London: The children's rhyme "Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me" is not true, say child abuse experts. They claimed verbal abuse could be just as harmful to a child's development as a physical attack, a daily reported.

"Yelling at a child every day and giving the message that the child is a terrible person, and that the parent regrets bringing the child into this world, is an example of a potentially very harmful interaction," said Dr Harriet MacMillan, professor of psychiatry at McMaster University in Canada.

This form of psychological abuse can occur in many types of families, but is more common in homes with multiple stresses, including family conflict, mental health issues, physical violence, depression or substance abuse. Her study appeared in the journal Paediatrics.

(Agencies)

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