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.