The Silent Suffering of Parent Abuse: When Children Abuse Parents
What is Parent Abuse?
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We have all heard of child abuse and how children are damaged by this terrible behaviour and you only have to Google "Child Abuse" to find page after page of information, support groups and advice on this subject, but, how many people have heard of parent abuse? Especially at the hands of teenage children with serious social interaction and violence issues? Google it. You wont find much, except on a few support sites.
It's a growing problem for parents who share their home with abusive young people and ther is virtually no support.
Spotting the Signs of Parent Abuse
Parent Abuse is a form of domestic abuse and is a serious problem which results in physical harm, depression, damage to property, job loss, and family breakdown. It is usually perpetrated by a child in their teens displaying the following behaviour towards you and members of your family. Signs include:
- Threats of and/or physical violence including hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, slapping, biting, hair pulling with or without weapons or objects used as weapons.
- Swearing and name calling
- A constant refusal to do as been asked ( going to bed, coming home, asking friends to leave, cleaning up after themselves, not attending school/college/work) or contribute to the household or participate in normal family activities.
- Bullying by text or phone
- Stealing money or property or misuse of parents credit cards/phones/computers
- Deliberate damaging of property
- Threats of or actual violence to pets or other children of the household as a way of intimidation
- Emotional blackmail
- Drug/alcohol abuse in the home
- Belittling parents in front of friends/other family members/public.
Many parents may recognise some of these signs as "normal" teenage behaviour, but those suffering from parent abuse have experience physical harm resulting in medical treatment or even death, damage to property, theft and bullying at the hands of their teenage children. This causes parents to lose complete confidence in themselves as parent and human beings, and is debilitating for the child as the parent loses complete control over the child, leading the teenager to be unsupported and in danger of losing out by not fitting into society.
Quite often, the child who is abusing the parent, does it wilfully and for enjoyment, since the ability for empathy and compassion is not present in the teenage psyche, and is a way of them dealing with anger management issues, psychological disturbances and hormones. Not all teenagers turn on their parents, but there is an increasing number that are.
Since children have been made more aware of their rights as a child, it has prevented parents from administering chastisement and punishments traditionally used to control rowdy and unacceptable behaviour. The Law is always on the child's side, through legislation in Child Protection, but there is nothing to protect parents from children who abuse their parents, and in the UK, as a parent you are legally responsible for that child. In most cases Social Services are not interested, unless the child has a long history of repeated offences of violence involving the Police. Schools often permanently exclude teenagers with behavioural issues, but since there is virtually no support for these kids or their parents they quickly turn to drugs and crime.
Parent Abuse is not restricted to certain social groups, it can affect single and two parent families equally. It is usually the mother (or the main caregiver) who is most affected, but other children in the family and fathers suffer too.
What Causes Teens to Turn on Their Parents?
Many people consider Parent Abuse to be the result of bad parenting, neglect or the child suffering abuse themselves, but many teen abusers have had normal upbringing and have not suffered from these issues.
My personal belief is that as a society, we are not teaching our children respect, love and care. We are allowing them to be subjected to violence on TV, Film and music, and violence is considered "normal". Drugs and Alcohol can play a huge part, as can gang culture. Social deprivation is another factor, as is many teens not having adequate role models or enough input from male members of society. The breakdown of the family unit and increasing numbers of children who have poor or non existent relationships with an absent parent, debt, unemployment and parental drug/alcohol abuse are also contributory factors on Parent Abuse.
What Can you Do?
Firstly do not suffer in silence and take back control. You do not have to give your power away and you can put a stop to this abuse.
If you are suffering from Parent Abuse you must recognise that you are not at fault and do not deserve this, as with any form of abuse. Speak to a friend, or your GP, or contact a domestic abuse support group. Seek professional help.
Confront the child with his/her behaviour, calmly and tell them in no uncertain terms that you will not tolerate it any more. Explain that what they are doing is abuse ( be prepared for them to turn the tables on you and abuse you further) and explain that they need professional help. Re- assure them that you still love them, but this is the end of the line. Remove all privileges, rights to mobiles computers, video games, money etc and refuse to be a taxi service. If they refuse to come home, report them as missing to the police, and get them picked up in a squad car. Sometimes Police intervention is enough of a wake up call for them.
If you feel that you can still communicate with your child, seek mediation, and explain that you will not tolerate this behaviour. Lay down some ground rules, regain control of yourself and absolutely stick to them!. If you tell your child that if you are hit again, you will call the Police, and have them arrested. Don't call their bluff, do it. They need to see that you mean business.If your child physically harms you, steals from you or damages property, involve the Police immediately and PRESS CHARGES! Dial 999 and report an assault. Its tough love we are talking about here!
Try not to retaliate by hitting back unless in absolute self defence, and disarm them if the come at you with a weapon. Many many abusers will ring social services to claim you have hit them, and the Law comes down on their side every time. You will be prosecuted for hitting your child and your child will be placed on an "at risk" register as will any other children in your household.They may even be removed, which can be good news if the offending child is removed but unfair for the siblings or for you. If in doubt and under threat of violence, call the police. Invariably, Social Services will not be interested at all, unless you are yourself a drug abuser/alcoholic or violent towards your child, in which case, they will put the child on the "at risk" register, and seek to remove the child for its own safety.
