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Neglect and abuse
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Neglect and abuse

My four year old niece exhibits several of the indicators for neglect and abuse.  I have taken her for counseling.  The counselor informed my husband and I that Alexis is likely to have severe behavioral problems as she gets older.  Do you agree with this based on your experience?
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Dear Alexis,

There is no doubt that children who are victims of neglect or abuse are at risk for developing mental and emotional disorders, including those characterized by serious behavioral difficulties.

However, the likelihood of later difficulties depends on a number of factors. These include the extent and duration of the mistreatment, the degree of disruption occasioned in the child's day-to-day living circumstances, the provision of a stable and protected living situation once the mistreatment is addressed and availability of mental health intervention.

Victims of abuse or neglect can proceed to lead normal lives if help is available to them early on, both in relation to their living situation and in relation to professional assistance.
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