- Child specialists warn about the damaging impact of silent treatment, a form of parental control.
- Experts recommend healthy parenting strategies to avoid the negative effects of silent treatment.
Understanding Silent Treatment
Silent treatment is the refusal to communicate verbally with another person. The psychology of the silent treatment works to force the victim to reconcile with the perpetrator on the latter’s terms in order to end the hostile behavior. It can be practiced in a number of ways, including the:
- Refusal to communicate
- Refusal to acknowledge someone’s existence
- Refusal to discuss sensitive information
- Avoidance of confrontation
- Withholding of affection
- “Cold shoulder” treatment
Is Silent Treatment Emotional Abuse?
Silent treatment is mostly used to convey negative emotions (without physical implications or aggression) in social and intimate relationships. Parents mostly use the silent treatment to ‘discipline’ children, like teaching them a lesson or forcing them to repent mistakes. However, even though the purpose of silent treatment from parents borders on responsible parenting, the practice itself is hardly positive and healthy.
Parental silent treatment isolates and ostracizes children and metes out consequences associated with emotional abuse. In fact, experts claim that it is a form of emotional abuse that leaves its young victims:
- Stressed and anxious
- Lonely and unwanted
- Emotionally detached
- Vulnerable to mental disorders
Parenting ‘sans’ Silent Treatment
A well-balanced parenting strategy can help parents exercise healthy parental controls that effectively “school” children into empathetic, humble, and understanding adults. These may include:
- Being approachable as a parent
- Communicating honestly
- Helping children understand why certain things are right and wrong
- Helping them address mistakes positively
- Helping them to break bad habits
Therefore, in their own innovative ways, parents can devise strategies that combat silent treatment effects and help children develop positive techniques of conflict management and resolution.