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Sharing – 22 Types of Childhood Verbal Abuse and Their Recognition

I’m willing to bet the reason this is true is that we’ve struggled to define verbal abuse:

“Currently, four subtypes are used to categorize child maltreatment: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Verbal abuse is noticeably absent. Of those four, a June 2023 study of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) among U.S. adults found that emotional abuse significantly increased during the last decade (2011–2020) compared to the other three listed forms of child maltreatment.

Because “emotional abuse” is a broad and not-clearly-defined term, there’s a growing movement to add “verbal abuse” as a stand-alone category of child maltreatment, bringing the total number of subtypes to five.”

The problem we’ve already had with emotional abuse is identified in the quote. It’s not precisely defined. Heck, one could argue that verbal abuse should fall under emotional abuse. We don’t know. What we do know is that yelling at kids, putting them down, and the full 22-item list in the link below does harm to children. How much harm, and what level of verbal abuse causes that harm, is maybe a bit of a mystery, but there’s definitely harm.

That harm is abuse just like the harm from physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. They all negatively affect children in their own ways. Just because we haven’t defined it doesn’t mean it isn’t real. What it does, however, is make it harder to prevent and research when we aren’t including it in our definitions of abuse.

That should change. Whether it officially changes or not, we should all recognize the harm.


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