Spotlight on: Emotional Abuse

Posted 14 June 2022

So, how was your Platinum Jubilee weekend? We’d have to say our highlight was seeing Paddington Bear have afternoon tea with the Queen. Foster bears being very close to our heart, of course. Coming in a close second would be Prince Louis, whose expressions and antics kept us entertained throughout. The 4 year old’s dancing, waving, hugging and screaming won the love of the nation and meme makers everywhere, while he seemed to be having (mostly) a whale of a time.

All in all, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee gave us a pretty touching look at the younger royals having fun. Wealth and status aside, not every child in the UK would have been feeling as privileged. As joyful as it was to see beaming smiles and cheeky giggles, we know the sad truth is that too many other children in the country are facing abuse of one type or another. At Footprints, we want to help these children and young people to live better lives. Lives that know love, security, kindness and Prince Louis-level fun.

Emotional abuse especially can be hard to detect, but not impossible. For the next few paragraphs, we’re going to shine a spotlight on it, because the more people who are aware, the less abuse can be hidden in the dark and the more children we can help.

So, what exactly is emotional abuse? Essentially, it’s any type of abuse which involves the continual emotional mistreatment of a child. It often happens as part of a wider pattern of abuse (for example alongside physical abuse), but it can happen independently too.

Emotional abuse includes, but is not limited to - constantly humiliating, criticising, scaring or shouting at a child; displaying controlling behaviour and not letting a child experience autonomy; forcing a child to perform degrading acts; persistently ignoring a child or being absent; pushing a child too hard and/or never praising them; placing a child in upsetting situations. Emotional neglect is also a type of emotional abuse. This is where no emotions are ever shown to a child when interacting with them.

As well as watching out for the above, there are other signs that may indicate a child is suffering emotional abuse. Younger children may appear overly-affectionate to adults they don’t know very well, while having a weak bond with a parent. They may also seem wary or anxious, or display aggression to other children and animals. Older children may seem especially isolated from a parent, have few or no friends and lack appropriate social skills. They may have trouble regulating their emotions and speak or act in a manner inconsistent with their age.

Naturally, other factors can cause these behaviours, but if you are concerned about the welfare of a child it is far better to report it, than ignore it. If you are unsure how, there are helpful government guidelines on reporting suspected abuse.

If you would like to discuss this article further, or anything foster-related, please contact us - we’re always up for a chat. Maybe not every child will get to meet the Queen, but our hope is that they can all be safe and happy. With your help we know we’re one step closer.