According to the news today the Government are hoping to bring in laws that protect children from emotional harm. Emotional harm to a child can be just as harmful as that of physical or sexual abuse. Mental mind games, even to an adult are hard to deal with but for a child, who hasn’t reached adulthood, it must be confusing, hurtful and enough for a child to start on that harmful road of self harm.
I am glad emotional harm is going to be dealt with… but I fear that the new law is not going to go far enough.
Our criminal law has never reflected the full range of emotional suffering experienced by children who are abused by their parents or carers.
For instance, what about how some children are treated especially if there is a break-up between the parents and there is animosity between the parents.
It doesn’t matter if that child is a toddler, a school kid or a teenager, when parents break up that child is piggy in the middle and that child suffers the hurt of not having both parents living under the same roof.
That child loves both parents and because the parents are each others throats that child doesn’t want to take sides. It just wants its mother and its father around and for their mother and father to love them. Yes in the perfect world they want them to live together but if that is not to be then it needs its parents not to think about themselves but about how they feel. Sometimes loving one someone means that you have to do what is best for that person and not yourself.
When a child, even a baby or toddler, has both parents in its life, and even if they can’t speak, should one parent not be there that child still has emotions. That child will miss the absent parent, that child will wonder why they are not there… An older child might even think they are to blame for the break-down of their parents relationship.
The absent parent family of that child shouldn’t be excluded by the parent with custody… that is emotional turmoil for any child…irrespective of age. Yes adults feel hurt when they can’t see their grandchildren or have a proper relationship with them, but as adults we understand and we deal with the hurt. But for a child to have a set of grandparents in its little life and then never to see them is emotional cruelty to that child.
A child needs to develop a relationship with the absent parent and their extended family… and that can’t be achieved when the parent with whom the child lives, sets boundaries or insists that they have to be there at all times and that the access can only be on their terms or not at all. For any parent to do that is in my opinion causing that child to suffer emotionally.
I hope the new law does cover the emotional turmoil that a child can suffer at the hands of a parent who is being unreasonable, selfish and big-headed. A child needs, both its parents, whether or not they live together and it needs its grandparents (both sets). For any person to deny their child this, is acting out of malice and not in the best interests of their child.