DON’T LEAVE ME ALONE –
I’m too little & scared!
PREVIOUS: Abuse of Children (Part 2)
SITE: “When Parents are too Toxic to Tolerate” (NY Times)
Some Patterns of Child-Abuse (cont.)
DEF: “A type of maltreatment which is failure by the caregiver to provide needed, age-appropriate care, although financially able to do so or offered financial or other means to do so” (NCANDS, 2007)…. an ongoing pattern of inadequate care by parent by not providing all the fundamental needs of a child (physical health care, supervision, nutrition, emotional nurturing, education, safe housing…..) to such a degree that a child’s health and safety are endangered. It is the most common form of abuse seen by anyone outside the family who is in close contact with the child, and will have long-term effects (4 types)
• Neglect can be the result of parents abusing drugs & alcohol, being physically incapable, depressed, hospitalized… but more often it’s because they don’t want to be bothered with the many PMES needs of the child. They may provide only the Physical basics (food, clothing, shelter) but NOT Emotional (love, nurturing…), the Mental (communicating, teaching, general conversation, what to expect…) or Spiritual needs (moral & spiritual teaching….) See: “7 Spiritual needs”
Neglected children often don’t want to leave school, are constantly tired, depressed & feel like they don’t belong anywhere. IGNORING children deprives them of all the essential stimulation and interaction necessary for emotional, intellectual and social development.
DEF: Overly-firm or restrictive, where parents intrude into the child’s activities without regard to their emotional state, needs or current activity. Tend to be motivated more by parent’s own personal needs or wishes than a realistic need to monitor or control the child’s actions.
Inappropriate control takes several forms –
Lack of control – not proving guidance, information, attention & boundaries for the child. Puts a child at risk for causing danger or harm to self & robs them of the knowledge handed down generationally. Can cause disobedience, fighting or being withdrawn & socially phobic
Over control – Robs children of opportunities for self-assertion and self-development by preventing them from exploring the world around them. Authoritarian parents (“it’s my way or the highway”) are more likely to raise disrespectful, delinquent children who do not see them as legitimate authority figures. Causes shyness & fear.
Over-protection – stunts a child’s growth as a person and prevents them from learning to successfully deal with fear & life stresses. Makes the child unable to trust their own abilities because they were never tested. Severely overprotected children eventually have a hard time going out into the world to finding a spouse, job or place to live since they are not used to having to do things on their own.
Inconsistent control – (see previous post) can cause anxiety, depression, inconsistent self-esteem & mental confusion in children, and can lead to a variety of inappropriate behaviors & impair intellectual development.
DEF: The absence or significant withdrawal of warmth, affection, care, comfort, concern, nurturance, support, or love by parents by a variety of physically and psychologically hurtful behaviors and emotional reactions (disgust, anger, disappointment…). A negating caretaker destroys the child’s self-image, indicating they have no value.
• Children who are rejected from the start by their caretakers develop a range of disturbed self-soothing behaviors. Rejected infants have very little chance of developing into a healthy adult. Rejection can be indirect (lack of emotional support, encouragement, feedback…) or direct (“I never wanted children in the first place”).
Putting-down a child or youth’s needs, worth &/or actions by:
• constant criticism – nothing is never good enough
• frequent teasing about child’s body type or weight
• exclude child from family activities or expel child from family
• express regret the child wasn’t born the opposite sex
• regular verbal humiliation, name-calling & belittling: demeaning jokes, labels such as stupid, selfish, ugly, worthless, over-sensitive, geek ….
• not allow youth to make own reasonable choices
• physical abandonment, deny child’s existence
• refuse hugs and loving gestures
• treat an adolescent like she/he is still a young child
• yell, swear at or verbally attack the child
FACT: The most insidious of the types of emotional abuse. A U.S. study that randomly assigned ‘rejection experiences’ to students found them to dramatically reduce people’s IQ & their ability to reason, while increasing their aggression (Baumeister, 20021).
DEF: continually terrify a child/youth by threats & other intimidation, including any form of exposure to violence in the home, such as locking child in closet, in their room, in basement…(especially for long periods), OR lock C. out of the house, especially when quite young….
ALSO: make extreme verbal threats TO:
— abandon them (send them away or leave them behind)
— harm or destroy a favorite object or pet
— give them a beating – later (then forget)
— reveal intensely embarrassing traits to peers or other adults
— kick adolescent out of the house
FACT: A 1995 phone survey that identified types of emotional abuse showed that by the time a child was 2 years old, 90% of families had used one or more forms of psychological aggression in the previous 12 months (Straus, 2000).
NEXT: Victimizing ourselves (# 1)