Emotional Abuse In Children

Children will almost always expect their parents to show them love and care and as much as the world assumes that all parents love their kids it is simply not the case. 

What may appear on the surface is just that, a surface. What is underneath it all is not always visible to the world. 

More so in India there seems to be a lack of understanding not only among adults but also with the kids that parents do show toxic traits which affects kids on so many different levels. The kids who go through it find it all the more difficult to cope up as they mature because their peer group (who didn’t have to go through such things) cannot understand or simply refuse to accept the reality that not all parents are the same so they shrug off the notion that someone’s parent has put them through some tough times.

Hurtful words can leave a lasting impression on kids and have a deep psychological  impact on kids. Here are some signs to look out for or to avoid doing when you become a parent.

One of the most toxic traits of parents is when they say hurtful wishes like “I wish you were never born”, “I wish I had a different child”, “I wish I would be dead instead of dealing with you” etc. Such wishes have a lasting impact on kids that become so deep rooted that they always question their worth.

Questioning your child’s behavior with disgust all the time. Why do you eat that way? Why do you laugh that way? Is that how you should be walking? and so on. This makes the child question their actions all the time and thereby never feeling that they are doing something right. They are always conscious about their actions.

Threatening to abandon your kids every time they make a mistake ends up making kids believe that everyone around them will leave them or disappear on them. Threatening to drop them off in boarding school or to throw them out of the house for things as simple as mistakes made in their homework will make kids feel cautious about their simplest of actions. Kids will start questioning their actions as they grow up, believing that the ones close to them will leave if they don’t do exactly what others expect of them.

Always criticizing their appearance, you’re too thin, too fat, too tall, too short, too dark etc etc. Criticizing their physical features every now and then can lead to self image issues and never feeling confident in their own skin. Never feeling that they are physically good enough to be accepted as they are.

Making kids feel like they are a burden. You are a financial burden, You are exhausting to take care of, You are not worth spending time with. These are examples of how parents make their child feel like they are a burden and can even push them to inflict self harm or even have suicidal thoughts.

Lack of love, affection, materialistic things can make a child lean towards being abusive or even stealing.

Comparing with other kids all the time is like making them feel like they are not worth it. Eventually the child will start to believe that nothing they do is ever good enough, that they will never be good enough.

Dampening their spirits by always questioning them about their requests thereby reducing their confidence to try something new. When parents always ask doubtful question every time the child shows interests in something new, They may eventually start feeling scared to try something new that they truly wish to, thinking that they don’t deserve to have what they want.

Constantly making empty promises feels like a betrayal, breaks trust. When parents keeps making promises that are never fulfilled or gives empty hopes to their kids it creates a distrust in the child towards everyone around them. Disconnects them from people and they always feel like everyone is going to somehow cheat them or break their trust. Parents often end up saying “We’ll do it tomorrow”, “I will buy you that next time”, “We can have that next time” etc.

Beating your kids every now and then can cause fear, anxiety, depression and even create an abusive streak in kids. Make them violent. This sentence is as clear as it can be. Parents being physically violent to their kids can cause serious emotional trauma. I know this comes under physical abuse but it had to be mentioned.

Parents can be emotionally unavailable to kids and they may not even know it. Plenty of parents do just enough for their kids because they feel a parental obligation. This way they don’t feel guilty of not actually being there for their kids and it keeps them safe from other people who might point fingers at them. Their actions in such cases do not reflect on how much they Love and care for their kids. It is simply a selfish move so that no one blames them and they get to say that they did whatever they could. 

If kids go through such things in the formative years itself then there is very high possibility of them growing up to have a number of emotional problems that can hamper basic day to day functioning.

It is difficult when your home is the reason for your depression. Who do you turn to if the ones that are supposed to care and nurture you are the one who cause you pain in the name of “I care for you my child, that’s why I do what I do”

Some parents may not even know what damage is being done by their actions so if you ever happen to come across such signs then reach out. Kids deserve a safe environment, they deserve to be loved and nurtured.

6 thoughts on “Emotional Abuse In Children

  1. True words! Saying hurtful things to kids in their growing years have terrible impacts on them . Your article touches a very important aspect of the society.Well written Bhushan !


  2. Words which are needed to make people realise what they thought is good upbringing is it’s actually not. Every parent and going to be parent must read. Well written Bhushan


  3. Well written Bhushan. Very comprehensive in terms of various types of known and unknown abuse, including passive aggressive methods which may not only confuse the child but make him Replicate the same behaviour. We would love that you cover more on this subject, guiding parents how not to get into this toxic behaviour of emotional abuse of their children


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