A report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics reveals that parents and other caregivers may be unknowingly causing harm to children when they belittle or humiliate them.
Researchers at Indiana University said that while physical and sexual abuse of children are given high attention, emotional maltreatment too should be viewed as a major form of psychological problem in children.
The researchers said that children who suffer from emotional maltreatment exhibit symptoms such as difficulties in socialization, attachment, and education during their childhood which grow into delinquency and aggression during adolescence and problems with intimacy and sexual function in adulthood.
"Psychological or emotional maltreatment of children and adolescents may be the most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse and neglect, but until recently, it has received relatively little attention. Psychological maltreatment carries a significant burden for society, as can be seen in its effects on the health and social care systems, such as the costs of educational failure, crime, and health services as a result of poor mental health", lead researcher Roberta Hibbard wrote in the report, published in the journal Pediatrics.