PREVIOUS: Abuse of Children (#2)
SITE: “When Parents are too Toxic to Tolerate” (NY Times)
ABUSE STYLES (cont.)
💠 Expressed in all 3 T.E.A. forms. Some characteristics:
acting superior, angry, critical, distant, guarded, indifferent, little or no empathy or compassion, passively withdrawn, self-absorbed, too independent & self-reliant, shut down, un-involved, un-trusting, withdrawn….
• When parents are consistently unavailable, emotionally cold & also don’t allow or ignore the child’s own emotions, they deprive them of the necessary ingredients for intellectual and social development. It can be giving a child the “silent treatment’, not being affection, leaving them with an unfamiliar, uncaring, or molesting caregiver….
Children subjected to consistent coldness grow to see the world as a ‘dangerous’ uninviting place, likely have seriously impaired relationships in the future, AND may never feel confident to explore learn or explore.
• HEALTHY: If parents are warm & loving, children form a strong inner identity, see the world as a secure place to make connections with others & enjoy possibilities.
DEF: Giving a child/youth responsibilities that are far greater than their age can handle, or using a child for profit:
• anger at infant when it fails to meet a developmental stage (walk or potty train by a certain age. Infant not ‘allowed’ to cry
• hold responsible for or blame them for misbehavior of siblings
• expect child to be ‘caregiver’ to the parent, & young child expected to take care of even younger siblings
• give unreasonable responsibilities for jobs around the house
• sexually abuse child or youth, revealing private parts
• require or encourage participation in sexual exploitation, such as pornography
• require / demand the youth supports family financially
Buying, selling or trading for legal or physical custody of a child. Does not apply to legitimate adoption or domestic relations planning.
DEF: Overly-firm or restrictive, and where parents intrude into the child’s activities without regard to their emotional state, needs or current activity.
Tend to be motivated more by parent’s own personal needs or wishes than a realistic need to monitor or control the child’s actions.
• Inappropriate control takes several forms :
Over-control – Robs child of opportunities for healthy self-assertion & self-development – by preventing them from exploring the world around them. Authoritarian parents (“My way or the highway”) are more likely to raise disrespectful, delinquent children who don’t see them as legitimate authority figures.
Can also cause child’s over-compliance, social anxiety & isolation
Lack of control – not proving the child with attention, boundaries, guidance & realistic information. Puts a child at risk for causing danger or harm to self, & robs them of the knowledge handed down generationally.
Can cause disobedience, fighting or being withdrawn & socially phobic
Inconsistent control – (see Part 2) can cause children to feel anxiety, depression, confused self-identity & mental confusion, leading to a variety of inappropriate behaviors & impaired intellectual development.
Over-protection – stunts a child’s growth as a person, & prevents them from learning to successfully deal with fear & life stresses. Makes the child unable to trust their own abilities – because they were never tested.
Severely over-protected children eventually have a hard time going out into the world to finding a spouse, job or place to live, since they’re not used to having to do things on their own. May find a controlling mate to replace parents
DEF: Continual unwanted verbal & physical attention – any form of boundary invasion.
Persistently annoy, confuse, disturb, interrupt, pester, torment – with parental attacks, demands, needs, questions, rants, troubles, worries…… undercut by constant criticism.
This can include 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 by other family members, people in 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 their ability to deal with other stressful situations throughout life.
NEXT: Cild Abuse #4