Hurtful words, screaming and rejection are as painful as blows. Yet psychological abuse is often trivialized and can go unnoticed. That’s because it is harder to identify, since it is mistakenly associated with a strict upbringing.
What is it?
There is no clear-cut definition of psychological ABUSE, but it can manifest itself in various ways:
- Isolating a child by preventing him from going out or having friends
- Exploiting him by making him carry out degrading tasks
- Terrorizing or intimidating him by screaming at him or locking him in a closet
- Belittling him, mocking his appearance or constantly putting him down
Exposure to domestic violence is also recognized as a form of psychological abuse.
For additional information on psychological abuse, see the bilan du CLIPP or go to the Marie-Vincent Foundation website.
What are the consequences?
Psychological abuse can have physical, psychological and emotional consequences. Ultimately, the child thinks he has no value, is not loved, and has no purpose other than to meet the needs of others.
How can you prevent it?
No parent is perfect, nor can he always meet his child’s needs as well as he would like. Finding support and broadening your knowledge is a first step towards building a positive relationship with your children. A number of organizations provide support in this area: telephone help lines, health care professionals, CLSCs, etc.
How can you detect it?
The symptoms of psychological abuse are similar to those of physical abuse: personality disorders, aggressiveness, social withdrawal, low self-esteem, behavioural problems, academic difficulties, etc.
What can you do?
If a child in your midst is a victim of psychological abuse, you must alert youth protection authorities by telephone at 1 800 567-8520 or in writing. For additional information on signalling, see the brochure: Faire un signalement au DPJ, c’est déjà protéger un enfant.