Why Psychologists Focus On The Dangers Of Childhood Abuse

When we discuss child protection, there is this goal of keeping the child’s overall health. That includes his emotional, physical, and mental aspects. As parents, it is our responsibility always to consider his development before anything else. Thus, there is proper parenting. There is a need for support, care, understanding, and love. However, parenting is not perfect, and it will never be one. Sometimes, as adults, we do things that we think are okay for a kid, but are genuinely not. There is this mentality that because we are the “parents,” we have the right to control a young individual in inconsiderable ways. But that is wrong. It will never become a point to validate how harsh we can be to our child. That explains why a lot of psychologists want us to recognize what types of danger are there in abusing a child.

Childhood abuse develops into a life-long mental and emotional issue. It strengthens the child’s negative traits such as insecurities and self-doubt. It also leads to intimacy and relationship problems too later in his life. According to Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD,  “For children that have suffered from abuse, it can be complex getting to the root of childhood trauma in order to alleviate later symptoms as adults.” Depending on the severity of any kinds of childhood abuse, it can cause the kid to suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression as well.

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Verbal Abuse

Name-calling or any other types of verbal abuse is typical to some of us parents. That is because we believe that words don’t hurt at all. We think that spitting out those words are reasonable to our current emotional outburst.  We are confident that our kid will forget about it eventually. But the truth is, words mean a lot to a child. It severely hurts his feelings and changes his perception of life. Aside from the emotional damage the verbal abuse can do, it affects the mental state as well. It increases the child’s potential for developing a personality disorder. That is because verbal abuse negatively alters brain development.

Physical Abuse

Any harmful activity that causes our kid to feel pain in his body is physical abuse. Kicking, biting, slapping, hitting, choking, and throwing are only to name a few. These unfavorable actions that most of us often do to our kid develop scars, bruises, cuts, and broken bones. In some unfortunate instances, these physical abuses cause death, depending on how hard parents would beat him. Some parents would say that these actions are appropriate in punishing a kid when he makes a mistake. However, most experts don’t support the idea of hurting a child physically. They believe that it will not help a child understand a lesson. Instead, physical punishment will only result in emotional and mental damage.

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Shaming a child for doing something that most of us parents think is wrong is abusive behavior. Psychologists explain it as something we inflict only to gain control towards our kid. For some of us, it is a significant practice because it makes a child listen and pay more attention. Thus, shaming supports some parents in getting what they want. However, its consistency in parenting creates an unpleasant outcome. Our kid loses trust and confidence towards other people. With shame, he will fear to do something without approval. He becomes dependent on instructions and is often anxious about his decisions in life. As he grows up, our child becomes more hesitant in developing social connections due to the fear of betrayal.

Helicopter Parenting

The practice of helicopter parenting is so overbearing that we do not allow a child to have any say even on minor details on his life. Yes, it is understandable that most of us only want to regularly check-in on our special one. However, the negative behavior deprives the kid of having a healthy boundary. Helicopter parenting pushes our child to progress mental scars. With that, he becomes susceptible to psychological illnesses. These include different cases of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, sleep problems, PTSD, and phobias. If trauma is repeated, for instance, as in chronic physical or sexual abuse, then the disorder might persist more than it would after only one incident. Repetition has a cumulative effect, as unresolved trauma is layered upon unresolved trauma,” says  Natalie D’Annibale, PsyD, LMFT. In some unfortunate cases, our helicopter parenting even pushes a child to self-harm and encourages suicidal thoughts.

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When a child gets neglected with proper understanding, love, and care, he instantly experiences many problems in both current and later life. We can expect him to develop emotional, psychological, physical, and social underdevelopment. As parents, it is essential that we know how our ways of parenting can avoid childhood abuses. According  to Tanya J. Peterson, a certified mental health counselor, “Childhood abuse, especially child sexual abuse, increases the likelihood of PTSD in adulthood. Childhood abuse is physically and emotionally damaging, and it disrupts the healthy development of the child. This can make someone vulnerable to future abusive relationships and further exacerbate PTSD.”

How To Comfort An Abused Child

Finding out that someone has been physically, emotionally or verbally abused can be disheartening and frustrating all at the same time. It sucks to discover that someone has the propensity to cause harm to another, especially when who is involved in the situation is a young individual. Can you imagine a child being beaten by his parents? Did you encounter a scenario where a nanny or baby sitter abuses a toddler? Have you heard in the news how adults can be brutal to some children, particularly those who are psychopaths? When not handled properly, all these things can cause stress and anxiety on your part. No matter how hard you try to let it go, you will still end up feeling sad for the abused victim. Many people who suffer from sexual abuse or sexual assault can also suffer long-term effects from the abuse. These effects may include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), overwhelming anxiety, panic attacks, and being afraid of going outside or in places that remind the person of the abuse.” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.


