Emotional abuse can have many different forms but mainly refers to the issues of social and psychological factors when it comes to child abuse. The ASCA cites it as one of the main factors in causing to harm to children that have suffered from abuse.
Parents can often be emotionally abusive with committing other types of abuse such as sexual abuse or violent abuse. Because of this emotional abuse can be more difficult to detect. However emotional abuse is commonly combined with either violent abuse or sexual abuse which can therefore be detected.
The emotional abuse can also be bundled as part of general domestic violence or family violence that is occurring in the home. Often the problems will begin with the adults in the family relationships and spread to affect the children. In some situations, it is possible that only the children could be affected by the situation.
The unfortunate outcomes of the emotion abuse experience are that the parents parenting style is focused on the parents’ own needs and goals rather than that of the children. The parents may become aggressive towards the children by yelling or trying to intimidate the children. The parents may also involve themselves in more covert strategies such as trying blackmail the children emotionally. Parents can also do harm by socializing their children improperly by encouraging them to commit acts that would be otherwise considered inappropriate or criminal by other members of society.
The emotional abuse doesn’t always occur at home with the parents. Children that face emotional abuse are typically targeted by anyone that is a position of power over them. The children can face issues with teachers at school or with other adults such as a relative or family friend.
Children can also face emotional abuse by other children. This is commonly called bullying and children may be victimized at school or outside of school. This behavior is just as harmful as emotional abuse by adults as it leads the children to experience the same outcomes of emotional abuse.
The Australian social agencies are just starting to become aware of the impacts of bullying on school age children and they are currently working in order to try to do more to combat the matter. In addition, bullying has also arisen as a issue that needs to be dealt with in the schools on an international level with other countries such as the United States stepping up awareness campaigns against bullying.
The children that are most likely to be emotionally abused include 6-8 year olds. In addition, an American survey reported that 25% of undergraduate students had reported emotional abuse by their parents. An additional 25% reported that they experienced emotional abuse due to bullying from others outside of the home.
Children who have experienced emotional abuse show signs of detachment, avoidance and difficulty relating to their peers. In additional, these individuals may also experiences delays with regards to development and ongoing trauma symptoms.