What is Verbal Abuse?
Verbal abuse consists of yelling at your children using demeaning language, such as “I am ashamed of you,” “Can’t you do anything right,” “I hate you” or “You’ll never amount to anything.” When you say these words to your children you’ll erode their self esteem and sometimes words hurt more than being physically hit.
Effects of Verbal Abuse:
When children are verbally abused they will lose confidence in themselves and may fulfill the words that were directed towards them because they feel worthless and unwanted. Verbal abuse often causes children to think thoughts such as “No one likes me,” and “I am always wrong,”. It also often causes children to depressed and withdrawn. In some cases, the children show self-destructive behavior such as cutting themselves and other self-injurious acts. A recent study demonstrated that verbally abused children develop interpersonal problems, physical aggression, and delinquency at a higher rate when compared to others. Due to this aggression, they may hit other children or fight and argue with other children. If you have seen these signs in your children, it is important to change the way you speak to and interact with them. Your family may benefit from therapy to help to learn better ways to communicate with each other without using abusive language.
Stopping Verbal Abuse:
It is normal for parents to get angry and frustrated with their children, however it is important to learn ways to express disappointment or frustration without name calling or belittling. It’s important to correct your child’s behavior by telling the child that the behavior is unacceptable but not that the child is bad or wrong.
A way to handle your verbal outbursts is trying to understand the reason behind your child’s behavior. Try to use language and words that will be helpful to your children and avoid using words that will be hurtful. If you find yourself calling your children names and using abusive language, it is important to apologize to your child as soon as possible after you calm down.
While it is important to discipline your child, it is of equal importance to show them affection. If you find yourself getting out of control, take a step back and calm down before you resort to anger which will often lead to being abusive. Being a parent can be very difficult and frustrating, if you feel that you are becoming overwhelmed, talk to someone and reach out for the support you need so that you can be the best parent to your children.