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Common Causes of Child Abuse

Shah is a freelance writer and research associate for health and wellness and parenting.

Child abuse generally includes mental, physical or sexual abuse. Millions of children are subjected to child abuse every year. There are many reasons why a child gets subjected to abuse. Parents and guardians are the common causes of abuse inflicted upon children but it can be caused by complete strangers too.

In this article, we are mainly going to target the common causes of child abuse and why grownups feel inclined to put their hands on innocent and unsuspecting children. There are many reasons why an adult abuses a child. They can be due to complicated, problematic and difficult lifestyles or they can be just simple reasons. We are going to list a few in the following lines.

Common Causes of Child Abuse

Common Causes of Child Abuse

Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.

— Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist

Mental Health Problems of Parents

Those parents that suffer from mental health problems are more likely to cause harm towards their children. Emotional and physical abuse can cause serious harmful effects on the kids. If a parent suffers from mental health problems, it can lead to abuse to their children too. Untreated mental illness can cause the child to suffer. In these cases, parents are not in the right state of mind to nurture their children in the right way.

Such children are often neglected. It causes improper development and growth of the youngster.

Growing up in an Abused Family

Those parents that have been a victim of child abuse itself are most likely to abuse their own offspring. This is due to the fact that they have seen parenting this way. They grew up in an abusive household and that is how they cope with their own families. This is one of the reasons a person suffers from child abuse.

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.”

— Stacia Tauscher, dancer and artist

Unrealistic Expectations of Parents

Many parents today have very high expectations for their offspring. They have increased expectations from their kids and when they fail to accomplish them, they may get subjected to child abuse. This is mainly due to high expectations from the children without understanding the caliber or interest of the child.

A teenager gets abused mentally if he or she is pressured into choosing a career path that doesn't interest them, or if they are burdened with other high expectations at a young age.

Common Causes of Child Abuse

Common Causes of Child Abuse

If Parent Use Drugs

Many parents may abuse their children under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Those parents that are addicted to drugs are most likely to abuse their children especially if children are too young. Under the influence of excessive alcohol or drugs, a parent can turn aggressive towards the members of the family or the children present in the house.

Usage of drugs and alcohol is harmful to the addict itself but under such kind of cases, it becomes harmful towards family members itself.

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“I ...understand how a parent might hit a child- it's because you can look into their eyes and see a reflection of yourself that you wish you hadn't.”

— Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper

Deprivation of Parental Love

If a parents remain busy, or working and not giving much time and love to the children, it may lead to serious physiological problems for the child. Parental love is very important for young kids and if they are withheld from it, it can cause adverse effects on the child.

In many cases of busy parents, the child is often neglected which causes difficulties in the upcoming years.

Lack of Child-Reading Skills

Many parents lack the basics of how to bring up their children which leads to neglect. Either they are not ready to bring up a child or they are just not concerned enough to learn the basics to give their children a better life.

Many turn towards physical abuse to discipline their children. This is the wrong way. Not only this causes physical harm to the child but this method also causes the child to not develop mentally in a proper way.



Poverty is another cause of child abuse. When the parents are immersed in problems themselves, they cannot take care of the child. Money problems play a huge role in child abuse. A child needs to be properly taken care of, which demands reasonable amount of money. When the parents are unable to fulfill these demands, they turn to neglect.

A child is not properly taken care of in this kind of situation. Mal nourishment, not having a proper and clean place to stay, lack of proper clothes etc, cause the child to suffer mentally and physically.

Parent's Marital Problems

Marital problems play an important role in child abuse, studies have shown that those children that have biological parents are less likely to get abused than those that have either divorced or separated parents. Those partners that have ongoing marital problems in their life affect the child in a negative way too. This causes the child to suffer mentally. Such parents are not the best caregiver for their children too.

These were some of the reasons why a child gets subjected to abuse. There are many other reasons which may cause mishandling of the children but they may be due to particular problems faced by the persons in the household.

It is crucial that we identify abused kids or people and help them in the best way that we can.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Maqsood Shah

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