A good friend and I were having a discussion about the lack of awareness in society regarding emotional child abuse and reasons to why that might be. My friend commented that one reason may be that many parents have bad days, moments when they have less than stellar parenting, and they say things they regret to their children.

“No one wants to think of themselves as emotionally abusing their child,” my friend said. “And parents just have bad days sometimes.”

In her comment, I see the difference between emotional child abuse and parenting mistakes. Yes, parents do make mistakes… but emotional child abuse is not a moment, it’s a pattern.

To better explain the difference, I’m sharing this brief video from Dr. Gregory Lantz, author of Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse. The video is only about four minutes long, but he touches well and clearly on:

  • intentional vs unintentional child abuse
  • the importance of imprints
  • name-calling
  • the difference between making mistakes now and then vs. a prolonged pattern over time
  • the invisibility of emotional scars
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