Subtle Forms of Child Abuse
If many of us are asked today if you believe you were abused as a child, the answer would be a resounding no. When we hear the term “Child Abuse” we picture children being left to starve with no food or water, children being forced to work and earn a living for themselves or most popularly a child being beaten up almost every day. While all of these do constitute to child abuse, there are other subtler forms that hit just as hard, maybe even harder than a blow to the head or an empty stomach. A lot of people have been abused in their early years and do not even realize it because of how complex it was and often times because these forms of abuse are felt rather than seen, they may be overlooked.
Emotional abuse is a form of physiological maltreatment and many parents or caregivers are guilty of emotionally abusing their children without even realizing it. Children are very perceptive and they pick up on moods quickly so imagine how a child who notices their Mom or Dad is always in a bad mood when they are around them would feel. They often feel as though they are the cause of their problems because as far as they know, they hate being with them. This can lead to self-loathing, a lack of confidence and harmful behaviors like acting out on self-harm.
Examples of emotional abuse to children include insults, using hurtful words or humiliation especially when they make mistakes. Not showing love to your child, restricting their movements and need to socialize and make friends or setting very high expectations as you try to live your own dreams through them are also forms of abuse. You might think you are toughening them up but in reality, you are only setting them up for a future filled with self-doubt and timidity.
Apart from neglecting to provide their physical needs, neglecting a child’s social and emotional needs also constitutes to child abuse. Things like failing to take a child to doctors appointments, making sure they are interested in school and helping with homework, and giving them much needed moral guidance when they start to feel lost or as they struggle to find their place in the world. Some parents are so busy trying to make ends meet they often neglect their children in the process as they feel putting food on the table should be enough. However neglecting your child can make them aggressive, stunt the development of their social skills and make them repress their emotions as they grow older.
As parents and caregivers, it’s important to do our best to raise the children in our care the right way. Give them as much physical and emotional care and support as you can and if you feel you lack the resources or mental capacity to do so, do not be ashamed to contact social services or child welfare organizations. They are well equipped to take care of children and find better homes for them where they will receive all the care they need. If you realize you have been abused as a child, it’s important to seek professional help and talk to a therapist so you can overcome the things holding you back and learn to live the kind life you deserve to have.Download a free song