How to Help a Child Who Experienced Emotional Abuse
By: Dilini Dharmawardana, AMFT
According to Prevent Child Abuse America, Emotional abuse of a child “may be the most damaging form(s) of maltreatment” (Prevent child abuse America, 2018). Children want to be seen and heard. Emotional abuse can involve ignoring a child, verbally criticizing them, calling them names, and pressuring them. Oftentimes, children remember the words and the time that a parent or caregiver spends with them over the gifts they are given. Whether you are a teacher, parent, caregiver, or someone who spends time with children, knowing the ways that you can make a difference is important!
We all go through life at fast pace and sometimes we do not stop to look around and pay attention to what’s around us. Paying attention to a child in your life can make the world of difference in the child’s future. Even though you may be a busy caregiver or special person in a child’s life, paying attention to them and acknowledging that they are important to you can help them feel special. So, carve out some time during your day to talk to these children during the day. Be that adult who they can count on in their day-to-day world because you never know who they have supporting them in their life.
Children who have experienced emotional abuse often tend to experience low self-esteem. Providing this child in your life with love, positivity, and praise can make all the impact in the world. When you provide a child with continued praise, you will notice their faces light up and they will look forward to seeing you. Even a child who has not experienced emotional abuse would benefit from praise, positivity, and love. So, take the time to positive to and about your child because you never know when your child may be listening.
If you and your partner are getting divorced, sometimes you just want to vent to someone about your partner’s bad traits, habits, or behaviors. But, no matter how stressful or upsetting your divorce is, the impact on your child will be greatly lessened if you refrain from talking about each other in a negative manner around your child. Your child’s other parent is also a part of your child and when you denigrate them, your child will feel as though they are also bad. If you need to vent during the process of a divorce, talk to your friend while your child is not around or find yourself a therapist of your own. So, no matter how much you may dislike your child’s other parent, try your best not to use your child as the venting tool.
Emotional abuse takes many forms and many people do not realize the detrimental impact that it has on a child, but it does have a negative impact. If you want your child to grow up to be a healthy and strong individual, pay attention to them, praise them, and refrain from speaking negatively about your child’s other parent. Your child may thank you in the long run for pushing them to be the best person they can be!
Child Emotional Abuse. (n.d.). Retrieved March 12, 2018, from http:// preventchildabuse.org/resource/preventing-emotional-abuse/