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In this article, our primary focus would be on the proper ways on how an adult like you can comfort a child who has been abused by another adult. Before anything else, you have to understand that this task is quite complicated because the victim is more likely going to avoid you at all costs. This child may fear for his life or that of his loved ones, which is why he would make an effort to stay away from you. Instead of giving up directly, it is best to keep on trying in reaching out to the said person. Do not stop just because he says so.

Here are some of the other tips and tricks that you must always remember if you want to help or comfort an abused kid:


Offer A Lending Hand

The first or initial step that you must do is to inform the child involved that you are willing to provide assistance or support. Let him know that he can always call upon you whenever he needs help. According to Fiona Smith, “It may be a difficult issue to face, but it is much harder for the victims – especially those not receiving the help they need.” Keep in mind that this person is not going to say yes immediately to your offer, which is why it is crucial to be patient and understanding during the process. Do not insist on helping him to the point that he would run away from you for good. A better way of doing this is to merely inform him that you are by his side no matter what happens.


Be A Good Listener

The moment the abused individual finds solace in your company, he will start to open up about his problems and issues. Start by having a discussion with your child about how important it is to trust one’s own inner voice, or conscience. Continue asking your child how they feel about certain experiences. This act will help your child learn that to look inside is an important aspect of life.” says Sharie Stines, PsyD. The ideal thing to do is to listen carefully to what he is going to share. Do not interrupt him when he is talking. Let him lead the conversation until he stops. By becoming a good listener, you are helping the other person to process his thoughts and emotions. As he talks about his frustrations and pains, he will start to understand his situation. Somehow, it can motivate him to find all possible ways to stop the cycle of violence. He would be inspired to stand up against the abuser and take the necessary steps to ensure that the abuse will never happen again.


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Call The Authorities

Another way of comforting the child is to initiate the process of connecting with the proper government agencies who can look into the abuse that the said individual has suffered. Take note that there are several laws of the state that are intended to protect and uphold the rights of the children. No one is supposed to hamper on the rights of the children just because they are underprivileged. Do not hesitate to fast track the process, especially if you can see that the offender has become extremely dangerous.


Seek Professional Help

If you want to help an abused child overcome a traumatic experience, it is suggested to seek professional help from the right therapist. All you need to do is to find the best counselor or therapist in your local community who can assist the victim of the abuse. However, before doing this, it is best if you would talk to the child first about the consequences of attending therapy sessions. Remember that you can never compel him to try therapy if he is not comfortable in doing it. Learn how to respect his decision.

As an adult, you must ensure that all children around you live a happy and normal life. If something goes wrong, feel free to go over the items mentioned above.


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Anxiety Disorders: Even Kids And Teens Can Suffer From It!

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What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is part of human nature. Now and then, people get upset, disappointed, frustrated and worried. Anxiety happens when a person becomes worried if things get out of hand or fall short of their expected outcome. This is perfectly normal, but when the worrying becomes too much that it affects your performance at school or at work, your ability to concentrate and your sleeping patterns, then, your anxiety is becoming a problem. According to Emily Guarnotta, PsyD, a licensed psychologist in New York, “Anxiety is too much worry or fear, so much that affects your emotional state, relationships, and ability to perform at work or school. Having some mild anxiety from time to time is normal, but anxiety can turn into a disorder when it reaches a point of interfering with your life.” The alarming point to this is that even kids and teens can suffer from it, not just adults.

Continue reading Anxiety Disorders: Even Kids And Teens Can Suffer From It!

How To Spot Sexual Predators?

As parents, we need to look for proactive measures that will prevent sexual predators from harming our kids. According to Lynda Savage, LMFT, “A sexual predator is not only the one who acts out sexual deeds. It is also the one who allows sexual stimulation to occupy thoughts and speech. Males and females can and do perpetrate these thoughts if not actions, which appear innocent toward each other.” There’s a need to educate ourselves on identifying the common characteristics of these offenders. We need to use it to secure our family from the danger that these individuals may bring. And because no technological advancement can separate these sexual predators from ordinary people, we need to know what makes them different from the others. If we want to keep them away from having involvement in our lives, we should learn what to look for so we can act accordingly.

