Emotional Abuse In Kids: Are You Aware Of What Can Cause Them?
Herbert Ward once said, ‘Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime’. It certainly does. No amount of meds or therapy can ever erase the painful memories of child abuse. Find out more about the least obvious type - emotional abuse.
In 2005, the most recent year for which the U.S. government has figures, 12.1 of every 1,000 American children, almost 900,000 in all, suffered abuse by adults, with parents of victims accounting for almost 80 percent of the abusers.
Documented research has shown that many paedophiles and sex offenders were once sexually abused as children. How does abuse happen? When the struggle of power is created between adult and child. Violence breeds violence.
If you strike a child to highlight your authority over the child, chances are the child would want to create a similar situation and showcase his strength by striking one of his friend or picking on a younger kid.
What counts as emotional abuse?
Abuse is abuse, regardless of what form it takes. But then what about emotional abuse? The psychological effects that may grow out of such an abuse is aplenty. A man in Eastern Europe was reported to have committed suicide due to the emotional abuse he faced in his workplace. If an adult is unable to handle such an abuse, what more children?
Emotional abuse is not just hurling verbal abuse at your child. Such an abuse actually comes in many forms; Teasing, judging, mocking or diminishing a child’s feelings are just some forms. However emotional abuse can also branch out to even an even greater extent.
Types of emotional abuse
1. Withholding love and affection
This is a serious form of emotional abuse that parents tend to commit unconsciously. It doesn’t matter how busy you are or how tired you are from your day at work, whatever the reason, do not ignore your child.
Touch is important between a child and his parent. And we’re talking about positive touching here. Hug your child more. Tickle your child, cuddle him and just bring out the old affectionate teddy bear that you are. The ability to feel a parent’s love through these actions provides your child with security.
2. Isolating your child
Isolation is terrorising and can create a form oh hysteria in a child. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre comes to mind here in the scene where Jane Eyre is locked away in the ‘Red Room’ by her aunt who wants to punish her for throwing a book at her cousin. Jane eventually believes she sees her dead uncle while locked away in the room, faints and awakens with a dangerously high fever. You may wave your hand and dismiss it as just a fictional work. But the Victorians were very much aware that isolation could bring about hysteria, more so in a child.
Start of emotional abuse
Psychiatrists have seen a pattern in most patients that children who were locked away in closets as children are bound to suffer from dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder as it is commonly known, as a form of escaping the situation they are stuck in. Most parents believe that locking the child in for even ten minutes in a small area would curb the child of any ‘naughtiness’ that he may possess. However, even being locked away, be it in a small area or big, isolation can create an imagination that provides security under false pretenses.
Effects of emotional abuse
Emotional abuse will create many effects in the child. The following have been the common effects seen in emotionally abused children.
- Low self-esteem
- Depression and anxiety
- Issues relating to aggression or anger
- Difficulties in maintain a stable relationship
Eliminate emotional abuse!
Do not hinder your child’s emotional development with emotional abuse. The scars of emotional abuse may not be visible but they are nonetheless still there. If you can’t develop your child emotionally, at least don’t do anything that will make that development spiral in an extremely negative manner.