See? No support for parents who suffer from appalling behaviour from teenage children who are often physically bigger and stronger than the parent.
Seek help from extended family and friends, and see if they can offer to give you respite by taking the child from you for a few days.
Get in touch with Parentline Plus, a UK organisation dedicated to helping parents with their issues. You can call them on 0808 800 2222. Visit their website and look on the message boards for help and support groups in your area.They often run groups which offer practical support and tips of parenting difficult teens. You can meet with other parents who are in the same boat as you and find support there.
Approach your GP and your child's school and have your child referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, or refer them yourself, informing them that you are suffering Parent Abuse.
Keep a journal of events, with dates, times etc., or a video diary, and film your child when it is abusing you (you can use your mobile phone or digital camera). Often, when faced with media of their own behaviour, it can shock them into accepting help from professionals.
Get therapy for yourself and your family.
If none of these work, then the last resort is to exclude the child at 16 years old from the family home, and change the locks. Its tough love, but you cannot continue to allow this behaviour to go on without resolving it. You owe it to your child to teach them that abuse is unacceptable and be excluded from the home is their behaviour continues.
It seems to me that those who are suffering need some place to find each other and connect, so you can all help each other out. How do people feel about me setting up a facebook page where you can all connect and help each other?
If you are concerned about your anonymity, you can of course set up a separate account at facebook, just for this purpose. I would not want anyone to compromise themselves. If I get enough feedback, I'll set one up, and post the link here for you to follow.
sending you all a massive hug. I do know what you are going through. I have walked the walk myself, though these days, I realise that what I have been through may not have been at the level that some of you are going through, but the emotional outcome is just the same.
Be brave, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Sending huge love out there to all who are reading this and suffering in silence.
I have tried to update the links section, but the Hupages Police will not let me put the links in that direct you to useful sites, and as such, Hubpages Police are actively preventing you from accessing them from this page stating that they contain pop ups, ads for viagra etc. I have checked all of the links personally and they do not contain any of them, so i suggest you clear off this site and google them yourself. Use the search "parent abuse" and you should find all of the ones I tried to add on the first three pages.
If I leave the links in they refuse to publish this hub, which attracts 1200 hits a month from abused parents, so I have removed them all, and left in the ones that you used to be able to access. By refusing to publish this hub, they are giving the impression that they do not want you to access information to help yourself out of the hellish nightmare you are in.
Allegedly, a "human" reads all hubs and they are monitored, so to the human reading this who sanctioned this hub after I tried to add more useful links, well done, you prevented me from helping people. Hope you are proud of yourself. If I have to pull every single link out of here, I will, just to keep this hub running for people who have nowhere else to turn to.
Since I wrote this article two years ago, more and more of you are coming forward and speaking out about this ever increasing GLOBAL issue. I have read messages from parents from all over the globe, heartbreaking stories and personal accounts of horrific abuse. It is time we all came out of the closet, together and shouted with one voice : STOP!
Do not suffer in silence. Suffering in silence condones the behaviour.
We rally for child abuse victims.
We rally for disabled abuse victims.
We rally for domestic abuse victims and battered spouses, both male and female
We rally for sexual abuse victims
We rally for abused gay people
We rally for abused animals
We rally for abused environments and the abused planet
WHY ARE WE NOT RALLYING FOR ABUSED PARENTS?
Because nobody knows of the abuse because its victims stay silent.
Speak out to help not only yourself, but those who do not have the courage that you have.
This article is rated 2nd in popularity in the google search "parent abuse"
As of Feb 2012, over 26,000 people have viewed this page.
It currently has 97 comments, read them, please. For those with the courage to tell there story, there are thousands who do not.
The key to escaping this abuse is to recognise that you are far from being alone, you are one of THOUSANDS who need help.
Its time we stood together, with one voice and one heart.
You are valued, and you are loved, if by nobody else, then by me, and all of the other people here, who have told their stories.
I am currently researching for a new article I am writing about how we deal with this as a society, and what the authorities, health professional and the judiciary systems should be doing to help abuse survivors.
You are not a victim.
You are a survivor, and you deserve respect and love.
Speaking out IS empowerment.
They only win, when you give up.
huge hugs to all,
Useful Links For Abused Parents
- GotATeenager - Home
GotATeenager.org.uk: The new website for parents of teenagers from Parentline Plus
- BBC NEWS | UK | Move to tackle anti-parent abuse
Police are growing concerned about the rising trend of violence committed by children against their parents.
- BBC - Radio 4 Woman's Hour -Parent Abuse
Listen here for radio show about Parent Abuse
- When Teens Abuse Their Parents: Amazon.co.uk: Barbara Cottrell: Books
When Teens Abuse Their Parents: Amazon.co.uk: Barbara Cottrell: Books
- WOMENS AID DON'T SUFFER IN SILENCE FROM DOMESTIC ABUSE
Women's Aid Domestic Abuse website
- parent abuse!! - Netmums Coffeehouse
Can anyone point me in the right direction so that I can help my sister. She is having the usual problems with her 15.5 yr old, swearing at her,
- Welcome to Youngminds — YoungMinds
YoungMinds- website offering help and suport to parents and children with Mental health issues