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Characteristics Of A Sexual Offender

  • Sexual predators engage in repeated unnoticeable acts of physical contact with adolescents or young adults. Some examples of their actions are tickling or roughhousing. Though some people consider it normal at some point, it triggers a desire for these individuals.
  • An awkward physical contact with individuals that tend to go against their will becomes exciting for sexual predators. Inflicting humiliation and pain reflects their nonempathetic characteristic. They get excited by the idea of challenge in sexual contact.
  • Watching or participating acts of violence on a regular basis is one of sexual predators’ habit. They also like to watch others engaging in sexual activities secretly. Sometimes, even watching someone undressing becomes exhilarating for them as well. This practice is called voyeurism.
  • Sexual offenders take zero precautions when addressing public areas. Meaning, most of them enjoy being seen by others as they attempt to endanger or molest someone. They also find satisfaction in seeing images of people’s private parts. They find stimulation on the visual representation that somehow keeps them aroused.
  • These individuals lack empathy for their victims. Sexual offenders don’t see remorse on their actions and consider the practice valid for specific reasons. These include telling the victim they deserve the sexual abuse due to wearing revealing clothes.
  • Sexual offenders find happiness discussing sexual activities. They see it amusing when someone is sharing stories about sexual interactions.
  • Most sexual predators are likable. That is what makes them good at hiding their acts for so long. They are good at lying, manipulating, and convincing young adults to become part of their lives. According to Kathryn Brohl, LMFT, “The majority of sexual offenders know their victims.”
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Sexual predators know what they are doing because they have a focused mindset. They practice the art of grooming where they gain the trust of their victim or his or her family to be able to start a sexual relationship in secret. It goes to a process that allows predators to fulfill their devious desires.

Methods Used By Sexual Predators

Identifying Their Victims – Sexual predators pick their targets based on the preferred age and looks. Sometimes, it could be the victim’s vulnerable traits. In many instances, the fulfillment of the act is due to parents not being around, the target has low self-esteem, or just trying to use friendship as a stepping stone for building up a sexual relationship. There are many different ways and reasons to identify their victims.

Gaining Access And Trust – It is the most crucial part of identifying a sexual predator because no one can see it coming. Since people get easily attached to someone who is helpful and likable, they tend to give out trust. However, the problem lies in the process of how sex offenders see the advantage of the situation. They will try to do small things that seem typical in people’s relationship with others in a way to gain trust. It is not something that victims or their family notice right away.

Becoming An Important Person – One of the most convincing methods of sexual predators is being a significant person in the family. It makes them hold the situation in their hands because their participation becomes needed. They use it as an advantage not to lose sight of their target and genuinely create a bond to keep them around.

Start Isolating The Target – Most sexual predators invest in a tight relationship with the victims and their families. However, when it is the time to engage in the sexual act, they begin to isolate their target. Meaning, they find ways to set up scenarios where they can remove the people away from the child’s parameter. It is the most advantageous state because victims are vulnerable in that particular situation.

The Infliction Of Fear – Sexual offenders inflict fear on their victims. Sometimes, they threatened to harm young adults or maybe someone they love. It becomes a perfect way to control the target so they won’t be able to seek for help.

Sexualizing The Relationship – Even the smallest thing that contains any physical contact brings gratification to most sexual offenders. These include putting an arm in the victim’s shoulder, rubbing someone on their back, placing a hand on the knee, and linking arms while walking together. From there, the feeling grows and becomes a sexual desire that predators take that way. According to Licia Freeman, LMFT, “A sex predator can be a sex addict, but it does not mean that every sex predator is a sex addict.”

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It’s true that not everyone will go through the same stages of these acts because everyone’s process is going to be different with everybody else. However, as parents, we need to stay alert and cautious for our family and children’s sake.

How To Help An Abused Child

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There are several forms of abuse that a child may be subjected to. According to licensed psychotherapist Annie Wright, “Any kind of treatment that intentionally or unintentionally undermines and puts at risk a child’s health, welfare, or dignity is, in my professional opinion, a kind of abuse.” Each type may have a particular effect on the mental health of the person involved, which is why it is essential to be careful when dealing with a child who has a history of abuse. You must be mindful of all your actions and words so that you can avoid triggering some factors that can worsen the situation of the abused individual. At the same time, you must know how to act correctly to ensure that you can find ways on how to help the said unwilling victim.

In this article, we are going to provide you with a list of ideas on how to help a young individual who has already become a victim of emotional, physical or psychological abuse. Here are the guidelines to observe:

Be Sensitive

As early as this point, it is essential to emphasize the fact that you a child abuse victim can be easily offended, which is why you need to be extra careful in what you will do and say. Be sensitive enough to remember the child’s needs so that you can have a better understanding of what is happening. Never make any assumptions because you might get it wrong.

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Offer Guidance And Assistance

Make sure to assure the child that you are willing to support him in any way possible. Let him know that you are available for any discussion or conversation. Make the individual feel that you do not have any reservations or ill motives in extending your help. Remember that this person may not be trusted, which is you must exert more efforts to make them believe that you are a right person.

