This New Dawn

Laurel Hall Author and PoetPhysical abuse involves physical harm or injury to a child.  It can include acts of aggression such as kicking, biting, beating, choking, burning, hair pulling, violent shaking and many more unimaginable acts.  Parents do not want to purposely hurt their children, but some believe physical pain is how to make children behave.

In the home where physical abuse is present, life is unpredictable.  There are no rules and the child never knows what will cause his parent to physically abuse him.  Everyone is angry, constantly yelling or screaming and there is no praise for good behavior. 

            The emotional consequences of physical abuse depend on the age of the child.  For younger children some of the signs include distrust of others, withdrawn or aggressive tendencies, and low self-esteem.  The older child suffers from these and more.  He may never cry or always cry, be filled with rage, get involved with drugs or alcohol, harm himself or others, be unable to control his emotions, i.e. physically lashes out at others, and the list continues.

     How do you know if a child is being physically abused?  Some clues would include frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.  The child covers up injuries by not wearing clothing appropriate to the weather, such as a long-sleeved shirt on a hot day.  A few other signs include child doesn’t like to be touched and recoils at sudden movements; the child seems to be waiting for something bad to happen; the child seems afraid to go home. 

For more information on Physical Abuse visit Keep Kids Healthy: a pediatrician’s guide to your children’s health and safety.  http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/parenting_tips/discipline/index.html

Caring for victims,

Laurel Hall

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