Signs of Emotional Abuse from Parents

Emotional Abuse

Unlike physical abuse where there are physical symptoms of abuse; emotional abuse can be hard to identify. Most adults realize that their parents emotionally abused them when they were young only when they are already in their adulthood. When children are going through emotional abuse from their parents, it can be hard to know.

Most signs of emotional abuse involve change in behavior and emotions. However; a child’s behavior and emotions may change as he/she grows up, making it harder for you to point out emotional abuse.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Most people are unable to identify emotional abuse since they do not know what it is. It can be challenging to define emotional abused based on a single behavior since it can be represented in a range of behaviors.  The two most common forms of emotional abuse are name calling and insulting. Nonetheless; they are not the only form of emotional abuse. Threatening, withholding love, support and guidance to a child can also be considered to be a form of emotional abuse. Letting a child witness the physical or emotional abuse of their parent or sibling can also be a form of emotional abuse.

Signs of Emotional Abuse in Babies and Toddlers

It might be difficult to identify emotional abuse and neglect in babies and toddlers since they may not be able to express themselves through talking. However; there are some signs that can be useful in determining if the baby is being emotionally abused by their parent.

  1. Babies and toddlers going through neglect can be overly-affectionate towards strangers
  2. The child lack confidence or is anxious.
  3. There is no close relationship with the parent, e.g. when being collected from nursery the child will cry when the parent takes them.
  4. The child can be aggressive towards other children and animals.

Signs of Emotional Abuse in Older Children

Identifying signs of emotional abuse in older children can be easier since the child acts in a way or uses a language that lets you know that the child knows more than their age. Here are some signs to help you determine if a child is being emotionally abused by their parent.

  1. The child struggles to control strong emotions and often has extreme outbursts
  2. The child is a loner and lacks social skills or has no friends.
  3. The child is fearful of the parent.
  4. A child being emotionally abused may verbally say bad things about their parent or even say they hate their parent.
  5. The child can talk badly about themselves.
  6. An emotionally abused child will show sudden changes in speech.
  7. You might notice a sudden change in behavior such as performing poorly in school.


Emotional abuse in children is behavior, speech and actions of parents that damages a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. Emotional abuse has negative mental impact on children and it should be stopped. According to a research carried out; emotional abuse in children often occurs in families that having financial difficulties, in single parenthood, in parents experiencing a divorce and parents struggling with substance abuse issues.