Emotional abuse is the hardest to determine, but I truly believe it is the most prevalent form of child abuse in our nation. This brings us back to the theme of this chapter. The worth we, as parents, communicate to our children through our attitudes, words, and deeds either enables or cripples our children’s potential in life.
Children are easy targets of adult sarcastic humor. When they make us angry, we yell and scream. Often, we are venting frustrations that may have nothing to do with them. They are a captive audience and safe targets. They often serve as our “whipping boy” when we cannot have things our own way. We may wish to do otherwise, but our own negative emotions and frustrated desires get in the way. Our unspoken philosophy of “serve me” and “meet my needs” is revealed by the actions and words directed at our children.
I don’t claim that the average parent purposefully sets out to leave emotional scars upon his child’s life. Yet, it happens and it seems to be happening more often as each year passes. We continue to ask, why?
The answer to this question is both very complex and very simple. Simply stated, we are inclined to sin. We have failed to live in obedience to the pattern of life prescribed for us in God’s Holy Word. We have built our lives, marriages, and families based upon the false promises of TV commercials and soap operas. We have believed we can have everything and have it our way. We have lost the will to deny our baser instincts and have given free reign to the desire of the moment. The story of the mother in South Carolina who drowned both of her children because she believed they were getting in the way of her romance with her lover may be considered an extreme example of the actions of a very sick person. I believe, however, it is the logical result of the culture of narcissism that prevails in our world today. (Continued tomorrow)