The fine line

What is emotional abuse?

Constantly belittling, threatening or ignoring children can be as damaging to their mental health as physical or sexual abuse, according to a new report from a pediatricians’ group. But, with no bruises to spot, pediatricians, teachers and family members may have trouble recognizing these and other forms of psychological abuse. Not only are there no obvious physical scars, there is no universally agreed-upon definition of what constitutes psychological maltreatment of children, and a fine line can exist between not-so-great parenting and outright abuse.*

And therein lies the real problem. Children that are victims of sexual abuse generally show recognizable symptoms, and can be treated accordingly. But there are more types of emotional abuse, aren’t there?

Although the visible signs of emotional abuse in children can be difficult to detect, the hidden scars of this type of abuse manifest in numerous behavioral ways, including insecurity, poor self-esteem,destructive behavior, angry acts (such as fire setting and animal cruelty), withdrawal, poor development of basic skills, alcohol or drug abuse, suicide, difficulty forming relationships and unstable job histories.

Emotionally abused children often grow up thinking that they are deficient in some way. A continuing tragedy of emotional abuse is that, when these children become parents, they may continue the cycle with their own children. *

Some parents who are emotionally abusive parents practice forms of child-rearing that are orientated towards fulfilling their own needs and goals, rather than those of their children. Their parenting style may be characterized by overt aggression towards their children, including shouting and intimidation, or they may manipulate their children using more subtle means, such as emotional blackmail.*
But what about other forms of mistreatment?

For example, is it emotional abuse to expose a child (a girl, for example, as young as 4, maybe 5, certainly 6) to sexualized situations? I don’t necessarily mean that mommy or daddy physically abuse a child, or even make/allow a child to watch. But, for example, if mommy is into male strippers, would it be considered abusive to show a child pictures of strippers, to describe their physical attributes, such as a V-line (and lord only knows what else)? Is it appropriate to buy a child that young posters of strippers and gush over how sexy they are?

While we’re on the subject of guys, is it appropriate for a mom to force the same child to conform to the style and personality of every new guy that comes along?
Is it appropriate for a mother to move a guy into a child’s home after only knowing him for a week?
Is it appropriate to force a child to call a new guy “Daddy” rather than allowing that paternal relationship to develop naturally?

And on a completely unrelated note, are there helmet laws in Texas?
Hmm. Seems there are. According to Texas Transportation Code, Title 7, subtitle G, Chapter 661 it looks like anybody 20 and under must wear a helmet on a motorcycle.

So, any parent that lets a child of oh, say, 6 or 7 ride around on a motorcycle without a helmet isn’t just a piss poor parent, they’re also breaking the law, aren’t they?

Man I feel bad for any kid subjected to parents like this.


4 thoughts on “The fine line

  1. The first time I ever rode with my family on a motorcycle, my uncle said ” I don’t care what state you are in, or what the rules are, if I catch you without a helmet you won’t have to worry about a wreck”. I am now 45 and when I see people riding without a helmet or the proper riding gear I cringe.

    I have seen so many friends lay their rides down, and the damage that has happened just out of a hey watch this moment, or just simple carelessness. Not paying attention or drivers in vehicles not caring. And these are adults. Children are different, they will do whatever the parent wants. They don’t know of traffic rules.

    It is up to the parent to protect and show the young child the rules. No matter how “cute” it may seem, if you don’t teach your child how to be safe they never will be. If you don’t show the proper concern for your child, they will begin to think that they are not worthy of your love.

    This applies not only in vehicle safety but in all aspects of the young child’s development. It is beyond wrong to want to manipulate your child for your own selfish gain. Yes children at times change their persona to gain acceptance. This should never be encouraged. If you encourage or support this type of behavior you are essentially saying that the child in question is not good enough.

    I get it that children want acceptance, that many emulate the people they want to be closer to. But if you are basically forcing a child to become something that is foreign to them, in my humble opinion that is abuse. What I mean by that is this, if your child likes books instead of being a cheerleader, but you as a child had wanted to be one, then you belittle or deny love to your child to get them to be what you never were, well abuse.

    If you are with a new “love” and are trying desperately to seal the deal, and you make or “convince” the child to be like the new “love” to assist in your deception, abuse. If your child likes chasing lightening bugs, but the new “love” doesn’t think it is ladylike and you stop the child from doing what it likes to conform, yep abuse. Children are an extension of you not your pawn or puppet.

    The worse thing I have seen is parents who want to be friends with their children instead of the guiding force they need to be productive. Yes there is a time when you and your adult child can be friends but not at the pinnacle stages of development. Children need structure, encouragement, and the proper form of correction. For any parent who ignores the basic skills and rules of parenting is a selfish, self-centered, egotistical piece of crap.

    These types of people are not deserving of children. I believe that most of these people either had the child because they seen a way to gain sympathy, monetary gain, or a way to manipulate people to get things or gifts. These children usually have issues in schools, problems making and keeping friends, some even have eating disorders. And those are the more obvious signs.

    Some of these poor children survive the parent and move on and do great things. The others just get swallowed up in the mayhem. These unfortunate souls have legal issues, drug addictions, or abuse alcohol to cover the pain. I feel bad for these children. It breaks my heart to know that parents are so selfish that they don’t care about the child but only what having the child means for them.


  2. I just wanted to add that it’s usually the awful parents that crow about hoe great they are – case in point, Casey Anthony.

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