What is an Emotional Abuse | How to identify Child Emotional Abuse & your role to stop it. - India Parenting Tips - To deal with common parenting issues

Friday, June 22, 2018

What is an Emotional Abuse | How to identify Child Emotional Abuse & your role to stop it.

With so many talks and discussions about emotional abuse it has become a common term these days and sometimes taken for granted like a dumping place for all psychological and negative behaviors. Therefore it is very important to know what actually Emotional abuse is so that we can identify and understand as a parent if our child is emotionally abused or not.

Points to be discussed:
  1. What is not Emotional Abuse?
  2. What is Emotional Abuse?
  3. What is Child Emotional Abuse?
  4. Some examples of Emotional Abuse. 
  5. How can you identify Emotional Abuse in a child? 
  6. Consequences of Emotional Abuse. 
  7. Your Role in stopping Emotional Abuse.

What is not Emotional Abuse? 

Before we start talking about what is emotional abuse let us first know what not emotional abuse is. If your partner ditches you, it is not emotional abuse. If you are cheated by your spouse it is not emotional abuse. Now coming more closely to our center of focus, our kids – If the teacher scolds a child it is not emotional abuse. But, if the teacher screams at you hysterically using filthy verbatim to demean and disrespect your child that is definitely emotional abuse.

What is Emotional Abuse?

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Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is a deliberate attempt to control another person’s emotions and thought just the same way people try to stop and control others physically and hurt them like hitting, pinching, pushing, etc. The difference is that while a physical abuser does all these hateful activities in the form of physical actions, the emotional abuser uses the weapon of strong emotions to hurt and play with other’s feelings.

Mostly a victim of emotional abuse does not realize that he or she is emotionally abused. It is so subtle that it goes deep under the skin and the person feels extremely difficult to survive without realizing that he or she might need help.

Some common traits of emotional abuse are as follows:

  1. Constant criticisms 
  2. Accusations and blame  
  3. Suspicious and Sceptical about everything 
  4. Use of language to belittle someone with taunts and sarcasm 
  5. Verbal abuse-yelling out bad names 
  6. Playing mind games 
  7. Isolating someone socially
Example: Lata constantly and regularly criticises Mina, her daughter in law and feels that in doing that she would be able to control her. He herself is in-secured that if Maya becomes the apple of the eyes to her husband then she might lose control of the house and more importantly her son. So what she plans is to keep attacking Mina emotionally by using strong verbal negative remarks, belittling her in front of the family and her husband, accusing her and blaming her for whatever wrong happening around. She mocks her by the way she looks; the way she walks, her cooking, dressing and in every way. She talks with her friends and neighbors and discusses Mina, thus isolating her from the society. This is a typical example of Emotional abuse amongst adults. The same is true for children.

What is Child Emotional Abuse?

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What is an Emotional Abuse | How to identify Child Emotional Abuse & your role to stop it?

Wounds and marks on the body can be easily identified and dealt with proper actions. Mostly it goes away with time. However, wounds of the heart are neither noticeable and nor temporary. It leaves some deep long lasting injury which takes years to fade away.

Emotional abuse of a child means to injure a child emotionally by using emotions as weapons of hurt and attack. It involves insulting the child, mocking and belittling the child, constant neglect and ignorant behavior towards the child, using hateful languages and calling out bad names in public to shame the child and many more. Sometimes emotional abuse is also backed by physical and even sexual abuse.

To understand more about emotional abuse in children let us learn from common examples and situations that occur in the modern family. 
  1. Father is a workaholic, very busy, stressed and is always in a bad mood yelling out every night to take out his frustration.
  2. The child is exposed to violence in the house. 
  3. Mother is a social butterfly and spends all her time in either party when out and in Facebook, WhatsApp and twitter when at home. 
  4. Grandparents think he or she is useless and constantly compares the child with other children. 
  5. The caretaker is frustrated and continuously screams out at the children. 
  6. The elder brother is busy in his own world and has no time for siblings. 
  7. Parents separated and try to brainwash the child to hate the other parent. 
  8. Teacher ridicules the child at school and makes fun when the child struggles in class.

How can you identify Emotional Abuse in a child?

Emotional abuse is very difficult to identify since often it takes places in the safest haven for the child, at home. Some other places might be school, playground and public places which are not much common. It is the behavior of the child which is the greatest tool to understand and analyze if he or she is a victim of emotional abuse

Here are some yardsticks of measuring Emotional Abuse for children:
  1. A dramatic change of behavior. A silent and reserved child suddenly becomes nagging and clingy. A talkative girl suddenly becomes very reticent and close.
  2. Sudden fall in grades and school performance.
  3. A frequent headache, loose stools, and stomach aches.
  4. Change in food habit. Either loss of appetite or stress eating known as Emotional eating.
  5. Behavior showing Social apathy.
  6. Lack of self-confidence and self-esteem.
  7. Symptoms of Stress.
  8. Depression.
  9. Anxiety disorders.
An emotional abusive child will never come up to you to disclose what he or she feels. It is because he or she is made to realize that it is what is meant to be and it is okay to be treated that way. Many times the child might feel threatened that if he or she complains against the caregiver or teacher or any other family members he or she could face worst consequences.

Consequences of Emotional Abuse

Just like physical abuse has dire consequences of long-lasting effects, in the same way, emotional abuse leaves a strong mark on the character and personality of the child.

Some of the potential threats followed by emotional abuse of children are as follows:
  1. The child shows the repeated behavior of Abuse. A person once a victim of abuse often repeats the same cycle and becomes an abuser himself or herself when he or she grows up to be an adult.
  2. Higher Risk of Mental disorders and psychological attacks.
  3. Problems in handling and maintaining normal healthy relationships.
  4. Social alienation and discomfort.
  5. Increased aggressive behavior.
Since the consequences of Emotional Abuse are severe and long-lasting, it is very important for us as parents to be very alert and vigilant when it comes to our children emotional health, needs, and development.

Your Role in stopping Emotional Abuse

Whether you are a parent, well-wisher or teacher, you have a role to play to stop emotional abuse in children. The least you can do is to help stop the emotional abuses that you see around.

Here are some tips:
First, ensure the safety and security of the child. Make him feel comfortable and relaxed.
If you think your child has been emotionally abused by people outside the family like a teacher or domestic help, take appropriate actions quick to stop it in one go and take legal help if required.

If your child is emotionally abused by any of the family members, make sure you talk it out clearly and make them aware of the serious consequences on the child. Ensure all possible care that it does not get repeated and the child does not get humiliated again.

If your child is abused by you or your partner make sure you visit a psychological counselor and discuss the issue to get all possible help so that things don’t get repeated and the child is safe.

Create awareness amongst people around, your close relatives, extended family members, and friends and give a good presentation on Emotional abuse. This would make you socially responsible. Other children would also learn about this issue and make be saved from being abused.

I have shared my thoughts on this critical issue of Emotional Abuse of children. Let me know your thoughts!

Happy Parenting!


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