How to Deal with Abusive Parents

Posted on Dec 3, 2013 in Parenting

Abusive parents manifest themselves in various ways. In most cases, such parents believe that they’re abuse is justified because they want to discipline their children and this is the only way they know how. It is not uncommon for authoritarian parents to have been raised in an abusive way as well which is why they think that their behavior is normal. However, there are certain ways in which such parents can change their behavior. Whether you were or are still raised by an abusive parent or you are witnessing abusive parenting, you need to put and end to it.

  • Signs of abuse

Abuse can come in many ways and sometimes it is harder to recognize: for example people who have a lot of expectations from their children without taking into account the children’s developmental age or the needs specific to that age are considered to be abusive parents. Emotional abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse. An abusive parent is also a person who expects a child to behave as an adult (provide comfort and take care of the housework) while the parent behaves childish and irresponsible. Physical punishment, lack of empathy towards a child, wanting to control a child when he struggles to be independent, are all signs of abuse. If you recognize these problems in your family or in the family of a friend, you need to address the issue.

  • How to deal with it

As a child, dealing with abuse is very hard because you feel very powerless against your parents. The first thing that a child needs to do is talk to the parents and try to tell them how it feels and how their actions affect them. If this fails and the parents don’t seem to be interested in the child’s point of view, the best thing for the child to do is seek some guidance (the guidance councilor at school can be very helpful) and try to find refuge at a relative. It the abuse is very aggressive, the child needs to get out of the house as soon as possible and alert the authorities. As we mentioned above, a lot of parents don’t realize that they’re abusing the children and they even think that they are doing a good thing. In these cases, an external opinion or advice can be very helpful so if you are witnessing an abuse do something about it and if the situation is serious alert the proper authorities. As a parent, if you recognize your behavior in the abusive situations presented above the best thing to do is seek some guidance from a therapist. Whether you have alcohol abuse problems, anger management issues or childhood abuse traumas, you need to try to find a way to fix yourself so that your child does not suffer because of your problems.

  • Forgiveness

If you have been raised by an abusive parent, the first thing that you need to do is get some closure. The best way to do this is by forgiving your parents. If you recognize your own mistakes in the mistakes that your parents did in raising you then you probably understand their weaknesses. However, this doesn’t mean that you can continue to behave in the same way with your own children. If you have broken contact with your parents because of their constant abuses but they are now trying to make contact with you and make amends, accept them into your life once again but keep a safe distance until you convince yourself that they can actually be trusted. Your own safety must always come first when dealing with abusive parents. No matter what problems the parents have, the child must never support the consequences of their bad decisions and their anger issues.