Avoid Asking Too Many Questions

Take note that the said child may suffer from a traumatic experience because of the abuse that he received from his parents or others. For this reason, it is imperative on your part to be patient in waiting for him to open up. Do not rush the child as it can trigger some hurtful memories to come back in his life. Never force him to speak up as it may lead to some other serious troubles. According to Fran Walfish, PsyD, “Kids who’ve been abused may become mute, or refuse to speak.”

Call Authorities

According to Catherine McCall, LMFT, “Taking that next step – reporting the abuse – frightens many people.” If you think that the guardians or the parents of a child continue to abuse him in any manner, be sure to get in touch with the proper authorities as soon as possible. Take note that you need to act fast to prevent any aggression or threat that may come from the abusive individual. If possible, you can already interfere as long as it is for the promotion of the welfare or well-being of the child.

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Dealing with an individual who has a rough past can be challenging. You need to take into consideration several factors to ensure that you will not say or do anything that can offend the child involved. Feel free to get help from some adults who might be willing to support an individual with no parents or relatives.

Stop Your Child’s Panic Attacks

As a parent, it’s so heartbreaking to see the amount of anxiety and stress that a child can experience, especially when it requires a panic attack. According to Shannon V. McHugh, PsyD, “Some people experience such significant amounts of worry or fear that they develop mental health conditions that can induce ‘panic attacks’.” A proper understanding of how to defuse that stress and anxiety is fundamental. There’s a complete sense of getting back to a place of calmness, and figuring out the actual underlying concerns about the situation to be able to move on.


Continue reading Stop Your Child’s Panic Attacks

Keeping The Faith According To A Therapist

It may be a shock to many, but yes, sexual exploitation by church workers actually happens. According to Linda K. Oxford, LMFT, “Many churches naively assume that their church is a safe haven where abuse and exploitation of vulnerable others would never take place. Until it does.” No matter how hard the church covers up for the wrong acts of their priests, ministers, and other workers, the truth will still find its way out.

There are many issues nowadays about church workers who sexually abuse kids, and often the abuse takes place right in the house of worship. “There are a lot of myths and misperceptions right now,” says Bill Mochon, PsyD, a Los Angeles psychologist who facilitates group sessions for priests. There has been news about these things in the past, but after a day or two, the reports would die down.

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But for a person who has heard it, and somehow believed it, how can he listen to a pastor or a parish priest’s message after hearing news about their dreadful sexual corruption of children? Plus the sad truth is that the higher-ups are covering these issues so not to ruin the image of the church.

This sexually abusing of children happens not only in the U.S. but around the world.  For some, justice has been delivered, but for many, they are still at loss as to what will happen to their cases.  What morality are we going to teach our kids especially those who are victims of abuse if justice will not be served to them?  Continue reading Keeping The Faith According To A Therapist

How To Respond When A Sexually Abused Child Opens Up To You According To Psychiatrist

According to Melissa Goldberg, PsyD, “Recent reports highlight the alarming prevalence of child sexual abuse.” It is hard for a sexually abused child to open up about her bad experience, whether to her parent, her sibling, or her friend.   There is fear that no one will believe her, especially if the perpetrator is manipulating her. According to Jessica Lang, LMFT, “The #1 reason children do not disclose ongoing sexual abuse is fear! They are afraid they wont be believed, that they or you will be harmed, or they will be blamed for the abuse.” Sometimes, she doesn’t want to create misunderstanding if the person who did the wrong thing to her is close to the family or a member of the family.

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It takes a lot of courage on the child’s part before she can really say something or even give a hint that something bad had happened or keeps on happening to her.

So as a parent, a grandparent, an aunt, or an older adult whom a child trusts enough to make her open up to you, you must be aware of how you should react.  Of course, it would be a shock, but still, you have to maintain your composure not to look judgmental, instead talk calmly and encouragingly so that she will be encouraged to speak with you more about it.  According to Fran Walfish, PsyD, “Kids who’ve been abused may become mute, or refuse to speak.” Continue reading How To Respond When A Sexually Abused Child Opens Up To You According To Psychiatrist

How Online Therapy Helps Heal The Pain Of Verbal Abuse In Children

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There are quite a number of passages in the Bible about how a parent-child relationship should be.  One is that a child should obey his parents for it is the right thing to do.  In fact, this is the first commandment with a promise added to it, a promise of a prosperous and long life.

But the passage doesn’t end there. In fact as I said earlier, it’s a relationship between the parents and child, so there’s also something for the parent to take note of, that they should not provoke their children.  Parents should avoid doing things that can make their children angry or provoke them to do more wrong deeds. Continue reading How Online Therapy Helps Heal The Pain Of Verbal Abuse In Children