According to a recent report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, psychological abuse can harm children well into their adult years and lead to emotional, developmental and psychological problems. Emotional abuse and neglect is one of the more common forms of child abuse. It is also very difficult to identify, and therefore, treat. The one factor in psychological abuse is that it is on-going. Belittling, ridiculing, humiliating, threatening, and neglecting to be nurturing are examples of psychological abuse.
The report says that “emotional or psychological abuse is a repeated pattern of behavior by a parent or caregiver that can be verbal or nonverbal, active or passive, intentional or unintentional, but is interpreted negatively by a child, and can result in developmental, social, emotional and academic problems.”
Abuse can occur in any home, however, the report notes that when parents are under a lot of stress such as job loss, depression, substance abuse or family conflict, children are more likely to be on the receiving end of psychological abuse. While it is difficult to pinpoint when a child is being abused, parents who are under a lot of stress should seek help, support, and guidance. And the AAP recommends “if anyone suspects psychological or emotional abuse, they should contact child protective services for additional assessment and treatment.”
Source: Pediatrics, August 2012