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Behavioral Problems to Look Out For in Children After Going Through Abuse

03 Behavior

A child’s behavior is a visible representation of inner stability and security. Behavioral problems are disruptive behaviors in children that can result in problems in school, at home, and in social situations.


Physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse and sexual abuse are all types that damage children and can cause long-term difficulties with behavior and mental health development.


From 2017 to date, we have received 24,639 calls on the Cece Yara Foundation child helpline, and 1,272 cases of child physical, emotional and sexual abuse were reported. When children go through any form of these abuses, below are behavioral problems that might indicate an urgent need for psychotherapy:

  • Changes in the way affection are shown by the child, especially if unusual or inappropriate.
  • The child suddenly fears being touched.
  • Unexpected onset of nightmares experience.
  • Sudden changes in the child’s sleeping patterns or difficulty sleeping.
  • Unforeseen regression to childlike behaviors (bed-wetting, thumb-sucking), especially for a child who has grown past the stage.
  • Surprising, unusual interest in or knowledge of sexual matters (including excessive masturbation).
  • Abrupt cruelty to animals.
  • Unanticipated fear of a person or place.
  • Specific phobias, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or mood swings.
  • It could also be any unexplained changes in the child’s behavior.


A victim of child abuse often suffers from more than one type of abuse, which altogether may lead to psychological problems, such as low self-esteem, which could later lead to high-risk behaviors, such as substance use, inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, criminal activity, and other defiant behavior.

By: Nihinlola Olowe, M.Ed. Counseling Psychology | Child Psychologist at THE CECE YARA FOUNDATION.