The modern world is still facing similar issues that society experienced years ago. Violence and abusive behavior against children are the problems that should be eliminated in the modern and progressive world. Children should be respected and treated equally, and every person should understand that it is not acceptable to use violence against people or animals. Such methods should not be used as violence violates human rights and dignity of a person and consequently leads to the irrevocable consequences destroying the personality, affecting mental and physical health, and can lead to the violent and abusive behavior of a child in future.
In order to get deeper involved in the issue some aspects should be taken into consideration, namely the following ones:
- Child abuse and maltreatment;
- Lasting effects on children as they become adults;
- Services in the community for parents to access.
Child Abuse and Maltreatment
Child abuse can be found not only in the dimension of physical violence. The problem is much deeper. The physical damage is evident and can be seen; however, the inner state and emotional feelings of a child are not visible, and thus, contain even more danger. The children who experienced violent behavior against themselves should get the help of the specialists as soon as possible; otherwise, they will have serious health-related issues (O’Donohue & Geer, 2014).
It is significantly important to know how to determine whether the child is abused in order to prevent it and save the child’s life. Abusive behavior at home is a more complicated issue than bullying at school because the child is experiencing it every day. When a family has more than one child, sibling abuse may take place. There are three types of abuse, namely the following ones:
In the majority of cases, the oldest child uses his or her power to influence siblings. Sometimes children cannot understand whether a certain type of behavior is acceptable or not. Thus, children should be provided with the information and educated regarding what is good and what is wrong or bad. Parents and teachers play a significant role in helping children to perceive this information. Abuse consequently leads to crucial emotional trauma, and thus, should be prevented. If parents ignore the fact of abuse, the child that is a victim will face a lot of challenges in the future because abuse influences the way the personality is shaped.
The sexual type of sibling abuse is harmful, and the victim is experiencing a variety of feelings, for example, helplessness and shame. In order to make sure the child will not tell anyone about the abuse, his brother or sister can use threats or even physical abuse (Martellozzo, 2012). The difference in age, for example, two to five years, is considered to be a huge gap for children because of brain and body development (Martellozzo, 2012). In case children are of a similar age, the curiosity regarding the differences between the sexes can take place. Sexual abuse leads to a number of difficulties in the future life of the victim. The challenges may involve some issues in future romantic relationships, sexual problems with future partners, depression, suicidal thoughts, drugs, or alcohol consumption. Children who experienced sexual and physical abuse need to undergo therapy and consult professionals.
The second type of abuse is commonly confused with sibling rivalry. In case the physical abuse among adults takes place, it is considered to be crucial; however, it should be stressed that sibling abuse is often ignored by parents. As it was stated above, physical abuse can sometimes be combined with the sexual one. In the majority of cases, the abuse starts with pushing and kicking, however, it can result in serious physical damage and injuries (Straussner & Fewell, 2012). The physical violence can sometimes occur when the older sibling is forced to watch and care for the youngest one, and the victim does not want to do something that the older one told to do.
Another type of violent behavior is believed to be emotional abuse. Verbal abuse is reflected in stories that aim to scare a child, criticizing, and teasing (Kirton, 2011). The younger children are likely to respect and seek acceptance in their older siblings. In case the youngest child is told by the older sibling that he or she is fat or not very intelligent, he or she will accept it and believe in it. It leads to low self-esteem and can possibly lead to violent behavior against other people in future (Kirton, 2011). Parents usually do not pay enough attention to emotional abuse and tend not to believe youngest children or think that it is not a big deal. Nevertheless, emotional abuse can lead to serious consequences and should be prevented.
Statutory rape is considered to be the involvement of children in the sexual acts. It occurs when adults involve children in any actions associated with sexual ones, resulting in increasing interest of children to sexuality, sexual fantasies, desires, without violence, however, using the curiosity and inexperience of a child. Statutory rape influences the future life of a person, affecting future relationships with partners.
Lasting Effects on Children as They Become Adults
The consequences of child abuse and maltreatment can be diverse. The professionals have already described the effect the maltreatment has on a physical, developmental, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development of a child. As for the physical aspect, it should be noted that violence can cause not only injuries but crucial brain damage that consequently can lead to the death. The psychological aspect is affected as well and is reflected in low self-esteem. The cognitive health is impacted as well and results in learning disorders and problems with attention and concentration. In some cases, abuse results in brain syndromes. In the behavioral aspect, the child can face problems with the relationships among the peers, and difficulties in understanding with people and violent behavior in adulthood. It is of paramount importance to highlight that in most of the cases it is difficult to discover abusive behavior (without evident physical injuries) because children feel ashamed and do not want to discuss it with adults. The violent behavior has a short and long term effect on a child’s health.
Recent studies have already proven the relationship between the trauma gained by children who experienced abusive behavior and health-related issues. These children tend to experience depression and disorders (eating, personality, and sexual), as well as suicidal thoughts in adulthood. People who faced abusive behavior in childhood have low self-esteem and difficulties in creating a family. Sexual abuse can also result in homelessness. However, in addition to the stated above concerns, children, who experienced violence in childhood is likely to face a number of problems in adulthood, among them are the following ones, namely:
- Decrease in mental health;
- Unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life;
- Poor physical health;
- Cardiovascular diseases;
- Difficulties in relationships and not big chances of marriage;
- Social isolation and loneliness;
- Suicidal behavior, smoking, and drinking.
The negative influence of the abusive behavior does not usually end with the termination of violence. However, in spite of this fact, it is possible to overcome these difficulties and live a full and happy life with a help of professionals. People, who faced abuse being children, tend to commit crimes more in comparison to those who did not. The society should do their best to prevent child abuse and eliminate such cases.
Services in the Community for Parents to Access
There are a number of services that parents can access in order to prevent child abuse and violent behavior against children. Among such services in Hughesville, Maryland are the following ones, namely:
- The Center for Children. It is a non-profit organization that aims to help families and their children to receive an opportunity to get a high-quality care;
- Maryland Victim Assistance Resource Directory;
- Senior Living Communities and Continuing Care.
In conclusion, it should be pointed out that the problem of child abuse and violence against children is, unfortunately, common in the modern world. The society should direct all the forces in order to eliminate this issue. Parents and teachers are the ones who are responsible for prevention the abuse. The short and long-term effects of the abuse are evident and lead to problems in adulthood. In order for people to live full and happy life, the society should prevent and eliminate the problem of child abuse.
Kirton, B. (2011). Understanding child abuse and neglect in contemporary Caribbean society: A recipe for change. Bloomington, IN: Author House.
Martellozzo, E. (2012). Online child sexual abuse: Grooming, policing and child protection in a multi-media world. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
O’Donohue, W., & Geer, J. (2014). The sexual abuse of children volume I: Theory and research. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis.
Straussner, S., & Fewell, C. (2012). Impact of substance abuse on children and families: Research and practice implications. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.