This case study is very interesting because it does not seem like this would be a typical setting for verbal abuse to take place. The incident occurs at school conferences in front of the child’s teacher. I do not think most people would make such a public display of abuse because they know it is not something that is accepted in our society. Also, the parent would likely fear some type of repercussions for their actions and wait until a more private place to commit the abuse. Luckily, in this situation the teacher was able to intervene and prevent further psychological damage to the child. Unfortunately, this does not generally seem to be the case and it can be difficult to know that emotional abuse is occurring.
The mother clearly cares about the child’s education and wants them to excel; it is difficult to say what her exact motivation is though. Someone who is so focused on their child’s success that they have such a large outburst at school may have other problems going on. It is possible that there are other things going on at home and she is trying to make it seem like everything is perfect; therefore, when the child does not perform as desired, it detracts from the illusion of perfection. The father at the conference did nothing to stop his wife from emotionally abusing their child; he may not care enough to stop it or it’s possible that he feels overwhelmed by his wife’s abuse. Another possibility in this scenario is that neither parent realizes that what they are doing is considered child abuse; they may have been raised in a similar way and think that it is a productive parenting technique. While this is not an excuse for either parent, it could be a possible reason why the dad did not step in as well.
The way these parents treat their child is likely to have lasting effects on his mental health and well-being. It was necessary to remove them from the conference so other children and families are not exposed to this type of negative behavior. However, I wish something more would have been done to prevent this from happening again. I do not think Child Protective Services would necessarily be able to intervene in the situation because it only happened one time and may not be perceived as serious as something like physical or sexual abuse; however, they may have classes the parents could take on how to handle anger that someone from CPS could offer her. As time goes by after the event, I would hope the teacher would closely monitor the child for any other signs of abuse. If the child withdraws from social activities, starts performing even worse on schoolwork, or has physical signs of abuse, more attempts to have Child Protective Services involved should occur.