Fortunately, there are fewer and fewer of them, there are still parents who inflict physical punishment on their children to obey. This has led to the deaths of children at the hands of parents who, in anger, unload their physical strength on the person or persons they would have the responsibility to protect: the children.
It is regrettable that there are still people who advise:
That baby just needs a good spanking!
Legislation has been created in several countries to protect children and adolescents. Despite the protection in this area, child maltreatment is difficult to eradicate. Silence acts as an accomplice because in many places it is thought that the method of educating children is up to the parents themselves, whatever this method is. On the one hand, some people mistakenly believe that maltreatment consists exclusively in physical punishment, on the other hand we speak of maltreatment when there is negligence when it comes to meeting the needs of children : nutrition, rest, recreation, affection, safety, psychological support or attention to children. periods of illness.
We talk about mistreatment even when there is an emotional rejection expressed through shouts, insults, threats and humiliations. Not allowing close contact or friendship with other children means isolating them on a social level. This prevents the free development of their social skills.
Some parents are bothered by the idea of having to prepare meals, wash clothes and clean the house for their children. In these cases it is typical to run into alcoholic or drug addicted parents.
As mentioned earlier, the mistreatment is often not obvious. Many times it is so subtle that for example it can manifest itself in comparisons between siblings or with other children. Often these comparisons prevent the development of the sense of belonging to the family unit, decrease self-confidence and lead to a closure in oneself, or increase the desire to escape from reality.
Teachers can play an important role in observing and identifying changes in pupils’ behavior. This is due to the fact that on many occasions violent or aggressive behavior in children is the product of the mistreatment they suffer from an adult. Among the behaviors that allow us to identify possible child maltreatment we find:
- anger expressed through damage to objects and aggressive attitude towards companions;
- fear of one of the two parents;
- fear of water and going out into the yard. Any abnormal behavior that persists over time is cause for alarm;
- insomnia, the appearance of outdated childhood attitudes such as bedwetting, nightmares, loss of appetite, isolation, playing alone or aggressively;
- marks or bruises appear on the body for “unknown” causes. Scars on the earlobes.
It is terrible to hear these words come out of a mother’s mouth:
It just gives me problems!
What have I done to deserve this!
Even if I gave you a gift, they wouldn’t get you!
Child abuse is very difficult to hide because children are usually open books
It is likely that, although no marks remain on the children’s bodies, psychological traces remain of the abuse suffered. A child who grows up in a condition of abuse will likely develop low self-esteem, live in fear, have a perception of the world as a hostile place, it will be more difficult for them to trust people, and it is not uncommon for them to repeat the abuse on their children.
Every child and adolescent has the right to a life free from violence and to grow up in a safe environment. Although children need to impose limits on their behavior to live in society, the mistreatment to impose them on them is not justifiable. The hidden signs may show up later on.
Why are there parents who mistreat the people they are supposed to protect?
Many of the children abused yesterday are the abusers of today. However, others have managed to overcome their traumatic pain and channel energy to protect abused children. It must be considered that most of the parents who mistreat or beat their children do not want to do it, often they are the ones who describe the pain they feel after doing it. Many times parents, when they attack, are also attacking themselves and if they do it it is because they do not know another way to do it nor do they believe it exists.
Abusers usually use violence to enforce respect given their poor ability to set limits on children’s behavior. These adults forget that they are relating to children. They expect them to think and act like adults in their 20s or 30s. Excessive exigency often causes children to fail to meet their parents’ expectations, expectations that result in disappointment and frustration that are channeled incorrectly through child abuse.
On the other hand, some parents who are alcoholics, drug addicts or gamblers see their children as a burden and an obstacle to their addiction. In these cases, maltreatment usually occurs as a form of distraction from needs, as parents invest resources in their addictions that should be directed to the needs of children.