Child abuse, or cruelty to children, can be physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional mistreatment. An abused or neglected child may suffer through short-term or long-term effects. Physical abuse is using any physical strength against the child and harming the child physically. Verbal abuse or emotional abuse is when the caregiver or guardian threatens, frightens, or rejects the child and emotionally hurts him/her. Sexual abuse is any forced sexual activity against the child and he/she isn’t aware of what he/she is being put through. Child neglect is when the care-giver fails to provide the child with basic needs. Child abuse and neglect effects the child’s development, academic performance, and state-of-mind. If a teacher suspects child abuse, then he/she is required to file a report. The teacher should provide safety to the child and give emotional support.
Child abuse and neglect can lead to many damaging factors for the child’s life. He/she suffers through long-term and short-term effects. Short-term effects of physical abuse include repeated injuries such as bruises, burns, and welts. A broken bone may be one effect and it can heal overtime. A result of sexual abuse can be a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and the child starts feeling anxious for his future. Emotional abuse may
lead the child to constantly cry and be needy for support. Verbal abuse causes the child to experience low self-esteem and the child will feel that he/she isn’t needed or is worthless. For example, if the abuser constantly harasses the child verbally by calling him/her stupid, eventually the child will feel that he/she is stupid and act according to that. His/her academic performance will decrease because the child will think to himself or herself that “I’m stupid, I can’t do this.” This can become a long-term effect if the abuser continues harassing the child verbally.
Other damaging factors to a child can be a weakened brain development and/or a head trauma. He/she might have difficulty sitting or walking and poor physical health. Child neglect causes the child to experience anxiety and depression. He/she will become less social with adults and other children and dissociate with others. Child abuse leads to self-harm and alcohol and drug-abuse. Children who are emotionally abused are at a greater risk of academic problems and depression.
There are many long-term effects of child abuse and neglect. Research shows that children who are abused are at a greater risk of abusing their own children in the future. “AN estimated one-third of children who are subjected to child abuse and neglect go on to repeat patterns of abusive parenting towards their own children,” (Effects of Child Abuse, 2014). Child abuse can lead the child, mostly females, to be abused in the future. They are at a risk of being victimized as adults because they have a low self-esteem and they might believe that violence is a solution to any conflict or problem.
Mental health problems are a major consequence of child abuse and neglect. An abused or neglected child often suffers through many health issues on the long-run. These include personality disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, post-traumatic stress, and disassociate disorders etc. It is most common for an abused child to suffer through depression and anxiety. A research was conducted and the results showed that adults who suffered through child abuse were two and half times more likely to experience major depression, (Afifi, Boman, Fleisher, Sareen, 2009).
Abused children are at risk of becoming homeless in the future because they have a poor academic performance and are less focused on their studies. “The relationship between homelessness and adult survivors of abuse and neglect may also be connected to other adverse outcomes linker to child abuse and neglect such as substance abuse problems, mental health problems, and aggressive and violent behavior, (Afifi, et. Al. 2009). The long-term and short-term impacts of child abuse can lead to a wide range of outcomes in the future and they are often inter-related.
If teachers suspect any kind of child abuse or neglect, then they are required to report a file. “3.7 million incidents of child abuse or neglect were reported to U.S child service agencies in 2008. Over two-thirds of the victims of maltreatment suffered from neglect, one sixth experienced physical abuse, and one-tenth were victims of sexual abuse,” (Ryan and Cooper, p. 97, 2013). Children who are abused or neglected experience serious learning problems and have poor academic abilities. They suffer through low self-esteem and stress a lot. Teachers in all 50 states must report child abuse and they should be aware of the signs.
They way students process any abuse or traumatic event is based on his/her age. Teachers and staff members in the school can help the students express their experiences. The students often recall the abuse and aren’t focused on their school performance. Research shows that children who are abused or neglected at home are more likely to become victims of bullying and have behavior problems. Students who have been abused show behaviors, and a lack of socializing with others. These children are more likely to drop out of high school and experience a stressful future. Lower school performance can cause lifelong, negative and social economic effects.
“Research shows that physically abused children displayed significant school problems and their academic performance were poor in all academic subjects especially in mathematics and Language Arts,” (Akoloh, Okenjom, Obiahu, 2016). Emotional abuse can cause serious cognitive and behavioral problems. Also, the child can suffer through emotional and mental disorders which can interfere with the child’s development and abilities to achieve in school.
Children who are neglected have the least cognitive skills to achieve compared to other students who have been abused. Neglected children are fearful and inattentive, and have a hard time understanding the cognitive tasks. Most of these children were put in the special education classes and separated from the other students. A research shows that teachers reported neglected children to have a below-average grade and are more absent than other students. Neglect has a negative long-term effect on the child in school performance and academic achievement more than the other maltreatments.
“Children placed in out-of-home care due to abuse or neglect tend to score lower than the general population on measures of cognitive capacity, language development and academic achievement, (Akoloh, Okenjom, Obiahu, 2016). Maltreated children tend to score lower than the average non-abused child because they are less attentive and feel stressful most of the time. The maltreatment effects their development which causes their cognitive skills to be less than other students.
In conclusion, child abuse and neglect effects the child’s life and causes harm to his/her cognitive skills and abilities. They can suffer through short-term and long-term effects and have a difficult time being successful in school. They can experience major problems such as depression, anxiety, disorders etc. If child abuse is suspected, then teachers should report a file and save the child’s life from the abuser. The teacher should provide emotional support to the child and make his/her classroom a safe and happy environment to learn.