Healthy Relationships: How Abuse Affects Children - MumsVillage

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Healthy Relationships: How Abuse Affects Children

Last week, we had a Family Therapists/Clinical Counsellor speak to our Villagers about healthy relationships. The therapist, Jane Kuria answered some of the questions, offered expert advice on various topics and got to shed light on some of the issues that were raised in the WhatsApp chat. We are going to share the pieces of advice in a series of articles. In this article, we shed light on how abuse affects children.

Young children may not know they’re being abused or are going through a stressful time. They mostly ‘act it’ Here are the different ways in which children try to cope with the abuse.


  1. Attention Seeking Behaviours

They may have conduct issues. Disobedience, disrespectful, steal from others, poor hygiene. This could be a way of trying to get attention from the caregivers so they can be seen and get the help they need.


    2. Depression and Isolation

They are more likely to be depressed. Sad, lonely, don’t like hanging out with friends, they prefer to stay alone and are fearful.


  1. Anxiety

They become anxious. They keep worrying about their parents, siblings…what will happen to mom if dad keeps beating her? What if she dies? They may try to be ‘nice and very obedient’ in hopes that things will get better or as a way of keeping calm.


  1. They Become Insecure

They may develop attachment problems. They may struggle with insecurities, low self-esteem, low self-worth. May try to please everybody in the hopes that others will like them or become guarded/closed to prevent further hurt.


  1. Children May Turn To Drugs To Seek Solace

They may become substance abusers as a way of escaping from all the problems at home. They may engage in reckless sex and even engage in prostitution.


  1. Their Cognition is Affected Which Impacts Academic Performance.

Their cognition may be affected. The brain damage may be brought by the physical pain instilled on them from a young age. This may affect their academic performance.




It is important to know how your actions as parents impact your children. Although they may not show it, children understand and see almost everything parents try to ‘hide’ from them. Aim to create an environment where your children can thrive, express themselves and grow into responsible, self-aware young adults with a healthy mindset when it comes to relationships. This will give them a better advantage in life.


You may also like; How Can we Protect our Children from Sexual Abuse?

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