Violence - you can make a difference - Violence against children
Emotional abuse
of children -
what is it?

Emotional abuse of children means: not showing love; not holding, cuddling or talking gently to a child; speaking cruelly; expecting children to do or understand things that are too difficult for someone their age.

An emotionally abused
child may...

  • Act unpredictably - be very quiet one minute, then violent and angry the next.
  • Be timid and withdrawn.
  • Be overly active.
  • 'Abuse' toys - spank dolls and tell them 'you are bad'.
word can hurt children - kids do listen
To grow emotionally,
children need
to feel…

They need to know that nothing and no one will hurt them.

They need to know that when they need care or comfort, they will get it.

They need to be told and shown that they are loved and are important to someone.

When children feel safe, secure and loved, they can become happy, independent, loving people.

On being
a parent…

Parenthood is always harder than anyone thinks it will be. Children learn by trying and doing and trying again. So do parents. Believe that you can be a good parent to your children. When you like yourself, it is easier for you to teach your children to like and trust themselves.

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If you want to
raise emotionally
healthy kids…
  • Encourage and praise your children every chance you have.
  • Try not to make too many rules.
    Explain rules clearly and then stick to them once they are made.
  • Respect your child's feelings.
    Don't make fun of their fears and worries.
  • Give your children lots of choices and chances to do things for themselves.
  • Practice what you preach.
    Model behaviour that is co-operative, respectful, encourages problem solving and uses non-violent ways to deal with anger and conflict. Children learn to be nice if you are nice to them.
  • Take a break. Parenting is hard work and you need time for yourself. Make time to be with your friends, read a book or just relax.


Violence - you can make a difference
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If you are feeling

  • Find someone to talk to who will listen, understand your problems, give you helpful ideas or suggestions and care about what happens to you. This may be a friend, a neighbour, a family member or a counsellor.
  • Don't bottle up your feelings, but don't spill them on your children. If you're feeling angry or depressed, go for a walk; find a way to get rid of your frustrations safely; take a time out.
  • Change what you can.
    -    Have a partner or friend share child care.
    -    Talk to other parents for support and new ideas.
    -    Attend a parenting group.
    -    Join or start a play group.
  • Get help to handle the things you can't change on your own.
    -    Community services, social agencies, child mental health agencies may have programs to support parents.
    -    Call a help line or crisis line for information on the services in your community. Look for emergency numbers in the front of the phone book. If one place you've contacted for help can't give you what you need, ask them for other places to try.
If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, report your concerns to the child welfare authorities or police in your community.

Material adapted from Nobody's Perfect, a program for parents, Health Canada.
In partnership with:
Canadian Heritage
Health Canada
Department of Justice Canada
Status of Women Canada
Human Resources Development Canada
National Defence
Royal Canadian Mounted Police