Parental Abuse: What to do When You Feel Threatened by Your Teen
Parental abuse — when you feel threatened by your child in any way — is a sensitive topic that may leave parents or caregivers feeling frightened and confused. Parents are often embarrassed or ashamed to discuss it outside the family, fearing that it suggests they’ve done something wrong or have failed the child in some way.
Left unaddressed however, violent verbal altercations can escalate to physical abuse and even tragedy.
What Is Parental Abuse?
Adolescent or teen violence, when perpetrated on moms, dads, grandparents, guardians or other caregivers, is the essence of parental abuse. The cycle typically begins with verbal threats, but rarely stops with words. Over time, if ignored, verbal threats often elevate to physical violence.
During the turbulent teen years, children may defy authority and test their boundaries with parents. When children’s bad behavior persists over time, they may attempt to exert control with swearing, threats, pushing or kicking. They may punch walls, throw things or attempt to hit you or other family members. Abuse may involve stealing money or property and even threatening or harming family pets.
Understand Your Parental Responsibility In The Situation
Growing up, your child has many influences. Genetics contribute to children’s development, but their environment exerts as much or more influence on behavioral patterns.
Having witnessed violence or abuse, or having been a victim themselves, increases a teen’s likelihood of perpetrating harm on others. Your child may be abusing alcohol or drugs, or lack self-control.
In most cases, parents discover that mental illness or emotional disturbance is what’s fueling violent behavior and acting out at an extreme level.
We believe that for change to happen, the parent must take responsibility for the problems that they’ve enabled. There are some cases where the parents are not at fault, often with adopted children experiencing Reactive Attachment Disorder. However, many of our children are suffering with behavioral issues because of the neglect or mistreatment by their own parents.
Parents can often be in denial about their contributions to the emotional issues their children develop. Part of our therapeutic process is to open their eyes to what they have done incorrectly. Ultimately as parents, you are responsible for protecting yourself and your family and for seeking help for your abusive child. We are a great resource and can help you and your family find hope and balance.
Make Family Safety Your First Priority
Your safety is critical, but you may not be the only person in your home affected by teen violence. Other children, especially younger kids, are extremely vulnerable, and you bear the responsibility of keeping them safe.
Seeking help does not mean that you’ve failed your children; it simply means that you care enough to take action. Failing to do so may result in emotional or physical injury, or in the most extreme cases, death. Take any threats seriously and take prompt action, because this behavior rarely corrects itself.
Acknowledge that abuse is not simply a phase or a sign of a rebellious teen. Threats and abuse can indicate a serious mental disorder, and professional intervention is the only way to address it safely. Do not hesitate to contact the authorities if you feel threatened, and seek the assistance of a qualified mental health professional immediately.
If you feel that you are no longer able to control your troubled teen girl, contact Havenwood Academy. Our residential treatment programs are designed to address behavioral problems in adolescent and teenage girls. We will work closely with you and your family to find solutions and to restore trust and safety in the home.
Contact us today for more information about our programs and ways to help combat parental abuse.