Parental Maltreatment Of Children :
Except in very extreme cases, such as severe physical abuse, the vast majority of parental mistreatment of children not only goes unreported, but is unacknowledged and, essentially, ignored (although this situation is gradually improving as people become more educated about the potentially devastating effects of bad parenting).
Emotional Abuse :
In particular, emotional abuse can be very subtle yet profoundly insidious and damaging (more so, even, than physical or sexual abuse) and very frequently goes ‘under the radar’.
Examples Of Unacknowledged/Ignored Parental Maltreatment Of Children :
- the ‘silent treatment’: I have previously published an article about this, entitled: Childhood Trauma: The Silent Treatment – click here if you would like to read it).
- seriously disrupting the child’s ability to maintain around him/her a stable set of friends / social support network. For example, frequent moving to different geographical locations; this is especially true if the child is shy and introverted and takes a long time to form friendships and/or is ‘wrenched away’ from others upon whom s/he is strongly emotionally dependent.
- exploiting the child by using him/her as a ‘weapon’ or a ‘pawn’ in a divorce/separation from a partner. To read my previously published article about this, entitled : Divorce: Signs That Children Are Being Used As ‘Pawns’ Or ‘Weapons,’ click here.
- Putting a child on inappropriate medication in order to ‘manage’ behaviour. To read a related previously published article entitled: ‘Childhood Trauma And ADHD: Is PTSD Being Misdiagnosed As ADHD?’, click here.
- Giving a child an ultimatum. For example, my own mother used to say to me: ‘If you do not behave yourself, I will throw you out of this house and you’ll have to go and live with your father!’ This was no idle threat. She did just that soon after my thirteenth birthday (furthermore, on my thirteenth birthday she had ignored me and given me the ‘silent treatment’ – see first on this list, above).
- Teasing and mocking the child in a manner that amounts to emotional bullying. To read my previously published article relating to this, entitled, ‘Humor’: How Parents May Use It To Emotionally Wound Their Child, click here. Alternatively, you may wish to read my other related article: Being Constantly Humiliated By Parents May Damage Brain’s Corpus Callosum.
- Putting the child in what is known as a DOUBLE BIND – this is a conflicting and self-contradicting message that inevitably places the child in a ‘no-win‘ situation. To read my previously published article entitled: Emotional Torture? : When Parents Put Their Kids In A Psychological Double-Bind.
- Exploiting the child by using him/her as an emotional carer when s/he does not have the developmental maturity to cope with such a role. To read my previously published article entitled,‘Were You The Emotional Caretaker Of A Parent As A Child?’, click here.
The above list, of course, is not exhaustive.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).