Common Symptoms of Emotionally Abused Children

Children exhibiting any of the following symptoms may be victims of emotional abuse. In some cases, children may have symptoms or conditions that are not abuse related. Accurate assessment and investigation are required to determine when children are being emotionally abused. Reporting concerns of child emotional abuse to appropriate agencies will initiate investigation by the relevant professionals to make such determinations.


  • children that cower or act  fearful in response response to parents or other caregivers
  • caregivers constantly berating, intimidating or threatening children
  • parents controlling the speech of children
  • caregivers blaming a child for things out of the child’s control
  • anxiousness
  • depresssed
  • frightened for no obvious reasons, feelings of shame and guilt
  • child has  difficutly trusting others
  • child is fearful
  • low empathy towards others
  • child is inappropriately aggressive, destructive or cruel to others
  • often says negative statements about himself/herself


Child protection workers receive specialized training to investigate and make determinations of child maltreatment.  If you observe children that you suspect are or have been neglected or abused, make a report to the appropriate humans services department or law enforcement.