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

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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.