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Do not emotionally abuse your children

Last week, I attended the burial of my friend’s father where family members shared memories about the deceased.

He died at 85, left 42 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. The common statement from the speeches was that he was a “very serious and very tough” man. Sometimes, they said, he would use abusive words, which occasionally created fear amongst the children under his care.

This kept me wondering about his relationship with his children. Do you think his children ever felt free with him? Did the children always confide in him whenever they had challenges? Did they ever appreciate his character?

From the speeches, it was evident the children experienced emotional abuse, but had nobody to report to. Even today, we might be having educated parents who still cause emotional abuse to their children. What then will children remember about such parents?

We need to understand emotional abuse can occur in any family at any time. Don’t we still have parents who belittle their children as being stupid, incompetent and foolish, among other abusive words?

When children are raised on a diet of insults, harshness, negative criticism, mistreatment and judgment, they may only develop self-rejection and low self-esteem. Eventually, they can become abusive in a defensive manner because that’s how they were raised.

According to www.wikihow.com, although emotional abuse doesn’t leave a physical mark, it can have long-term negative effects on a child’s social, emotional and physical health and development.

We need to understand that children who are emotionally abused often get stressed and traumatized, and carry this into adulthood. Due to low self-esteem, many find it difficult to make and keep friends and romantic partners. Unfortunately, such abusive parents don’t realize their actions are wounding.

It’s noble for parents to set strict rules for their children’s safety. However, this shouldn’t be abusive.

We should help our children recognize self-awareness and self-discovery so that even when they are abused, their inner man remains positive.

As parents, we can guard our own children from physical, social, spiritual, verbal, cognitive and emotional abuse. Do not subject your children to the same abuse you were put through by your parents or anybody else. This will help us raise healthy and happy children.

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