Being called names can really hurt us

Children can be seriously affected by being called hurtful names, a new study has found. Published in the journal Pediatrics, an American Academy of Pediatrics statement noted psychological abuse can be just as damaging as punches and kicks when it comes to the physical, mental and emotional health of a young child.

According to the report, acts such as exploiting, terrorising, belittling and denigrating are among the most challenging forms of abuse children can suffer from.

Dr Harriett MacMillan, a Professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences and Pediatrics Departments at the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine in McMaster University, noted: "We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behaviour that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted."

She explained this abuse could come in the form of a parent constantly shouting at their son or daughter and claiming they regret them ever being born.

Talking to this website about Anti-Bullying Week last year, Dr Karen Majors said:

"Young people affected by bullying may feel ashamed and reluctant to tell others of their feelings as it might make the situation worse. If the bullying is persistent, they may also experience trauma affecting their wellbeing and attainment into the future.

"Parents and carers can listen carefully to the young person’s experience and feelings. They need to jointly problem solve with the young person what action to take and who to talk to."