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: “An ongoing pattern of inadequate care and/or type of mistreatment which is failure of the caregiver/ parent to provide needed, age-appropriate care, by not providing all the fundamental needs of a child (physical health care, supervision, nutrition, emotional nurturing, education, safe housing…..) even though financially able to do so” (NCANDS, 2007)…. to such a degree that a child’s health & safety are endangered.  (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 their children.
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 – to go home, are constantly tired, depressed & feel like they don’t belong anywhere.
IGNORING children deprives them of all the essential stimulation & interaction necessary for emotional, intellectual & 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 :

Over control – Robs children of opportunities for healthy self-assertion & self-development by preventing them from exploring the world around them.  Authoritarian parents (“My way or the highway”) are more likely to raise disrespectful, delinquent children who don’t see them as legitimate authority figures. Can also cause over-compliance, social anxiety & isolation.

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 Can cause disobedience, fighting or being withdrawn & socially phobic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-protection – stunts a child’s growth as a person, & 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 over-protected children eventually have a hard time going out into the world to finding a spouse, job or place to live, since they’re not used to having to do things on their own. May find a controlling mate to replace parents.

Inconsistent control – (see previous post) can cause anxiety, depression, inconsistent self-esteem & mental confusion in children, leading to a variety of inappropriate behaviors & impaired intellectual development.

DEF: The absence or withdrawal of warmth, affection, care, comfort, concern, nurturance, support, or love by parents – by a variety of physically and psychologically hurtful actions & emotional reactions (disgust, anger, disappointment…).  A negating caretaker destroys the child’s self-image, indicating it has no value as a human being.

• Children who are rejected from the start by their caretakers develop a range of disturbed self-soothing behaviors. Such 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’s/teen’s needs, worth & actions by:
• constant criticism – nothing is never good enough
• frequent teasing about child’s body type or weight
• excluding child from family activities or expel child from family
• expressing 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 allowing the teen to make own reasonable choices
• physical abandonment, deny child’s existence
• refusing hugs & other loving (non-sexual) gestures
• treating a teen like she/he is still a young child
• yell, swear at or verbally attacking the child

FACT:  Rejection is the most insidious of the various kinds of emotional abuse.  A U.S. study that randomly assigned ‘rejection experiences’ to students found them to dramatically reduce their IQ & so the ability to reason, while increasing their aggression (Baumeister: Rejection).

DEF: continually terrify a child/teen by threats & other intimidation, including any form of exposure to violence in the home, threatening to walk out forever…. locking child in closet, in their room, in basement…(for long periods),  OR lock child out of the house, especially when quite young,,,,,

ALSO:  make extreme verbal threats to / or actually do:
— abandon them (send them away or leave them behind)
— harm or destroy a favorite object or pet
— ‘promise’ to give a beating – later (but then forget)
— reveal intensely embarrassing traits to peers or other adults
— kick teen permanently out, disown them

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, Vol. 15).

NEXT: Victimizing ourselves (# 1)


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