While difficult to pinpoint, psychological abuse can be as damaging to a young child's physical, mental and emotional health as a slap, punch or kick, child abuse experts say. Health24 reports that an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) position statement on psychological maltreatment, appearing in the August issue of the journal Pediatrics, argues that it may be the most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse and neglect.
According to Dr Harriet MacMillan, one of three authors of the position statement, psychological abuse includes acts such as belittling, denigrating, terrorising, exploiting, being emotionally unresponsive, or corrupting a child to the point his/her well-being is at risk. "We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behaviour that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted," MacMillan said.
A parent raising their voice to a strident pitch after asking a child for the eighth time to put on their running shoes is not psychological abuse, MacMillan said. "But, yelling at a child every day and giving the message that the child is a terrible person, and that the parent regrets bringing the child into this world, is an example of a potentially very harmful form of interaction," Health24 reports.
Read the full article