Signs of emotional abuse on kids

Emotional abuse, especially for children, is usually largely ignored not because the adults do not show concern but because of the limitations that child communication presents, and the tendency for many children not to be able to decipher what really constitutes abuse, especially as children tend to forgive and forget easily.

The relationship between children and their parents or guardians, sometimes bother on emotional abuse but because of the relative innocence of children, these relationships hit the rocks long before the children become mature and the consequences are far-reaching.
 Dr Christina Charbonneau, a certified coach, media personality and speaker, shares her thoughts on the effects of emotional abuse on children and how it affects future relationships.
“Emotional abuse is a type of child abuse that is subtler than the other types of abuse and less detectable, but sometimes it’s more dangerous than physical abuse. It can destroy a child’s sense of self. Parents with negative attitudes may say hurtful things to their children, or they may fail to give their full attention to their children. That does not make them bad parents, nor is it emotional abuse. However, when parents present a persistent pattern of negativity towards their child, that is emotional abuse.
“It can happen to any child. Emotional abuse is deceiving since it does not leave a physical scar. Many times, children are not able to express themselves, and the hurt they experience leaves them with low self-esteem—without words to say how much they have been hurt.”

Causes, effects and signs of emotional abuse
Some causes of emotional abuse, according to Charbonneau include: Parents who experienced abuse as children; parents who are under undue stress, whether it’s financial, health, relationship or work-related; unwanted pregnancies; parents who have a drug and/or alcohol addiction; mental illness or learning disabilities and poverty. She further notes the effects and signs of emotional abuse as stated below:
• Due to verbal assault, the child is left wounded mentally with the feelings of being belittled and ashamed. The child tires of people making fun of him or her, which leaves him or her feeling humiliated.
• If they experience this as a newborn during their first year of life, they may fail to thrive and even die if they do not receive the basic emotional nurturing they need.
• An older child can experience problems with low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, insecurities, withdrawal, anger, and problems with relationships as well as self-destructive behaviour (drugs/suicide).
• Kids may also experience trust issues, fears and phobias, sleep disorders, speech disorders, excessive crying, and avoidance of eye contact.
• They may detach from parents, friends and siblings.
• Emotionally abused kids learn to hide their feelings inside and can have trouble regulating their behaviours. Sometimes they can end up causing harm to themselves as they try to express themselves or experience unexplained anger.
• The worst tragedy is if these kids become parents one day. They may end up continuing the cycle of emotional abuse with their own children.

Providing lasting solutions
As Charbonneau notes, “There is no need to label or compare a child to someone else, especially to another sibling. Never call a child names.” Frequent compliments, discipline with explanation, allowing expressions, getting needed help to prevent one from perpetrating emotional abuse on children, are some of the ways one can help to curb the trend.
Also, apologising to a child is not a bad idea especially if necessary. It helps the child feel like a part of the family.
Emotional abuse becomes all the more worrisome because it leaves no physical signs and it becomes necessary for the parents to show positive support for victims of emotional abuse, to reduce the effects especially as they may last as long as a lifetime.

Source: tribuneonlineng

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