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Child Abuse: What it is and Your Responsibilities 
by Mary M. Alward August 16, 2005

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse occurs when an adult infects intentional injury upon a child even if it isn’t intended. Some examples of this type of child abuse include:

  • Kicking, pushing, shoving, shaking or throwing a child.

  • Choking, biting, pulling a child’s hair or pinching a child.

  • Beating, hitting, whipping, punching or slapping.

  • Burning with any hot object such as, boiling water or a cigarette.

  • Severe spanking or physical punishment. Physical abuse stems from aggression on the part of the adult. There is a difference between corporal punishment and physical abuse; though any type of corporal punishment is illegal in some places.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is the act by any person with a child in their care that interferes with the child’s mental health or well being, as well as their social development. Emotional abuse is also referred to as mental abuse, psychological abuse and/or verbal abuse. Emotional abuse ranges from verbal insult to extreme verbal abuse. Some examples include:

  • Threatening a child or frightening him in any way.

  • Yelling, screaming or swearing at a child.

  • Lack of hugging and other physical affection.

  • Rejection, withdrawal of attention or ignoring a child.

  • Lack of praise and assuring the child that he is loved.

  • Comparing a child to others in a negative way.

  • Telling a child that they are worthless, bad, no good, or were conceived accidentally.

  • Shaming and/or humiliating a child.

  • Calling the child derogatory names.

  • Continually blaming a child for acts he didn’t commit.

  • Using any extreme punishment such as tying the child to a chair or locking him in a closet.

  • Terrorizing a child.

  • Parental abduction.

  • Forcible confinement.

If a child suffers any type of abuse, he also suffers from emotional abuse. Children have no way of protecting themselves from adults, which puts them under a lot of stress.

Other types of emotional abuse includes bullying or teasing by siblings, peers, teachers, school bullies, athletic coaches, parents and caregivers, or any adult who has authority over a child.

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