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Verbal abuse refers to a form an abusive behavior that entails the use of language. It is normally termed as a form of profanity that occurs with or without application of expletives. Considering the supermarket scenario, I would outwardly never be supportive to the mother's action to call the child names out of anger. The mother may tend to call out abusive names like 'you are a fool' or even other abusive words. This is one of the most apparent forms of verbal abuse as she has used language as a mode of passing her abusive words. It is obvious that the mother would be calling out abusive words out of anger and this definitely verbal abuse.
Non-verbal abuse refers to any abusive behavior provided it does not include use of language. It can be either be through looking, touching or even thinking. If the mother looks at the child angrily, even thrashing the child, this then qualifies to be termed as non-verbal abuse. This is because in the two cases, nowhere language has been used. Also the mother may touch the child gently and even shake the child without even thrashing it; this also is a type of non-verbal abuse.
My ethical obligation as pertains to this case would take its due course through my action to call the supermarket's manager or any of the staff members to come and intervene. This would place the case in a more safe position. Another possible option also may be looking for another woman around who may help in maintaining the parent's anger. This is because only another woman may be in a position to understand hence handle her fellow woman's anger.
It is also important to make the mother know that she never ought to have subjected the child to all these. I would first approach her and show a lot of concern just to get the permission for intervention. Then I would just look at her showing sympathy towards the child, while holding her hands gently. I would also wear a worried mood, a sign that am really affected by the mother's behavior. This would help in making the mother realize that she was actually wrong and that others may also not have been supportive to her actions. I would also embrace the child while gently holding the mother's hand and looking directly into her eyes. In a humble way, I would avoid raising my voice towards the mother.
All these would take place while avoiding angering the mother and trying to make her feel that she in fact did nothing wrong as this should be from her heart and not being enforced to feel it.