Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Verbal abuse is difficult for children to deal with. There are many ways in which a person can verbally abuse a child. For Instance, when the abuser calls a child names and makes fun of them, that is verbal abuse. The abuser may claim that they are joking, but that is insignificant. It is still abuse. Many abusers will call other people names and then laugh at the victim as they cry or seem distraught over being called a name. When the abuser verbally puts a child down by minimizing their feelings, it is verbal abuse. A child that is feeling many different emotions during puberty may be unable to control how they feel. If the child verbalizes that they are struggling or having a hard time with how they feel, the abuser may minimize it even further. Minimizing happens when the abuser laughs at the child because of how they feel, or calls them names, such as crybaby. Perhaps the abuser tells the child something such as, “Suck it up!” or “You’re too emotional!” Emotions are hard enough to deal with, let alone having someone laugh at the emotions a child feels. Verbal abuse also happens through anger. When the abuser feels anger towards a child, for whatever reason, and starts to lash out at the child, that is verbal abuse.
Verbal abuse obviously affects children negatively. In our society, name calling still happens, regardless of whether it is on the playground or in the workplace. Yes, it does happen to adults in the workplace. Our society has certain stereotypes that are seen throughout our daily lives. For example, the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” is wrong. Names do indeed hurt the victim. When a child is verbally abused they will, most likely, not know how to deal with it. They may blame themselves for how they feel, especially if the abuser is laughing at them or mocking them. This will cause the child to withdraw even further and will also cause the child to look down upon themselves for ever having felt what they did.
Many children are verbally abused every day and they suffer in silence. It is time for our society to address the issue of verbal abuse. As I said earlier, it affects all ages. A child that verbally abuses others on the playground, will probably grow up thinking that name calling is fun as an adult. Bullies come to mind with this. Every school has bullies that painfully wound other children by their name calling, teasing, and taunting. If the abusive behavior is not corrected, I believe it will continue well into adulthood. The child has to be taught that bullying is wrong, even if they use words to hurt others and not fists.
Verbal abuse may not leave physical wounds and scars; however, it certainly does leave wounds and scars on one’s self-esteem, spirit, and heart. Just because we cannot see any physical marks after someone has been verbally abused, does not mean it doesn’t hurt or wound very deeply. Verbal abuse is simply another way for an abusive and controlling individual to gain further power and control over their victim.