that is being done to children, there are also equally devastating emotional wounds created by harsh words or neglect.

This article talks about four different types of childhood abuse. These are: physical abuse, neglect, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse.

Physical Abuse

Many of us automatically picture some sort of physical abuse if we hear someone speak of childhood abuse. Physical abuse includes deliberate aggressive actions on the child that inflict pain. Wounds, bruises, burns, and sore muscles are all examples of signs of physical abuse.

Like many boys in abusive homes, Matt lives in fear of his father coming home from work. He forgot to mow the lawn today after school and is worried that his father will become furious again, only to yell and hit him. He wonders if his father has been drinking, which will only make the hitting worse.

Neglect

Did you know that when parents are continually unavailable for their children it constitutes abuse? Neglect, or the absence of parental care, can have damaging effects on a child's well-being. It is also the most common form of child abuse.

Because Linda's mother is gone again and there is no food in the fridge, she has to figure out how she and her two younger sisters are going to eat today. They often go hungry and feel unsafe as well as unloved. They do not know how long their mother will stay when she comes home, and often, they are left to fend for themselves.

Parents may neglect children because they abuse a substance and are not aware enough to care for others or make plans for them. They may have a mental illness, like severe depression, that keeps them home lying in bed. While they may be present, they are not truly present for their children. Parents who neglect their children may not even have an addiction or illness. They may be consumed with a job, activity, or another person, to the extent that they are rarely available for their children or caring for their needs.

Psychological Abuse

Betsy's mother often makes harsh comments toward her. She tells her she is stupid and that's why her grades are so bad. She tells her she is getting fat and won't be able to find a husband one day. Betsy feels horrible about herself and has little hope for her future. These cruel comments from her mother make up psychological abuse. In fact, all behaviors toward children that cause mental anguish or deficits constitute psychological abuse. It is also termed 'emotional abuse' because damage caused to one's mental state inevitably creates emotional damage.

Besides strong critical statements, psychological abuse can also include: yelling frequently, withholding kindness or affection, prolonged periods of silence, and harsh jokes, to name a few examples. Like any type of abuse, there may be degrees in severity, but the actions still constitute abuse.

Sexual Abuse

When someone touches a child in a sexual way or commits a sexual act with him or her, they have committed sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes any type of behavior toward a child that is intended for an offender's sexual stimulation. Fondling, forced sexual acts, or indecent physical exposure are some examples. Abuse includes one isolated event as well as incidences that go on for years.

While many people have stereotypes of what a sexual offender may look like, the disturbing fact is that they are often relatives of the child. People that family or friends would never imagine are behaving in such ways are more often than not the culprits.

Every time 8-year-old Gina is about to go to her grandfather's house for the summer, she starts acting nervous and telling her parents she doesn't want to go. They have no idea that she has been touched inappropriately by her grandfather and told not to say anything to anyone. It is important that her parents encourage her to share what is on her mind when they notice her reappearing anxiety.

Effects of Childhood Abuse

Diagnoses that are commonly given to children suffering abuse can continue into adulthood without intervention. These include: depression, anxiety, disassociation, PTSD, eating disorders, addiction, suicidal thoughts, personality or attachment disorders.

At the time of abuse and potentially later on, they often have a core sense of low self-esteem. When Matt is in his thirties, he continues to feel the low self-esteem he had as a child. He constantly worries that his wife will leave him for someone better. Survivors of abuse may also retain a fear of trusting people.

Those who went through sexual abuse may also become promiscuous or, on the other hand, frightened by sexual intimacy. Neglected children may have improperly developed psychosocial skills, affecting their information processing, language, and social skills. They may have problems attaching in healthy ways to later relationships because relationships were not modeled for them.

Survivors of childhood abuse may repeat behaviors they saw modeled for them during childhood and abuse their own children one day. On the other side of the coin, they may become hyper-vigilant to the safety of their children and have to monitor them constantly.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account
Support