Emotional and psychological abuse in children is defined as behaviors, speech, and actions of parents, caregivers, or other significant figures in a child’s life that have a negative mental impact on the child.
According to the U.S. government, “emotional abuse (or psychological abuse) is a pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth.”
Examples of emotional abuse include:
- name calling
- threatening violence (even without carrying out threats)
- allowing children to witness the physical or emotional abuse of another
- withholding love, support, or guidance
It’s very difficult to know how common child emotional abuse is. A wide range of behaviors can be considered abusive, and all forms are thought to be underreported.