An investigation into the damaging effects of parental emotional child abuse: a case study of Kangemi slum village, Nairobi
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Abstract:

This study aimed at investigating the damaging effects of parental emotional child abuse in Kangemi slum village. The study focused on parents' awareness of the children Act 2001. types of emotional abuse that we are presently unaware of personality traits of the emotionally abused children and the roles schools, religious groups, NGOs. local leaders and universities can play to help curb the vice. Emotional child abuse refers to parental patterns of interaction that are abusive to children. Terms for this type of abuse include: mental cruelty, mental injury, emotional abuse. emotional neglect. emotional maltreatment and psychological abuse. An occasional negative statement/interaction, while unpleasant for the child. does not constitute abuse. Abuse occurs when there are several abusive patterns and these negative interactions are repeated frequently. Psychological abuse includes all affective and cognitive aspects of child maltreatment, including both acts of omission and acts of commission. Emotional child abuse by parents has been regarded as a problem that occurs all over the world. Globally, 69% of children were reported to suffer emotional child abuse in the eighties. Little is done by the legal authorities to stamp out the practice. There was emotional child abuse in traditional Africa. In those days children were used as labourers to till their parents' "shambas" In fact, the more children one hod the richer one was. Those children who were not able to work as hard as expected developed deep psychological problems because they were labeled as lazy bones. However they were counselled by kinsfolk. peers and respected elders of the community Cases of emotional child abuse in Kenya are under-reported and often occur within the privacy of our homes. The few reported cases are in the form of physical and sexual abuse and nobody bothers to investigate the invisible, long-lasting and injurious effects of emotional child abuse. Efforts should be made to detect and counter the former before it is too late, because it is the worst form of child abuse and goes undetected until much later in the child's life- when very little or nothing can be done by anyone to remedy or reverse the situation. Emotional child abuse is not well recognized by the medical and legal systems. There has been difficulty and reluctance in addressing the issue of emotional abuse in children due to it invisible nature. Thisis unfortunate, because all cases of physical abuse contain a co-existing emotional component whose impact may persist long after physical injuries have healed. Furthermore children may sufferemotional injuries in the absence of physical or sexual attacks. Compared to physical child abuse, psychological maltreatment appears to be more prevalent and isgenerally viewed as more detrimental than other forms of child abuse Most emotionally abused children suffer from stressand loose self-confidence to the detrimental of their academic s'ludies and life in general. It was established that most parents are oblivious of the children's Act 2001 out of ignorance and low levels of education. This is an indicator that most Kenyans are not aware of .The Children's Act 2001 hence the rampant practice of emotional child abuse. Retrenchment (due to socio-economic and technological changes), single parenthood and individualism, make parents unable to control their anger. They suffer from emotional stress which they vent/project on their children by abusing them. The tossing of a child to and from one parent to the other, or from the paternal to the maternal homes results in emotional child abuse (Were, 1992: 9). Drawing from the findings, several recommendations to help curb the vice were made.

Author: 
Mudi, Fredah W
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