We are shaped by our families, schools, and larger community since childhood. That is why is important we care and ensure kids grow in a healthy and loving environment where their psychological and emotional wellbeing is meticulously nurtured.
In Mali, there is a huge stress on physical growth of children, yet our society puts little to no stress on children’s psychological wellbeing and its impact on their life course. That is why every day children hear, endure and face many psychological and emotional abuses in our communities.
Actions, words and insults that belittle children
As we know, parents’ words which children fiercely believe create a positive or negative self-perception throughout one’s life. Repeating that children are good at nothing, even jokingly or when angry can destroy a beautiful future. Negative words such as the followings, create beliefs children internalize and act on:
- You are good at nothing.
- You never do what you are asked to do.
- You are a big fool.
- How can one be so careless?
- Be cursed.
- You are unlucky…
These are words that many parents use but must avoid at all cost because they affect their children’s self-esteem and confidence. Also, constantly hearing and growing up with all these belittling phrases, being heavily criticized, and the “Nobody likes me” mentality can affect children emotional development. We must know that these emotional abuses can be perpetrated by the child’s relatives, teachers, and friends.
The impact of child abuse impacts adulthood
“I will never forget the time, as a child, a friend of my mother made fun of my physical appearance with a demeaning expression in front of the whole family and a friend of mine”. These are words from a beautiful and smart lady, who is confronted with low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and complex of inferiority as an adult. Even though her mother’s friend claimed she was joking, the beautiful lady she has become is still terrified of these words at each remembrance. Worse every time she stands in public the negative words resonate in her brain and make her lose control.
As parents and a society, we should never allow ourselves nor anyone to shame or belittle our kids. So, when we believe that a child is being emotionally abused, we should act and immediately stop it. Let’s always remember that children need our protection and attention, and if their childhood is destroyed, it affects their entire life. Instead of destroying a beautiful life, let’s use kind words to boost self confidence and love in the adults of tomorrow.