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Emotional and physical abuse are as damaging

Although parents love for their children can’t be measured, most emotional abuse cases were carried out by parents or their caregiver

By Sara Al Hemeiri
15:02 October 31, 2015

Parents love for their children can’t be measured. Yet, almost all emotional abuse cases that have been detected were carried out by parents or their caregiver. Some justify it as a form of discipline, and some aren’t even aware that they are harming their children. Most parents were raised that way and the circle continues because they don’t see the harm in it. They don’t notice that their inability to cope with their frustration has a damaging effect on their child.

A parent commonly shouts to take out their frustration on their children as they believe that it will teach them how to behave. Children are led by example - if they notice that their parents are violent or shout when they are angry, they will repeat the same in their future interactions.

Parents have a hard time accepting that their way of discipline can be abusive. Another person cannot hit or bully their children but if they do it — it’s because they love them and they want what’s best for them.

Emotional abuse doesn’t hold the same weight as physical abuse or neglect. Pain, like everything else socially, has a hierarchal system. The most disturbing fact is that emotional maltreatment is habitual and unlike psychical abuse, the scars are invisible.

However, psychological and physical pain trigger the same parts of the brain. According to David Vachon, a McGill [Canadian university] professor in its department of psychology, “people assume physical abuse is more harmful than other types of abuse, but we found that they are associated with similar consequences”.

Children who suffer from mental abuse have a long road ahead of them. Most adolescents who grew up in a household that tolerated emotional abuse suffer from low self esteem and prolonged self doubt. As adults, they either end up repeating their parents’ mistakes or allow others to mistreat them.

Communities should offer prevention methods and remedies. An effective way to educate parents is by allowing hospitals and schools to offer parents free lectures on how to deal with children when they misbehave or how to regulate and control anger.

— The reader is an Emirati blogger based in Abu Dhabi