Verbal & Emotional Abuse
Verbal and emotional abuse is by far the most prevalent type of child abuse. (As society has become more intolerant of physical abuse, it’s pushed much of this displaced adult aggression in to verbal and emotional realms.) It also happens to be the most destructive, with studies showing that verbal & emotional abuse generally cause more serious and longer lasting problems than either physical or sexual abuse. (See our book: Child Maltreatment - A Cross Comparison.) The tongue can deliver lashings just as devastating as any beating, and words have the power to instantly change our moods and completely alter the way we think about ourselves.
Verbal abuse is so widespread that every child will be exposed at some point in their lives, whether from parents, peers, or teachers and other caregivers. When it is limited in duration, and when kids have other sources of love and support in their lives, most will endure it without any lasting scars. But when verbal abuse is ongoing, as is typically the case when children must cope with a verbally abusive parent, it trashes a child’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth more than any other type of child abuse. The resources listed below will help you understand the problem and intervene in ways that will help verbally or emotionally abused children.