My Teen is Abusive! What Do I Do?

My Teen is Abusive! What Do I Do?

Hello my friend,

In my support group I hear many things and I experience different situations. I have learned how to help these women to get stronger, healthier and learn that they are valuable and they matter.

At times something comes up that leaves me struggling with what to say. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen often but it does happen.   Some situations are just not easy and that is what has brought me to this post.

I went through some pretty tough stuff with one of my children.  It was a long, hard road.  I learned a lot along the way but I was never abused by my teen.  I can’t even imagine, especially when you have escaped abuse yourself.

(A Book that might be helpful)  When Dad Hurts Mom

So what do you do when your son is basically a child…, he is bigger than you and he has physically and emotionally abused you?  This is tough for us parents.  It is difficult to do the hard stuff.

You want to protect your children!  You don’t want the choices they are making to affect their future so it is a struggle to do things like calling the police.

Let’s talk!

First, what is parent abuse?

Parent abuse is any act of a child that is intended to cause physical,psychological or financial damage to gain power and control over a parent. Any behavior that is deliberately harmful to the parent and used as a form of control may be defined as abuse. The abuse may be physical, psychological (including verbal) or financial.

To help families and stop parent abuse, we have to break the silence that surrounds it. Because parent abuse is not consistently recognized it often goes unaddressed—and worse, becomes tolerated behavior. The first step to ending the abuse is recognizing that it is abuse.

If your teen is abusing you it is important that you do something about it. One in three women are in or have been in an abusive relationship.  These abusive teens are growing up to be adults and if not addressed, they will continue to abuse.

Your first step is to come out of denial.

All abused parents experience a range of emotions, from fear of their teenager and fear for the safety of their teenager, to guilt about pressing police charges for assault. Most parents have difficulty accepting that their child could be abusive toward them and may initially deny the problem.

What can you do?

1.  Clearly Communicate Boundaries.

Boundaries are important to set but sticking to them is more important. Make sure your child understands your physical and emotional boundaries. You may need to clearly state: “It’s not okay to yell or push or hit me.”  You have to mean it when you say it.  Be consistent and don’t allow this behavior.

2.  Take Away Their Power! 

The best way to take away their power is the same as adult abuse.  Do not engage with them.  When they begin to attack you verbally, tell them “It is not okay to yell at me or talk to me this way.” than walk away to another room and shut the door.  If you have to, just leave the house, go for a walk or a drive. What ever you have to do to keep yourself from engaging with him. However, always make sure you are safe.  If you feel you may be attacked, call the police and do your best to get out of the house safely.

3.  Clearly Communicate Consequences For Abusive Behavior. 

Tell your teen: “If you hit me, throw something at me or otherwise hurt me physically, that’s called domestic violence and assault. Even though I love you, I will call you the police and you will be held accountable for your behavior.”  Then – again – make sure your actions match your words. If you don’t think you can follow through with contacting the police – don’t say you will. This will only reinforce to your child that you make “threats” that won’t be carried out.

This article may be helpful.  How to talk to police when your child is physically abusive.  

5. Get Support.

Parental abuse is a form of domestic violence. It’s a serious issue and needs immediate attention and intervention. Domestic violence has traditionally been characterized by silence. As hard as it is, break that silence. Get support from family and friends that you trust.  Search for support in your area. There’s no shortcut or quick fix. It starts with acknowledgement of the issue and accountability. If you’re facing this issue in your family, break the silence, get help and support and set boundaries.

I hope this has been helpful.  I strongly encourage you to seek support.

If you are in the Kansas City area, you are welcome to me about Hope Ministries.  If you want to get your child help, I encourage you to contact someone that has experience in abuse.  In Kansas City area,  Synergy is a great place to start.  Be persistent, there are a lot in need out there and not enough resources.  

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or leave it in the comment below.  If you are experiencing anything like this, please comment below.  Comments are helpful to others that read this post but also may be encouraging to you.

Peace and Blessings,

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