Emotional abuse is ongoing conduct that seriously harms a child’s psychological well-being.
It can take the form of constant belittling, shaming, and humiliating a child, calling the child names and comparing her unfavorably to others, telling the child he is “no good,” “worthless,” “bad,” or “a mistake,” frequent yelling, threatening, or bullying, ignoring or rejecting a child as punishment, withholding signs of affection, and exposing the child to violence towards others, whether it be the abuse of a parent, a sibling, or even a pet.
- Speech disorders.
- Lags in physical development.
- Failure to thrive.
- Sallow, empty facial appearance.
- Hyperactivity, disruptiveness.
- Anxiety and unrealistic fears.
- Sleep problems, nightmares.
- Developmental lags.
- Conduct and academic problems at school.
- Poor peer relationships.
- Behavioral extremes (overly aggressive or compliant).
- Depressed, withdrawn, isolated.
- Apathetic, aloof, indifferent.
- Habit disorder (biting, rocking, head banging, or thumb sucking for older children).
Do you suspect that your child (or one for which you are responsible) is being abused? Find out what to do next for your child.
Do you suspect that someone else’s child is being abused? Find out how to help this child.
Return to Signs of Abuse.