Last Updated 07 Aug 2020

Emotional children abuse Essay

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Emotional children abuse and its long term effect on their well-being

Despite the increased awareness of children emotional abuse in the recent past, emotional child abuse remains a huge problem in many societies. Children who are victims of emotional abuse may face detrimental long-term psychological effects on their well beings. Emotional child abuse can be in various forms i.e., using demeaning or insulting language, neglect, sexual or physical abuse (Şahbal et al, 2016). This research paper provides an in-depth discussion on the issue of emotional children abuse and its long term effect on their well-being.

Research questions

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  • Who are the common emotional abusers of children?
  • What are the indicators of children who are emotionally abused?
  • How does abuse lead to the long term effect to the well-being of a child?
  • What are the long-term consequences of emotional children abuse?

Background description of the research questions

For a long time children emotional abuse has been linked with parents, caregivers, family or friends who often close to the children but fail to show concern fot the children’s welfare. However, with the growth and diversification in the societies set up, a question looms of who are the potential emotional abusers or the perpetrators of child abuse? Through research, it is expected that other emotional abusers such as teachers, peers and acquaintances will be established.

Over the years, various researchers have delved the indicators of emotionally abused children. In the quest of rescuing abused children, it is vital for one to know what they should be looking at in a child to establish if they are emotionally abused. More so, it is important to note the difference between a physically abused child and one who is not.

Literature review

According to Heredia (2015), the most common perpetrators of child abuse are those that are close to them such as parents, family, friend and caregivers. On the other hand, strangers and acquaintances are considered other non-common emotional abusers. Heredia (2015) notes that a study by National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, (NCANDS), in 2005 showed that 79% of all emotional abuse to children were caused by parents. Some of the factors that make parents the most common abusers are that parents could have at one point have been victims of emotional abuse such as divorce, battery or abusive marriage. Other factors may include, socioeconomic difficulties, failure of knowing how to discipline children as well as self-esteem issues. Landry (2014) provided instances where parents emotionally abuse their children, dividing them into three categories namely; deliberately rejecting essentials for healthy development of children; degrading children using abusive language, which is reducing their self-worth and finally isolating children form social situations.

Ruff, C. M. (2015) notes that some of the indicators of children who have been emotionally abused include being antisocial, oppositional and aggressive. Moreover, the children are likely to perform poorly in school academics. Ruff insists that emotionally abused children face challenges in their self-esteem and hence tend to emotionally and physically withdraw from situations leading to poor ability to form meaningful relationships with peers, family or friends.

Little research has been done in the topic of protective factors for emotional and physical child abuse. In a study done by (Meinck et al., 2015) hypnotized the risk consequences caused by physical and emotional abuse in a society in South Africa. The study was conducted in through interviews and a questionnaire completed by the children that were aged 13 years to 19 years. The study established that protective factors in the community, school and care giver place children at very high risk of abuse in south.

(Lereya et al., 2015) is a study that used data from Avon Longitudinal study of parents and children. Maltreatment, emotions and sexual abuse was assessed in children aged eight to nine years. Maltreatment and bullying were assessed twice. The study established that adult mental is consequent of the childhood behavior. Abuse such as maltreatment from peers such as bullying is the cause of long-term effect in the child.

Interventions to minimize the long term effect of emotional abuse in children rely categorically on the identification of such children (Maguire et al., 2015). Through a study that involved 30 studies, 15 of those studies highlighted behavioral character of children. 13 of those studies were addressing the emotional well-being of children. The study established school aged children that presented the poor performance were the victim of neglect and emotional abuse as the main major cause.

Childhood maltreatment is major societal threat that comprises of health development. Children with a history of maltreatment always show altered structural and responsively. In the research done by (Jedd et al., 2015) employed an emotion pressing task in adults that had childhood maltreatment. The sample of the study included adult that once experienced maltreatment at a younger age. It was established the study that, persons who have been maltreated at younger age are associated with lasting alterations.

Significance of the study

The research question regarding common emotional abusers of children is significant because it seeks to establish the common and uncommon abusers in a transcultural society. According to a research by Ba-Saddik & Hattab (2012), emotional abuse is one of the most prevalent form of children abuse but rarely studied. Its high preference in countries like U.S, India, Cyprus and Nigeria necessitates a research to identify the abusers.

The overall finding of the review show that childhood maltreatment may face severe and long term psychological consequences. Children abused at a younger age are at risk of having mental problem especially of untimely care is disseminated. Besides children with abused history get involved in activities and behavior that are aggressive and engaging in activities that are abusive to others in the society. Increasing research efforts to improve the understanding of the society in regards to child emotional abuse will help prevent the negative impacts of emotional child abuse. Finally activities such as home visiting and provision of mutual support helps groups hold potential seminars to find solution of solving child emotional abuse. These programs can educate the society importance certain child development stages.


  • Ba-Saddik, A. S., & Hattab, A. S. (2012). Emotional abuse towards children by schoolteachers in Aden Governorate, Yemen: A cross-sectional study. BMC public health, 12(1), 647.
  • Heredia, N. (2015). Child Abuse and its Effects on the Social-Emotional Behavior of Elementary School Students.
  • Jedd, K., Hunt, R. H., Cicchetti, D., Hunt, E., Cowell, R. A., Rogosch, F. A., ... & Thomas, K. M. (2015). Long-term consequences of childhood maltreatment: Altered amygdala functional connectivity. Development and psychopathology, 27(4pt2), 1577-1589
  • Landry, S. (2014). Child Sexual, Physical, and Emotional Abuse: The Long-Term Impact of Child Abuse on Adult Interpersonal Functioning.
  • Lereya, S. T., Copeland, W. E., Costello, E. J., & Wolke, D. (2015). Adult mental health consequences of peer bullying and maltreatment in childhood: two cohorts in two countries. The Lancet Psychiatry, 2(6), 524-531.
  • Meinck, F., Cluver, L. D., Boyes, M. E., & Ndhlovu, L. D. (2015). Risk and protective factors for physical and emotional abuse victimisation amongst vulnerable children in South Africa. Child Abuse Review, 24(3), 182-197.
  • Ruff, C. M. (2015). The Short-and Long-Term Effects of Child Abuse and Their Implications for the Suggested Length of Physical and Psychosocial Treatment Regimens.
  • Şahbal, A. R. A. S., Sema, Ö. Z. A. N., & Sevgi TIMBIL, S. Ş. (2016). Exposure of students to emotional and physical violence in the school environment. Nöro Psikiyatri Arşivi, 53(4), 303.
  • Maguire, S. A., Williams, B., Naughton, A. M., Cowley, L. E., Tempest, V., Mann, M. K., ... & Kemp, A. M. (2015). A systematic review of the emotional, behavioural and cognitive features exhibited by school‐aged children experiencing neglect or emotional abuse. Child: care, health and development, 41(5), 641-653.

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