Childhood is a hell.
Childhood is a hell where we suffer more than ever, because children don’t know that they are suffering. And hell is not where we suffer, hell is where nobody knows that we are suffering. Although emotional abuse awareness has lately increased in society, most children are still being abused by older people, especially by their parents. Many families have always been negligent. Despite everything, they have survived generations and generations and continue to live in modern times.
Neglect or the act of neglect presupposes that the child is being deprived of its basic conditions. We talk about something as simple as food, school or health, but sometimes the affection and attention that “being so simple’’, for certain families, can become a difficult responsibility. And this responsibility does not start after birth, but as soon as the pregnancy begins. Children are born with their history of nine months.
Parents, too often, don’t harm their children on purpose. Yet, as we don’t allow our children to express their feelings like adults do, we assume that we know what is best for them, and the abuse becomes acceptable. Alice Miller, the famous Polish-Swiss psychotherapist, says in one of her books, ‘’Parents are indeed capable of routinely torturing their children without anyone interceding.’’ She also admits that she was very far away from being an ideal mother, but she learned from her own experience that children are the most vulnerable human beings for being children. We can see this fact through a simple example; when someone starts harassing an adult in public, other people interfere and defend the person who is being harassed. But if an adult harrasses a kid, people usually stay quiet and let the abuse happen. Though it is obvious that children are weaker than an adult and cannot defend their rights against older people, they are less protected than adults. This is a nonsense hypocrisy and still exists.
The belief that parents want the best for their kids may be true for most caregivers, and our society tends to believe that parents own their kids, therefore, emotional abuse is legitimated by people. Moreover, children that are victims eventually become culpable because of this parent taboo. They, too often, are punished for their ‘’mistakes’’ and for not being obedient. Thus, according to the common belief, the punishment is acceptable, even deserved.
In her article, “Childhood Extremes,” Alice Miller says, “Again and again the child’s share of the blame is looked for and found, with the result that only extremely brutal cases is the term “child abuse” mentioned, and even then with reservations, with the broad spectrum of psychic mistreatment is disputed or even totally denied. In this way the victims’ voices are silenced almost before they are raised, and the truth, the whole objective truth, of the facts remains in obscurity.”
Today parents are striving to be more conscious of their children and attitudes. The social services, health workers and schools are more trained and supportive than earlier. But there is still one thing that most people are not aware of: the physical effect of emotional abuse and its impacts in future. Recent researches show that emotional abuse and neglecting cause some neurological issues that lead to a variety of problems such as cognitive disorders and socio-emotional disruptions. Indeed, emotional abuse’s impact is not a new theme in the psychology field.
Some meaningful research about abused and neglected children was realized a while ago, and the researchers were able to find out that neurological problems may be led by emotional neglect. Yet, it has never called attention as much as physical abuse does. As mentioned above, the main reason why society refuses to face it is the parent taboo.
It is interesting to note that emotional abuse is one of the most difficult forms of child abuse to diagnose. Generally, it is detected when associated with other severe conditions of mistreatment such as physical and sexual abuse, and although the suspicion is confirmed, the intervention of professionals and / or the legal system occurs more cautiously. However, according to a research done in the Minnesota Mother-Child Project, between maltreated groups, emotionally neglected children showed the most dramatic decline in scores on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. The age range of the participants were from 9 months to 24 months, which proves that the results of emotional neglect may be found before adolescence or middle age. Emotionally abused preschoolers have more difficulty in handling stressful situations, they tend to react angrier compared to non maltreated and physically abused children. It means that it is possible to recognize emotional abuse and neglect in early years of life, therefore, can be predicted.