Do you have a 3-year-old child at a daycare? Perhaps you have entrusted your child’s safety to a close relative? Maybe a Nanny?
If your a working parent, and have no choice but to hand over the care of your precious loved one to someone else, please educate yourselves on the following consequences of possible abuse.
I can assure you that once you read these things, caution will get the best of your judgement, and you will take various precautions to ensure that child is in the hands of a stable caregiver.
Let’s cut to the chase, here are 5 long-term conditions that your kid will have to live with after enduring abuse at an early age (4 years or younger).
1. Psychological Consequences
Put yourself in the tiny shoes of an abused child; severe physical abuse, neglect, a complete loss of trust in your caretaker, these are all things that contribute to a life-long roller-coaster of fear, anxiety and depression.
Let’s get in those shoes and delve into the various psychological dysfunctions of an individual who had experienced early childhood maltreatment.
As I mentioned, mental and emotional instability is not uncommon in adults and adolescents who have been abused. This includes; to name a few, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Depersonalization Disorder, and in the most severe cases, Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Following traumatic maltreatment, it’s only understandable that the abused child will have unhealthy, even destructive relationships with other people. The child is likely to experience tremendously low self-esteem and unpredictable emotions.
Many of these abused victims engage in risky behavior as they get older; even more unsettling, they have a tendency to harm themselves by means of cutting and abusing drugs and alcohol at an early age. If the child does not receive treatment after the abuse and he stumbles upon borderline personality disorder, there is a 10% chance that he/she will commit suicide.
This is of course due to a catastrophic relationship with his/her caregiver at a very early age; beatings, neglect, sexual assaults and constant humiliation will do that to a child.
As the child ages, the abuse that took place will incline him to feelings of shame, loss of interest, sadness, feelings of worthlessness and suicidal thoughts.
As a child who is 5 years of age or less, regular beatings and sexual encounters will manifest a natural tendency to be pessimistic, even though the adult or adolescent is not acknowledging the abuse that he experienced at that age.
Any kind of persistent trauma will result in on-going depression during that period, to the point where you don’t know anything else but negativity; this is especially true for a child of development age.
Without a doubt in my mind, a young child who is abused regularly becomes accustomed to panic attacks and severe stress.
This is understandable; just imaging yourself as a 3 year old child getting beaten and threatened by some demented cu**, anxiety would be a natural part of life.
Depersonalization disorder is when an individual feels detached from his/her surroundings; the person feels like he’s is in a movie.
Aside from statistical studies, it is obvious that when a small child is the victim of severe abuse, he will repress those memories; this means that he will blackout the bulk of the trauma that he had incurred.
Such a blackout is the mind’s way of coping with severe stress, and it is not free of consequence; one such consequence is the maliciously numb feeling that those with depersonalization disorder are tormented by. When your mind suppresses a traumatic event, it will naturally detach you from all of your surroundings.
This is by far the most severe psychological consequence, and one that is incredibly rare. Dissociative Identity Disorder is a debilitating condition whereas the individual who suffers it has ‘multiple personalities’; for example, one minute he can be a grown a$$ man, and then out of nowhere be convinced he’s one of the Olsen Twins. All in the while he ‘loses time’ and cannot recall events from one personality to the other.
An abused child may manifest an alter ego; or a different identity, as a means to escape from the trauma at hand. The victim of maltreatment may also develop a personality that can deal with such repulsive events ‘more smoothly’.
2. Behavioral Consequences
All that anger built up after the abuse took place could make a kid go haywire. Trauma causes pain, and pain causes a child to act out.
Among the most serious forms of self-destruction includes juvenile delinquency, alcohol and substance abuse, and abusive behavior. Let’s delve into each one of them, and discuss their correlations to early childhood abuse.
Some would say that anger and resentment incurred by early abuse leads a child to become juvenile; nowadays, most researchers disagree.
What really happens following the harrowing events of severe childhood abuse is a sense of detachment from one’s surroundings; the victim has an uncontrollable urge to act out and commit petty crimes as a means to get that ‘dose’ of adrenaline. Adrenaline helps the teenager ‘feel something’; in other words, it fills that numb hole that was concocted as a defense mechanism.
Alcohol and substance abuse is very common for adolescents who have experienced early childhood abuse.
Distressing fear and anxiety; coupled with depression and feelings of shame, will tempt a teenager to take on heavy drinking and sedative abuse. This is a means to cope with the past trauma; those teenagers do not want to confront what they had been through, and will take risky-measures to numb themselves from the pain that is buried inside them.
A mistreated child who grows up to be a bully does so for one of 3 reasons;
- to inflict his pain on others.
- he feels weak and wants to compensate for it by hurting others.
- he’s convinced that it’s ‘normal behavior’.
A teenager who is haunted by suppressed visions of severe abuse will surely feel indescribable pain; most of the time he will abuse others in that fit of rage. As we all know anger leads to aggressive behavior.
On the other hand, a teenager who had been made to feel inadequate at the hands of his abusive caretaker would feel ‘ big and powerful’ for abusing his peers at school; this will give him that sense of control.
Finally, an adolescent who bullies his fellow classmates may be indifferent to the fact that what he’s doing is wrong; being severely abused during his years of early development, he may harbor the idea that there is nothing wrong with violence and hostility.
3. Societal Consequences
Maltreatment triggers fear in a child; this fear may result in the child being anti-social for the rest of his life.
Such societal consequences include social anxiety, emotional detachment and in the worst scenario; albeit very rare, sociopath. Let’s delve into each of these ramifications.
