According to the book Adult Children of Abusive Parents, physical abuse is "any non accidental physical injury, including ones that result in bruises, welts, broken bones, scars, or serious internal injuries." Imagine you are a young eight year old child, you're life is pretty average; you go to school, come home and do homework. Only one thing sets you apart from your classmates, you have bruises to cover up, they don't. Imagine coming home every day, and being beaten with a golf club, a stick, or an extension cord. Imagine begin forced to spend time in a cage, or sleep underneath you parents car, with only a piece of cardboard. Imagine not having enough to eat, or being forced to do difficult yard work with only your bare hands. This is just the unsafe situation that thousands of kids have to come home to. In America, there are many people concerned for these children, and that is good, but they are overlooking an important group of kids being abused just as badly, and most people just don't look at it as seriously as physical abuse.
This is called emotional abuse.
According to the same book Adult Children of Abusive Parents, emotional abuse "includes unreasonable demands put on a child that are beyond her\his capabilities and may include persistent teasing, belittling, or verbal attacks." The effects on the child are usually the following: he\she becomes depressed or apathetic, they are anti-social and hostile in nature, loss of appetite, refusal to eat and\or if the child doesn't feel love, food may be used as a substitute, often resulting in obesity
(taken from the Childhelp USA pamphlet).
Verbal abuse can be very damaging to kids. The old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never...