Child abuse can be more than physical abuse. While it is easy to spot the signs of physical abuse, like bruises, cuts, and broken bones, it can be harder to see the signs of emotional abuse. When a child is emotionally abused, it is just as damaging and hurtful as physical abuse. The scars that come from emotional abuse can last well into adulthood. Recognizing the signs of emotional abuse is the first step to stopping the abuse. Below are some of the signs of emotional abuse.
1. Withdrawn or anxious. If a child is withdrawn or constantly worried they are doing something wrong, this is a sign of emotional abuse. Emotionally abused children have been told that they are doing things wrong or are stupid. They expect to happen anywhere, at any time.
2. Extreme behavior. If a child is extremely passive or extremely aggressive, this is another sign. Most children are moderate in their behaviors, so extreme or excessive behaviors of any kind should put up a warning sign.
3. No attachment to a parent. It just isn’t normal for a child to seem unattached to one or both parents. Most children attach to their parents. If you see a child that seems unattached, this could be a sign of emotional abuse.
4. Inappropriate behaviors. If you see a child acting too “adult” or too “babyish” this is also a sign. Emotionally abused children may try to take care of other siblings so they don’t also get abused or they may revert to babyish behaviors.
The most important thing to do if you suspect any kind of emotional abuse is to report it. You can help save a child’s life by reporting abuse of any sort to the proper authorities. Children need our help to stop the cycle of abuse in their lives.