It is without a doubt in my mind that an adolescent who had been maltreated as a child is condemned to feel anxious around other people, especially in large groups.
Think with this perspective in mind; you receive constant beatings as a small child; thereafter, you manifest a complete loss of trust towards people in general. To make a long story short, you feel ‘panicky’ around everyone.
Similar to Depersonalization, emotional detachment is when you numb yourself; only difference is, you have difficulty feeling any emotions towards other people, including loved ones.
For example, an adult who had been abused as a child may have very low sex drive towards his or her companion. You may also appear to be insensitive towards your friends and family members.
Now don’t panic! If you have a teenager who had been abused as a small child it does not in any way imply that he/she will be a psychopath; however, in extremely severe abuse cases, the child may grow up to show symptoms of a textbook psychopath.
In these rare cases, a teenager may exhibit social behavior that goes beyond emotional detachment. This is probably because the victimized child is completely oblivious to the differences between right and wrong, due in part because of what he ‘learned’ at the hands of his malicious caretaker.
This rare social ramification may also be a case of severe emotional detachment, to the point where the ‘now grown up’ victim simply acts out in the most heinous ways.
4. Physical Health Consequences
“28% of early childhood abuse victims have a chronic health condition” – According to NSCAW researchers
To no surprise, abuse can result in damage to the child’s physical health. There are two forms of physical damage than can conjure from child abuse; immediate physical damage and long-term physical damage.
We will only go into the long-term consequences; the 3 long-term physical ramifications of child abuse is abusive head trauma, impaired brain development, and more generally poor physical health.
Abusive Head Trauma
This is the most severe form of long-term physical strain to a victim of child abuse; there have been cases where a child died of brain damage at the hands of his/her caretaker.
But most of the time, a child experiences debilitating long-term brain damage as a result of Shaken Baby Syndrome; this is brain damage a child endures after being severely shaken by his/her caregiver at an early age.
Like this for example.
As heartbreaking as it is to accept, a child’s brain development is very sensitive at ages 3 or younger; therefore, if that child is the victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome, he/she may experience long-term syndromes that can be as severe as autism.
Impaired Brain Development
Physical abuse to a small child does not always result in brain damage, but that does NOT mean the victim will be free of impaired brain development. This can of course put the child at a significant disadvantage to his ‘non-victim’ peers at school; the once abused child will find himself/herself struggling with school work.
Here are just a few cognitive development issues that could manifest from early childhood abuse:
1. Persistent Fear Response
Understandably so, any kind of severe trauma can lead to intense fear and anxiety; this fear and anxiety leads to difficulty in learning as well as ‘weak’ memory – According to Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
Now don’t freak out if you have a child that was abused; your child CAN and WILL succeed as much as the next guy. However, he will have a more difficult time completing school work and memorizing things for exams at least until a certain age.
Hyper-arousal is said to be the primary reason for this fear-induced learning disability; children who were once abused will concoct a threat out of a non-threatening situation, in this case the classroom.
2. Diminished Executive Functioning
To make it as simple as I possibly can, Executive Functioning consists of 3 things; Memory, Controlling Thoughts and Impulses, and Mentally Adopting to Different Situations.
Child maltreatment leads to structural and chemical changes in areas of the brain involved with Executive Functioning – According to The National Scientific Council On The Developing Child
This is a ‘non-anxiety’ related burden on the child’s learning abilities; he/she may have difficulty remembering instructional material, adopting to new topics in class, and paying attention in school.
With the right therapy, these issues can be avoided, but that is beyond the topic of this article.
3. Delayed Development Milestones
This brain development issue is purely a ramification of child neglect; a caretaker that does not pay attention to the child is obviously not teaching the child anything.
If you have entrusted the care of your child to a relative, and that relative neglects the child, that child will not be motivated or encouraged to learn anything during that phase.
Babies constantly need to hear someone talking, in order for their minds to pick up on the words that are spoken, that eventually results in the baby ushering his first words. This process is delayed if your baby’s caretaker pays more attention to her iPhone than she does to the presence of that child.
The same principle applies with walking, potty training, instincts and many more cognitive functions.
Poor Physical Health
This one is purely a result of statistics, but their are no actual facts to back it up.
Let’s delve into some of the studies showing that abused children have shown a greater rate of various physical health conditions.
Abused Children Are More Likely To Develop Diabetes Later On
Statistics have shown that adults who have been the victims of early childhood maltreatment have shown greater rates of diabetes.
There is no tangible evidence to prove this, but personally I think that an adult who had been abused as a child is more likely to intake a lot of sugar because it gives him some kind of ‘high’.
Abused Children Are More Likely To Develop Poorly Functioning Lungs
Statistical evidence suggests that adolescents who have been abused during early childhood are more likely to suffer poor from lung functioning.
Again, no tangible evidence of any kind; however, I strongly believe that the anxiety incurred during an abusive childhood leads to asthma attacks later in life.
In addition to this, who is more likely to smoke cigarettes?
A teenager with an abusive childhood?
Or a teenager with a ‘milk & cookies’ childhood?
No need to answer that..
Abused Children Are More Likely To Stumble Upon Obesity
Once again, statistics suggest that teenagers and adults who suffered abuse when they were little are more likely to have poor eating habits.
This is understandably obvious; considering that trauma leads to depression, and depression leads to uncontrollable eating.
Well there you have it folks. If you suspect that a daycare assistant or a nanny is mistreating your child, please don’t take the risk!
Speak to you’re child if you suspect something, and consider installing nanny cams Ask the other daycare assistants to keep an eye on your child.
Just remember, there are always treatments for past abuse 💪