Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 3

By David B. Jacoby; Robert M. Youngson | Go to book overview

Child abuse

Questions and Answers

I know my neighbor beats her son.
I’ve seen terrible bruises on his face
and arms. Whom should I contact?

A doctor or social worker will
give practical help, and no one
will know that it was you who
contacted him or her. It would be
better if you could offer some
help yourself. Ask if you could
look after the little boy; invite the
mother in for coffee and get her
to chat. Your friendship could
make a lot of difference.

Will my child be taken away from
me if it’s discovered I’ve beaten her?

If you cooperate with the people
who want to help you, and you
manage to control your urges,
then there is no danger that your
child will be taken away. It is only
as a last resort that children are
placed in a foster home.

My husband has beaten our baby
once or twice. Does he need help?

Yes, he does. To ignore his beating
or to cover up for him can only be
bad for the baby. Persuade him to
see a doctor, who will refer him to
someone who can help.

Sometimes I get really mad at my
son. Will I end up beating him?

If you haven’t done so before, the
answer is probably no. Most
abused babies are beaten in the
first year of their life, and if you
have managed to control your
feelings so far, then you should be
safe both now and in the future.

Can slapping develop into beating?

Physical violence to a child is
never justified. If you find your
child is driving you to distraction,
get professional advice. Casual
slapping can become a habit and
can cross the line into child abuse.

Parents who abuse their children are likely to have suffered cruelty in
childhood themselves, so they are emotionally damaged. How can they be
helped—and what are the signs that a child is being abused?

“Child abuse” is a term used to describe the nonaccidental physical (including sexual) abuse of children by one or both parents or another adult, even though the children may be in all other respects well cared for and loved. Injuries can range from relatively minor to so serious that children die. Emotional abuse, in which children are taunted or told that they are not loved, or made to suffer mentally in other ways, often accompanies physical abuse, and the scars left from this can linger long after the body has healed.


Causes

Every parent has experienced helpless frustration in response to the nonstop crying of an infant who cannot be calmed. Most parents find that “something” stops them from hitting their child, but the lack of this internal psychological brake leads other parents to beat their children—not just once, but a number of times.

It is believed that as many as 20 percent of women experience difficulty in learning to become a mother. A small percentage of these go on to abuse their children, and the cause of this can be found far back in their own childhood.

Some child abusers of both sexes were beaten or sexually molested themselves as children, some are aggressive types with a pattern of physical violence in all their relationships, and others fall into neither group. Almost all were deprived of good parental care when they were children, so that they never learned to give and receive love and did not have a successful parent to model themselves on when the time came for them to raise their own children.

In 2000 the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System recorded approximately
1,200 deaths related to child abuse and neglect. More than 3 million children were
reported as victims of child abuse and neglect, and 879,000 cases of child maltreatment
were identified; of these 63 percent were neglected, 19 percent were physically abused,
10 percent were sexually abused, and 8 percent were psychologically maltreated
.

-351-

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Encyclopedia of Family Health - Vol. 3
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Bronchitis 294
  • Brucellosis 297
  • Bruises 298
  • Bunions 299
  • Burn Center 301
  • Burns 303
  • Burping 306
  • Bursitis 307
  • Calcium 310
  • Cancer 312
  • Capillaries 318
  • Cardiac Massage 320
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 322
  • Cartilage 324
  • Cataracts 326
  • Celiac Disease 329
  • Cells and Chromosomes 330
  • Cellular Telephones 333
  • Cerebral Palsy 335
  • Cervix and Cervical Smears 337
  • Cesarean Birth 340
  • Chat Room 343
  • Chelation Therapy 345
  • Chest 347
  • Chicken Pox 349
  • Child Abuse 351
  • Child Development 354
  • Chinese Medicine 358
  • Chiropractic 362
  • Cholera 365
  • Cholesterol 366
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling 367
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 369
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 370
  • Circulatory System 372
  • Circumcision 374
  • Cirrhosis 375
  • Cleft Palate 376
  • Cloning 377
  • Clubfoot 379
  • Cocaine and Crack 380
  • Cold Sores 382
  • Colon and Colitis 383
  • Colonic Irrigation 384
  • Colonoscopy 386
  • Color Blindness 388
  • Color Therapy 390
  • Colostomy 392
  • Coma 394
  • Common Cold 396
  • Complexes and Compulsions 397
  • Conception 399
  • Congenital Disorders 401
  • Conjunctivitis 403
  • Constipation 404
  • Contact Lenses 406
  • Contraception 407
  • Convalescence 412
  • Convulsions 413
  • Coordination 414
  • Cornea 416
  • Corns 417
  • Coronary Arteries and Thrombosis 419
  • Cosmetics 422
  • Cosmetic Surgery 424
  • Coughing 426
  • Cough Syrup 427
  • Counseling 428
  • Index 431
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