PHOTO CREDIT TO DR. KATHLEEN YOUNG
Author's Note: This post may prove controversial... keep in mind this is just my belief and that this is relating to verbal abuse.
So, I was looking at the post over at Nourishing the Soul that I recommended in my last post and the last comment stuck out to me... or rather the end of it did.
think this is why I subconsciously chose not to have children – I was so scared to get it wrong like my parents did.The part in bold is what I want to focus on. This part was in reference to saying things to children that wind up having negative impact later on in life. Not about physical things, rather the verbal.
The bolded part left me feeling odd. I feel when someone "gets it wrong" the right choice or way is clearly evident and that they have had access to the knowledge to know the difference between the two. When you take a test in school, you're being held accountable for things you are supposed to know. You can get it wrong if you didn't pay attention or chose not to listen to what the right answers are. However, you had access to the right answers before the test. You were given the knowledge you would need to know.
I don't think that's the case with verbal abuse and while I do think wrongs are being committed, I'm not sure it's a case of parents getting it wrong
I don't believe any parents wants to factor into their child having an eating disorder, engaging in self-injurious behavior, having suicidal ideations, being depressed, or anything of the like by saying careless things. I think at that moment in time they're doing what they think will work or is acceptable - resulting in them saying things that might have lingering effects.
Consequently, I don't think placing blame on my parents for getting it wrong will take me any further in my life as I'm not sure that even saying that they got it wrong is fair.
So what do I think the problem is?
I firmly believe that it is education, or lack thereof.
I think wider spread education of the power of words needs to take place. Wider spread education about the power of any size action needs to take place. I think education in general needs to take place.
We often hear about child abuse. When I used to work at a dental clinic we were all told the signs to look for -- bruises in odd places, stories of falls by parents that don't match up with the injuries, cowering, among other things --- all things that are linked to physical abuse. Verbal abuse (though it can be just as, if not more so, damaging) gets a lot less talk time. I believe that's where a huge part of the problem lies.
Parents may know that beating their child is wrong from having been told that in school when they're young, by the news, by the media, by activism groups, and by campaign ads, but since verbal abuse is generally not covered by those outlets parents may not truly believe that telling their child they're worthless is a form of abuse. They may wind up changing one out for the other... instead of being physically abusive they may rely on verbal abuse to get their message across... perhaps even offering up the phrase, "quit crying. You think this abuse? You don't know what abuse is. Keep crying and I can show you what abuse is."
If we start to educate people on verbal abuse, what it entails, and its consequences at least part of the problem will be corrected. I think this education is paramount. Not only for parents, but also for people in general. We all have the power of saying something that can contribute to making someone feel like they are less than. We also have the same power not to... we just have to know that we have this power. That our words do as well.
I'm curious as to your thoughts on this topic.. or rather discussion piece...