What are the signs that a parent is emotionally abusing his or her child?

A child who is being emotionally abused might be excessively compliant and passive or overly aggressive. The child may show delays in physical or emotional development. A suicide attempt in older children should be considered a sign of possible emotional abuse. Parents might belittle the child, seem unconcerned or simply reject the child.
Signs that a parent is emotionally abusing his or her child include the following:
  • routinely ignores, criticizes, yells at or blames child
  • plays favorites with one sibling over another
  • poor anger management or emotional self-regulation
  • stormy relationships with other adults, disrespect for authority
  • history of violence or abuse
  • untreated mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse

Continue Learning about Child Abuse

Child Abuse

In most cases of child abuse, the abuser is someone the child knows; parent, relative, or family friend. Abuse can be emotional, neglect, sexual, or physical abuse. All types of abuse can cause permanent mental or emotional damage ...

to the child as they age. Many will turn to alcohol or drug use, and some may become withdrawn and depressed.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.