Guilt: are you carrying enough of it? Likely not. Do you even care about your children? You don't, do you? Don't lie—that's another thing to feel guilty about A new report has finally pinpointed exactly how much abuse you—whether through negligence, malice, or just some other vague action you didn't even think twice about—have inflicted on your poor, innocent children: a lot, probably.
This is what you need to know about this new report from the American Association of Pediatrics: the fact that your kids are fucked up is your fault. Don't think your children bear psychological scars from whatever you did to them that you probably don't even remember? Stop fooling yourself. That one thing long ago that your child seems to have forgotten totally but that still gnaws at you for no good reason? Probably lifelong trauma. Ask yourself: have you ever done anything that falls into this category?
Even experts can "struggle to tease out" when words or actions cross the line from less-than-ideal parenting to emotional abuse, says co-author Roberta Hibbard, director of child protection programs at Indiana University and Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis.
It is abuse when "an interaction between a parent and child inflicts harm and causes difficulty with the child's emotional well-being and development," she says. Anything from repeated insults to threats to ignoring a child may qualify. "But you really can't pinpoint and say that the one time that you called the child 'stupid' is the reason they are having these problems," she says.
When in doubt, just assume that you are guilty of emotional abuse. Don't beat yourself up about it. You were emotionally abused as a child.