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Child Emotional Abuse and the Family

  • By: Geraldine S. Pearson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Emotional abuse of children is defined as a form of child maltreatment that causes psychological harm. In this type of abuse, children receive the repeated message, either verbal or nonverbal, from a family member in a position of power, that they are worthless, unloved, unwanted, or bad. Emotional abuse is willfully causing a child to suffer through verbally negative comments and rejecting behavior. Emotional abuse frequently occurs within the context of other types of abuse, including neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Emotional abuse has existed throughout history, as long as humans have come together in family units.

More specifically, emotional abuse is defined as nonphysical mistreatment and can involve screaming, yelling, name calling, and being subjected to extreme hostility of negativity. Some define child emotional ...

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