Child Abuse and Neglect - What Happens
Children who are abused or neglected may have long-term emotional and physical problems. Abuse and neglect in children
younger than 7 years of age may lead to permanent behavior and personality
The mental and emotional effects depend on how bad the abuse or neglect is, how often it happens, how long it's been going on, and who the abuser is.
Mental health disorders that can be caused by abuse and neglect include:
Other emotional effects include:
self-esteemself-esteem. Children often unconsciously blame themselves and grow up with a poor
self-image. This affects their relationships with others.
hostility, or criminal
- Negative feelings. A person with a history of abuse or neglect
may have trouble dealing with normal struggles.
- Drug or alcohol abuseDrug or alcohol abuse.
- Emotional detachment. A person may
have problems making friends. This can lead to feeling isolated and alone. Children may not learn how to feel sympathy for others.
- Impulsiveness. The person acts without thinking about the consequences. They may take risks, such as driving
- Sexual problems. Abused or neglected children,
especially those who are sexually abused, often have problems developing
healthy feelings about sex as they reach adolescence and adulthood. Some may be overly active sexually. Others may be too afraid to be intimate with anyone.
Children who are abused or neglected are more likely to abuse other children and siblings and, later in life, their own
children or elderly parents. They are also more likely to become involved in crime.