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Know the signs: Mental Injury

Signs of Mental Injury in Children

Children may be considered mentally injured if:

  • They show emotional or behavioral problems related to the parent’s behavior
  • They are placed in the middle of disputes between their parents
  • They are subjected to extreme discipline
  • They are subjected to extreme confinement, such as being locked in a closet
  • The parent excessively controls their actions, which inhibits their growth and development
  • They are exposed to domestic violence, drugs, or criminal activity
  • The parent's ability to provide protection or supervision is limited (by substance abuse, mental illness, or other factors)

Mentally injured children may:

  • Have habits such as sucking, rocking, head-banging, or biting
  • Not like to be around people, even parents or guardians
  • Break things on purpose
  • Be too passive or too aggressive with others
  • Engage in criminal behavior such as stealing
  • Intentionally hurt animals
  • Attempt suicide
  • Seem cold or distant to other children or to adults
  • Become violently angry without warning
  • Choose to be alone
  • Be uncomfortable when someone shows them care or concerns
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