Emotions & Shame

Doctors Warn of the Lasting Damage of Shame

A new report tells parents: Lighten up!

Wet branch and being stripped by shame
Wet branch and being stripped by shame

Parents need to make their children feel safe, secure and loved instead of belittled and degraded, according to newly released guidelines on emotional abuse in children.

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) identifies parents’ actions that may amount to psychological maltreatment of children, as well as the consequences of such actions.

According to the report, “The Psychological Maltreatment of Children,” psychological maltreatment is “a repeated pattern of damaging interactions between parent(s) and child that becomes typical of the relationship.” Psychological maltreatment makes a child feel worthless, unloved, endangered, or as if his or her only value is in meeting someone else’s needs.

Some examples include: belittling, degrading, or ridiculing a child; terrorizing a child by committing life-threatening acts or making him or her feel unsafe; exploiting or corrupting a child; failing to express affection, caring, and love; and neglecting mental health, medical or educational needs. When such behaviors are severe and/or repetitious, children may experience problems that include: emotional troubles ranging from low self-esteem to suicidal thoughts; antisocial behaviors; low academic achievement; and impaired physical health.

As negative effects on the child can be reduced with early recognition, reporting and therapy, the report says pediatricians should recognize psychological maltreatment and the risk factors that predispose families to it.

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  1. This article says pedestrians should look for, that is something a pedestrian will never see when these things are happening in a family. To see a pediatrician is not something that a parent with these traits will ever let a doctor see. The only people that could have intervened on my or my sisters behalf would have been our teachers. I personally never met a teacher who skied any questions beyond the usual that would have let me know they would or even could help. Being a child with undiagnosed ADHD I trusted no one, it would have taken someone with some kind of empathy to reach out, we suffered immensely at the hands of our parents, and we suffered a lifetime of emotional and physical pain because of it. Sometimes even now as an adult I still worry people do not believe me, I sound like I’m lying trying to assure someone I’m not.

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