By LaWanda Wright/EEW Magazine Staff
What are your children’s teachers telling them? Like it or not, there are some abusive educators out there who stomp on kids’ dreams and esteem. In an email to his supporters, Christian media mogul Tyler Perry wrote, “When I was a kid, I had a teacher tell me that I would never be a millionaire because I was black and the system was set up to keep me down.”
Even then, he was in disbelief that his instructor, who should have been guiding, encouraging, and motivating him, was telling Young Perry what he couldn’t do.
The American Academy of Pediatrics published a new report online today and in the August print issue of Pediatrics which shows that hurtful and discouraging words have an unhealthy psychological impact on our children.
Emotional or psychological abuse is defined by the AAP as “a repeated pattern of behavior by a parent or caregiver that can be verbal or nonverbal, active or passive, intentional or unintentional, but is interpreted negatively by a child, and can result in developmental, social, emotional and academic problems.”
Making disparaging comments, name-calling, and painting a negative mental image in a child’s mind of themselves can happen in an educational institution with a bad teacher, or at home with an abusive parent. “Constantly belittling, threatening or ignoring children can be as damaging to their mental health as physical or sexual abuse,” says the pediatricians' group.
Studies in Britain and the United States estimate that 8 percent to 9 percent of women and 4 percent of men report severe psychological abuse during childhood.
Tyler Perry, who was psychologically, verbally, and physically abused by his father, in addition to being sexually molested by both a man and woman, by all accounts, should not be where he is today. His difficult history was enough to ruin him forever. But Perry says, “I’m so glad that my little boy mind didn’t accept that. I have often been told that I wouldn’t make it because I was poor or because of the color of my skin. I had family members tell me I would never make it and my dreams would never come true for one reason or another... boy were they wrong.”
The media mogul, who was recently named by Forbes as the richest man in entertainment, is telling others not to allow psychological maltreatment or discouragement from anyone to hold them back. “Follow that still small voice inside of you,” he advises. “That is GOD’s Holy Spirit and I think we all have the capacity to hear that voice. We just need to still ourselves to hear it. You must silence all the outside voices in order to hear THE voice. I try to stay as clear as I can so that I can hear it. It’s not always easy, but necessary.”
In the Bible, we find that Jesus was very loving toward and protective of children. He told his disciples in Matthew 19:14, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Were you psychologically or verbally mishandled by caregivers, teachers, or loved ones growing up? If so, has it impacted you negatively in your life? What can we do to ensure that our children aren’t psychologically abused by outside parties like teachers, guidance counselors, and mentors?