“A new family has moved upstairs for months. From the second day I started to hear strange noises. Voices, bruises, things breaking, children crying… I did not pay attention, although I was anxious every time everything stopped abruptly. One day I met my parents, they seemed very kind to me. However, I also succeeded in their little one one day returning from school. I saw some bruises and when I went to catch her she ran upstairs. What should I do? ”
Child abuse is more than just bruises and sores. Although physical abuse has its obvious signs, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse and neglect, have deeper signs. So the sooner an abused child gets help, the better the chances of the ‘signs’ healing.
There are several forms of child abuse, which are linked to a common element, the emotional impact they have on the child. Children need consistent behaviors, organization, boundaries and a sense of security from their parents. Children who are abused cannot predict their parents’ behavior and reaction. Their world is unpredictable, scary and without rules. The following are the main and most common types of child abuse:
Physical abuse refers to the child’s physical harm and / or pain. It may be the result of a deliberate attempt by the parents to harm the child, but this is not always the case, as it may be the result of strict discipline, such as punishment for using the belt on the child, or some other corporal punishment that is inappropriate for the child. age of the child or his physical condition. In fact, the majority of abusive parents and / or caregivers report that their actions are an attempt to impose discipline at home, so that children learn to behave properly. There is, however, a big difference between corporal punishment as a form of discipline and physical abuse. Discipline aims to teach children to distinguish right from wrong, not to create an environment of fear.
“Stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” . Contrary to popular belief, emotional abuse can hurt a child’s mental health and / or socialization process, leaving untreated wounds. Examples of emotional abuse are: constant humiliation of the child, humiliating humiliations and ugly addresses, negative comparison with other children, frequent voices, quarrels, threats, intimidation, indifference or rejection of the child as punishment, limited physical contact with the child-no hugs, kisses, or other behaviors of love and care etc.
Child sexual abuse is a particularly complex form of abuse, due to the two main elements that characterize it: guilt and shame. It is important to recognize that sexual abuse does not always involve physical contact. By exposing a child to sexual situations and / or sexual material, whether there is physical contact or not, the child accepts the same consequences. Although stories of sexual abuse are in themselves frightening, what is even more frightening is that the sexual abuse is caused by someone the child knows and trusts (eg parents, relatives, etc.). Also, contrary to popular belief, it is not just girls who are at risk. Boys and girls have the same chances of being sexually abused.
In addition to the physical injuries and physical pain that sexual abuse can cause, of great intensity and seriousness are the emotional and mental consequences that it brings. Children who are sexually abused experience a strong sense of shame and guilt. They feel that they are responsible for the abuse they are suffering or that they have caused it in some way. This can lead to self-loathing and sexual problems as they grow older (eg inability to develop close interpersonal relationships). The feeling of shame they experience holds back the children, as they worry that others will not believe them, will be angry with them etc. By extension, reports of sexual abuse are usually not false, so if a child trusts us and tells us about their experience, let’s take it seriously.
4. Παιδική Παραμέληση
Η παιδική κακοποίηση αποτελεί ένα πολύ συχνό φαινόμενο. Αναφέρεται σε συμπεριφορές των γονέων, οι οποίες στερούν τις βασικές ανάγκες του παιδιού, όπως είναι το φαγητό, η ένδυση, η υγιεινή κ.ά. Η παιδική παραμέληση είναι δύσκολο να ανιχνευθεί, καθώς τα παιδιά μπορεί να μην παρουσιάζουν εμφανή σημάδια παραμέλησης. Μάλιστα, μερικές φορές οι γονείς μπορεί να μην είναι σωματικά ή ψυχικά ικανοί για να φροντίσουν το παιδί, λόγω κάποιου τραυματισμού ή κάποιας ψυχικής διαταραχής (π.χ. κατάθλιψη) ή χρήσης αλκοόλ (ή/και άλλων ουσιών).
Ενδείξεις Παιδικής Κακοποίησης
Όσο πιο γρήγορα ανιχνευθεί ένα περιστατικό παιδικής κακοποίησης, τόσο περισσότερες πιθανότητες έχει το παιδί να αναρρώσει. Παρακάτω περιγράφονται ορισμένες από τις πιο συνήθεις ενδείξεις παιδικής κακοποίησης. Ωστόσο, σε καμία περίπτωση, η ανίχνευση ορισμένων ενδείξεων δεν σημαίνει ότι το παιδί υφίσταται κακοποίηση. Στόχος είναι να υπάρχει ένα σύνολο ενδείξεων που έχουν αντίκτυπο στη συμπεριφορά και την ανάπτυξη του παιδιού.
1. Ενδείξεις Σωματικής Κακοποίησης
A first contact on the issue of child abuse has been completed. In the next article we will talk about various myths around the subject of child abuse, as well as answer your frequently asked questions.
“The world is dangerous, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who see it and do nothing about it” A. Einstein
Alexia Stathaki, Psychologist