Emotional Maltreatment

Emotional Neglect:

Emotional neglect is a chronic failure by the caretaker to provide the child with the support and affection necessary to develop a sound and healthy personality. When a child is emotionally neglected, he or she is being hurt by what is not there.


Emotional neglect may include:


  •     Habitual lack of attention, affection, emotional support or supervision
  •     Refusal of treatment or services recommended by school or medical personnel
  •     Punishing indiscriminately without teaching right from wrong
  •     No "family time" for shared social experiences such as meals, discussions about feelings or family outings
  •     Showing no interest in a child's schoolwork, grades, hobbies or friends
  •     Lack of supervision with no established expectations for behavior


Emotional Abuse:

Emotional abuse is a chronic attitude or act of a caretaker that is detrimental to the child's development of a sound and healthy personality. Emotional abuse is often expressed in verbal abuse, making a child feel that he or she is worthless and unworthy of attention and love.


Emotional abuse may include:


  •     Verbal threats of bodily harm
  •     Mis-socialization of a child into harmful behaviors such as lying or stealing
  •     Demeaning a child with comments such as "you're stupid," "you're no good," "you're ugly," or "I hate you"


Effects of Emotional Maltreatment


  •     Low self esteem
  •     Difficulty in forming positive relationships
  •     Defiant behavior
  •     Inability to trust
  •     Poorly developed ability to empathize with others
  •     Apathy
  •     Elimination disorders
  •     Speech disorders
  •     Eating disorders
  •     Derives pleasure from hurting others
  •     Suicide attempts


What Can We Do To Prevent Emotional Maltreatment?


  •     Teach parents and caregivers to set limits, communicate directions and provide structure for children and youth with loving, rather than hurting, words.
  •     Tell children and youth that they are special, important, lovable, likeable and talented.
  •     Provide support and education to parents and caregivers who are adult supervisors of maltreatment to help break the cycle of abuse.




Copyright © 2011 Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, A Division of The Villages. 


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