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The behavior of an emotionally abusive parent or caregiver does not
support a child's healthy development and well-being—instead, it creates an
environment of fear, hostility, or anxiety. A child is sensitive to the
feeling, opinions, and actions of his or her parents. Emotionally harmful
attitudes may include the following.
Showing a lack of regard for the child
This behavior often includes rejecting the child by:
Not showing affection.
the child's presence and obvious needs.
Ignoring the child when he
or she is in need of comfort.
Not calling the child by his or her
Saying unkind things to the child
Emotionally abusive parents say things or convey feelings that can
hurt a child deeply. Common examples include:
Making the child feel unwanted, perhaps by
stating or implying that life would be easier without the child. For example, a
parent may tell a child, "I wish you were never born."
or belittling the child, such as saying, "You are stupid."
Threatening the child with harsh punishment or even
Continuous verbal abuse.
Comparing the child to
siblings or peers.
Blaming the child for family problems.
Creating an emotionally unhealthy environment
Some emotionally abusive parents place ill-advised or impossibly
difficult expectations on their children, such as:
Encouraging the child to commit immoral or
Pressuring the child to grow up too
Expecting the child to perform beyond his or her capability
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