Verbal abuse during childhood directly affects children's self-esteem.However, we are not aware of all that implies. Indeed, we can sometimes confuse the latter with the use of big words. Verbal abuse goes much further, however.
It is a direct attack on the sense of worth of the person who is the subject, in this case the children. Theverbal violence also implies to mistreat the psychological level.Indeed, according to the data of theNational Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), psychological abuse is the most common form of violence.
It is very important to pay attention to what we say to our children if we are parents.It is therefore important to check how we communicate with them, including how we highlight their mistakes.
Why does verbal abuse during childhood leave traces?
The reason verbal abuse during childhood leaves traces is thatchildhood is a very critical moment in the evolutionary phase. The nervous system and the brain are very vulnerable to any stimulus from the environment. Therefore, everything that happens outside influences the child in one way or another.
According to J. Pinel,the process of neuro-development proceeds from conception to the fetal period. It continues in the postnatal period and does not slow down until adulthood. It is therefore natural that children are at a stage where neuropsychological damage can occur.
In addition, a publication titledNeuropsychology Review of Child Abuse: The Neurobiology and Neuropsychological Profile of Victims of Childhood Abuse discusses how verbal abuse can cause problems with attention and memory, language difficulties and intellectual development, as well as academic failure.
"Functional and structural brain changes seem to explain the future neuropsychological function in childhood abuse."-Neuropsychology of child maltreatment and implications for school psychologists, A. S. Davis, L. E. Moss, M. Nogin, N. Webb-
How do we promote the fact that verbal abuse during childhood is more prevalent than it should be?How do we cover it so that sometimes, instead of calling it by name, we justify it by emphasizing that we "teach" or "educate" as best we can?
Punishment is the culprit
Many parents do not know how to educate their children other than by always focusing on what they are doing wrong. On the other hand, they do not emphasize what they do well because they consider that this should always be the case. So if a child protests they say categorically: "that's what you have to do".
However,focusing only on the negative aspects in such a delicate period as childhood has serious consequences. Attention is not only focused mostly on what the child is doing wrong. The attitude of the parents tends to make the child feel guilty for making them angry. We must add to that the bad choice of words to express the messages.
Comparing a child with another or throwing a "you are stupid" may seem innocent. We could even justify it by the fact that the parent was very angry and lost his temper. All this, however, can leave an indelible mark on any child's mind. Especially if it repeats itself.
For example, if we tell him that he is stupid when he can not immediately solve a problem of mathematics, and that we insist on the fact that his comrade always does it well,the child will consider himself to be zero in this matter. He will also believe that he is a worse student than his friend.
He will immediately believe that there is nothing to do there, which will encourage him to reject mathematics in the future. It may also make him feel a certain fear of failure. So that he will give up at the slightest a failed attempt in any field. It will also be labeled as "invalid".
What image of self do we want the child to make of himself with this type of behavior?Let's not forget that it is during childhood that he builds his identity. An identity tainted by "I'm worth nothing", "I'm guilty of my parents being angry", "I'm not doing anything right", "I'm a fool", "I'm disastrous" and "I'm deserving" the worst ". Which prevents to build a solid self-esteem.
"[…] these are harmful acts, especially verbal ones, constantly telling the child that he is odious, ugly, stupid, or who makes him see that he is an undesirable burden.It may even not be called by name, but simply treated as "you", or "idiotic" or otherwise insulting.”– Child Abuse, Kempe and Kempe (1979) –
As we can see,verbal abuse during childhood affects children in a significant way.It must also be said that parents do not realize that they sometimes project their children, through language, their professional frustration, their high level of stress, their relationship problems or the burden of multiple responsibilities. However, they should take this into account if they want their children to be happy.
It is fundamental to be able to adequately manage emotions, to have empathy for children and, most importantly, to learn to communicate positively with them, taking into account their self-esteem. We do not want to make adults insecure, sad, who think they are incapable and who, finally, will set limits that do not exist in reality.