Child abuse can take many forms including physical abuse, sexual abuse and emotional abuse. While physical abuse and sexual abuse usually leave marks on a child’s body, emotional abuse is more insidious. Sometimes emotional abuse is described as an “invisible” abuse, one that must be overheard to know that it is really happening. Or is it? A variety of behavioural changes in a child can point towards emotional abuse, including the development of difficulties or disorders in a child’s speech.
Emotional abuse, sometimes also called psychological abuse, is estimated to make up approximately 10% of child abuse cases worldwide. Though this makes emotional abuse one of the most common forms of child abuse, it remains one of the least understood. A common definition of emotional abuse is that it is the systemic “tearing down” of another individual, though the means may be many. This “tearing down” is actually an injury to the child’s psyche, leaving him or her feeling worthless and either undeserving or incapable of being loved. Slow development and low self-esteem are often a result. Types of Emotional Abuse
There are five main types of emotional child abuse:
Rejecting occurs when a parent or other adult rejects the child by showing and/or telling him or her that (s)he is unloved and unwanted. Ignoring occurs when a parent or other adult refuses to acknowledge the child’s presence. Terrorising occurs when a parent or other adult picks out a child to punish for even minor or completely made-up infractions, including by telling the child that (s)he may die or be abandoned. Isolating occurs when a parent or other adult refuses to allow a child to socialise with peers, or even the rest of the family. Corrupting occurs when a parent or other adult allows (or forces) a child to engage in inappropriate behaviours such as drinking alcohol, using drugs, becoming involved in crime or watching sexual acts either in...