Watch out these symptoms of physical and emotional abuse in children

Child abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. It is sometimes not easy to recognise so watch out for these signs and follow the below-mentioned tips to protect your kid.
Stress and trauma in children
Child abuse can impact a kid life-long. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Nitin M Updated: 17 Aug 2022, 02:28 pm IST
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All children may be vulnerable to danger, injury, assault, and abuse. Children may be susceptible to harmful influences and “at risk” behavior due to many circumstances and reasons. Learn about child safety and the protection of children from physical and emotional abuse.

What is child protection?

Child protection refers to any action taken to protect children from being subjected to violence, abuse, neglect, or exploitation. It speaks about defending kids from or against any risk or danger, real or imagined. Additionally, it entails safeguarding kids against anguish and instability on a social, psychological, and emotional level.

What is child abuse?

Child abuse is the term for mistreating a child. Sexual, emotional, or physical abuse is all possible forms. This type of abuse is also known as child exploitation and child neglect, which both refer to failing to provide a kid with the necessary care. Abused children frequently suffer negative effects on their welfare, self-respect, and health.

child abuse
Make your kid aware of all types of child abuse. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It refers to any type of action or inaction that endangers or may endanger a child. The adult could be a parent, a sibling, or another caregiver like a teacher or a coach of a sport.

Physical abuse

Punching, kicking, shaking, biting, burning, or tossing a kid are all examples of physical abuse. Episodes of violence within the family or excessive or incorrect discipline can also lead to physical abuse. Children’s injuries can range in severity from mild bruises, burns, welts, or bite marks to severe fractures of the long bones or skull, or in the most extreme case, a child’s death.

In homes where domestic violence is prevalent or when children are reared in poverty, there is also a higher likelihood of violence. The same is true when a youngster grows up with a stranger as a parent or has more than two siblings living with them.


  • Unexplained wounds, such as burns, fractures, or bruising
  • Possibly very aggressive or very withdrawn
  • Kid wary of adults or a certain person
  • Injuries that don’t fit the description provided
  • Injuries to parts of the body that is often covered or protected.
  • Kid abusive toward children or animals
  • Conceals bruises or other wounds

Emotional abuse

When a child’s emotional, psychological, or social well-being and feeling of value are repeatedly harmed, it is considered emotional abuse. A pattern of criticizing, rejecting, discriminating against, demeaning, neglecting, isolating, corrupting, and scaring a youngster can fall under this category. When other types of abuse occur, emotional abuse is nearly usually present as well. These types of abuse don’t always have immediate or obvious consequences. The long-term effects of emotional abuse might not be noticeable until a child reaches adulthood and starts to exhibit challenging or unsettling behaviors or symptoms.

child abuse
Children always show signs, so be careful. Image courtesy: Shutterstock


  • Loss of self-confidence or self-respect
  • Appears to be desperate for love
  • Loss of developmental abilities already acquired
  • Improper or delayed emotional development in the kid
  • Social detachment or a decline in motivation or interest
  • Depression
  • Avoidance of specific situations, such skipping school or the bus
  • Decline in academic performance or a loss of enthusiasm for learning

Childhood Bullying: A combination of physical and emotional abuse

Children can also encounter bullies at schools or their neighborhood. Bullying is aimed to cause both physical and emotional pain. It is intentional and repetitive. It is often seen boys are subjected to physical bullying while girls experience psychological bullying.

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Also, read: 5 ways to teach children to speak up about sexual abuse

Such experiences can be harmful and have lasting impact on the child’s well-being. Apart from the physical harm, bullying can also cause mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

What can parents do to ensure their child’s safety?

Talking to kids helps increase their awareness and teach them how to spot difficulties in the future so they can potentially avoid them.

Parents can:

  1. Play out what to do and how to obtain help if someone ever behaves inappropriately
  2. Converse with their kids about proper and improper behavior as well as safe and harmful situations
  3. Attempt to know where their child is at all times, when they are outside and keep a track
  4. Encourage open conversations with their child, as this will make it simpler to recognize if something unexpected happens
  5. Make sure their home and yard are secure, and make plans in advance to ensure that they never have to leave small kids alone.
  6. Build a rapport with the people who watch after their children, such as teachers, babysitters, and friends’ parents, can be beneficial in a number of ways.
child abuse
Talk with your child. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It makes it simpler to set rules for safety and proper conduct, such as what to do if a youngster misbehaves. It might aid in spotting and stopping potential abuse. It also aids in creating a support system and vigilant neighborhood for your child.


Child abuse is an alarmingly prevalent type of abuse. Children who have experienced abuse are prone to many ripple effects in a variety of forms. Healing is possible, even if recovering from a life marked by physical assault, sexual violence, or neglect can be challenging. Seek assistance right away if you have any reason to believe that your child or another child has been abused.

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About the Author

Dr Nitin M, Consultant - Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Electronic City, Bengaluru

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