PREVIOUS: Abuse of Children (#2)
ABUSE STYLES (cont.)
7. INCONSISTENCY (Extreme &/or Persistent)
DEF: Parents not having a stable, dependable character, no rational standard of behavior, such as rules that are not consistent with actions. Frequently changing things so daily life is unpredictable.
a. Deliberate: (positive) Intentional inconsistency shows that a specific exception “proves the rule”. It let kids know in advance when something in their routine changes because of a special circumstance (illness, returning from vacation, moving, a death….).
While the child temporarily doesn’t have to follow the usual routine (chores, homework, practice, church….), things will go back to normal shortly.
♥️ A consistent parent gives the child a gift of knowing what to expect – as much as possible – which makes their world safe. ✓ Intentional exceptions reinforce normal expectations
b. Accidental: (harmful) when parents are too tired, too busy or have forgotten to follow up on a plan, supervise children’s chores or keep a promise….
It sets a bad example by giving kids the message that promises don’t count & rules aren’t hard & fast, so they have ‘permission’ to ignore them too. This undermines normal expectations
c. Dysfunctional: (terrible) This type is caused by the parent having unpredictable mood swings & outrageous or shameful behaviors, never explained & often irrational, & not related to an obvious circumstance that can be understood or predicted.
Includes : unpredictable rages, constant chaos, alcohol / drug abuse, mental illness, illegal activities…. It leaves kids never knowing what to expect next, what is expected of them or when they’ll be abused for doing something ‘normal’ (just walking past the parent – sometimes the child is ignored, sometimes hit, sometimes cursed out or threatened….) “Sometimes they yell when I’m playing & sometimes they give me toys to play with”
📌 Parental inconsistencies include:
• being hypocritical in their own actions (kid punished for lying but parent lies all the time….)
• changing house rules – confusing demands & expectations of the child
• not keeping promises – which they never meant to keep anyway, or given while drunk / in a blackout so they don’t remember what they said
• terrorizing child by yelling or raging – alternating with periods of self-centered, needy attention / fake warmth
• unstable emotional states (one time a parent says they love/ need you…. the next they can’t be bothered or can’t stand you – ‘come here, go away’).
• unpredictable, extreme & dangerous responses to child’s behaviors
▶︎ Dysfunctional unpredictability creates anxiety in children, with a lack of trust in the adults – not knowing the right way to function & live in the world.
Without stable rules to base choices on, it’s hard for children to trust their own judgment & decision-making, having internalized chaos & uncertainly. This affects all areas of learning & hampers or destroys normal social interactions, creating social phobias, isolation, no risk-taking…
DEF: Continual unwanted verbal & physical attention – any form of boundary invasion.
Persistently annoy, confuse, disturb, interrupt, pester, torment child. Parent attacks, demands, needs, questions, rants, troubles, worries…… undercuts by constant criticism.
Includes humiliation, stalking, being picked on & bullied, at home or anywhere (school, on the internet…).
• ALSO – parents who do nothing to defend & protect their child when being harassed by anyone – whether from other family members, a religious community, at school or in the neighborhood.
Harassment puts great stress on a child – creating fear, anger, resentment, even hopelessness.
Long-term exposure to anxiety changes children’s nervous system, causing physical problems & lowering physical immunity & their ability to deal with other stressful situations throughout life
9. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
DEF: Pattern of assaults &/or coercions in the family (physical, emotional, sexual), as well as economic worry – used by one adult against their intimate partner – to gain power & control in the relationship.
• It includes parents battering the child, exposing children to the adults harming each other or another sibling, as well as cruelty & inhumane acts against animals, in & outside the home.
It’s present in all socio-economic classes, cultures, & communities of faith. 2 out of 3 children who grow up with physical & other kinds of violence will either become a batterer or consistently mate with one.
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse 💔
NEXT: Cild Abuse #4