Ease up: Psychological abuse may be damaging your child
“We need public awareness initiatives to help people understand just how harmful psychological maltreatment is for children and adolescents."
While it may not seem as cumbersome or severe as physical abuse, psychological abuse has proven to be equally damaging to a developing child. In fact, a recent study finds psychological abuse to a child can leave the same amount of damage, if not worse, because of the problems and trouble it takes to mend the metaphorical wounds.
Even though society has made leaps and bounds in regards to identifying and treating various mental conditions, it appears that we still lack the knowledge and foresight to prevent mental issues. Mental issues, like depression, are usually based on a chemical imbalance in the brain and are therefore established at birth. However, psychological abuse can also be at hand for the increase in children dealing with mental issues like depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts.
According to Dr. Joseph Spinazzola of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, it's easy to see why: “Psychological abuse isn't considered a serious social taboo like physical and sexual child abuse.”
Good point. Since over the top yelling and screaming is merely frowned upon instead of forbidden, some parents have found it to be a go-to in their parenting arsenal. But at what cost?
Find out the results to this study, and what damage you could be causing your child. Click next for more
Dr. Spinazzola, in an effort to prove how damaging psychological abuse is in comparison to physical, conducted a study to prove his point. He and his research team used data from a popular national registry on childhood abuse. They then analyzed cases from 5,616 youths with lifetime histories of one or more of three types of abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological abuse. Of the psychological varieties of abuse were neglect and emotional abuse.
62% of the youth in the study had endured a second or third form of abuse as well as psychological abuse. About 1/4 (roughly 24%) had suffered from only psychological abuse. Specifically, "bullying, terrorizing, coercive control, harsh insults, debasement, threats, overwhelming demands, shunning, and isolation," said researchers.
To the researchers surprise, the kids who had been psychologically abused suffered from mental illnesses as a result. Namely, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal thoughts. The youths comprising this group, more than any other form of abuse, showed signs of substance abuse, social attachment problems, and general anxiety disorder.
Dr. Spinazzola and his research team aim to bring light to psychological abuse. They believe that their findings can help bring mass media attention on the matter and raise awareness on the issue. “We need public awareness initiatives,” he said in a statement, “to help people understand just how harmful psychological maltreatment is for children and adolescents."
Are you causing your child irreversible damage by yelling at them? Probably not. However, if you consistently abuse them psychologically you could be causing them damage that will last well into their adult lives.
Parents: I implore you to reconsider your parenting methods. Try finding ways to reprimand your children in other ways! If you want to raise your children to be the best they can be, please think about their state of mind. We hope this article has inspired you to be the parent your child needs you to be.
Original article on Medical Daily.
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