Teens abuse parents

Building Your Case: How to Document Abuse

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If you are in an abusive relationship and are in the process of taking (or deciding to take) legal action against your abusive partner, documenting the abusive behaviors of your partner can be an important component of building your case.

It’s worth noting that each state has different laws about what evidence and documentation can be used in court. Speaking with a legal advocate in your state might better prepare you for your unique situation (our advocates at the Hotline can help locate a legal advocate near you). According to WomensLaw, in most states evidence can include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Verbal testimony from you or your witnesses
  • Medical reports of injuries from the abuse
  • Pictures (dated) of any injuries
  • Police reports of when you or a witness called the police
  • Household objects torn or broken by the abuser
  • Pictures of your household in disarray after a violent episode
  • Pictures of weapons used by the abuser against you
  • A personal diary or calendar in which you documented the abuse as it happened

Below are a few actions you can take to create documentation, if you are able to or feel safe doing so:

Visit the doctor.

More and more, doctors and gynecologists are trained to recognize signs of abuse. Your health care provider could also be a safe resource for disclosing the abuse. If you’re visiting a doctor for an injury, ask them about safe ways they can make notes about the abuse — ex. Some can write “cause of an injury” without it having to go to the police.

Consider outside documentation.

Do you have a trusted friend, coworker or family member who knows what’s going on and would be willing to help? There are many ways they can help document the abuse — whether that’s a coworker making note of times your partner calls you at the office, or a friend holding your journal at her house.

Create a stalking log.

If your partner is stalking you, creating a stalking log can be very helpful to your case. The National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center has examples of stalking logs (in PDF and Word formats) as well as additional information on stalking.

Learn more about police reports.

ex. Like filing about a lost bike. Ask, “Hypothetically, if there was something that was happening that I would want to report…”

Always ask questions. Call your local police department’s non-emergency number and find out about the protocols and procedures of filing a police report.

This can help you prepare for filing a police report if you need to, which creates a paper trail of the abuse.

Take pictures.

A digital camera or your phone camera may not always be safe. Consider getting a disposable camera. Another option is for someone else to take the pictures and keep them for you.

Let it go to voicemail.

Is your partner calling over and over? Let it go to voicemail once and save the voicemail.

Save digital evidence.

Do you have a smartphone? Most have the “take a screenshot” option. Thirty missed calls from your abusive partner? Take a screenshot of that. Threatening texts? Instead of responding to them, take a screenshot of them. These screen shots get saved in your images folder, so remember to send them on to a friend and delete them. If your partner sends threatening emails, don’t respond to them, but consider saving them in a folder in your inbox.

If you’re not sure if documenting your abuse would be safe, always go with your gut. It’s very important to keep in mind that you are the expert on your situation, and what works for one person may not be a safe idea for another person.

We are not legal advocates at the Hotline, but we are able to offer support and refer you to the local or state resources that might be helpful to you.

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Warning Signs and What to Do

If your teenager acts in an abusive way towards you, you’re not alone. Help is available for this underreported type of domestic abuse.

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Domestic violence doesn’t occur just between partners, or even just between adults.

If your child or teenager is abusive towards you — whether physically, emotionally, or financially — you may be experiencing a form of domestic violence.

If a child is violent or otherwise abusive towards you, you may hesitate to classify the behavior as abuse. Is your teenager just being, well, a difficult teenager?

Child-to-parent abuse (CPA) isn’t typical, though it’s likely underreported. This is in large part because of an ingrained cultural belief that anger, sullenness, and moodiness are hallmarks of adolescent behavior.

Experiencing CPA can also bring on feelings of shame, leading people to live longer with the abuse in secret.

You don’t have to live with abuse. There are resources to help you, outlined here.

Child-to-parent abuse occurs when a minor child (under age 18) or young adult (between ages 18–25) living in your home abuses you physically or verbally, emotionally, or financially in an effort to dominate or exert control in your space. You may feel powerless to do anything when it happens.

The abuse may be violent and physically aggressive, but may also be more secretive, involving threats or coercion. But the pattern of cruelty signifies abuse.

One study looking at 60 years of available research on CPA found that anywhere from 5–21% of families are affected by physical CPA.

In 97% of CPA cases, the mother was the person being abused, 83% of the time by a son, according to research. Daughters are more likely to use emotional or verbal abuse tactics than sons.

The different types of child-to-parent abuse

Abusive behavior can manifest in many ways, including:

  • Physical: Your child may hit you, throw things at you, damage your property, or harm family pets.
  • Verbal: They may taunt you or call you names.
  • Emotional: Your child may threaten you with harm to you or to themselves if you don’t do what they want. They may intimidate you by following you around or relentlessly texting you.
  • Financial: Your child may steal money from you or rack up credit card debt on your accounts, or they may demand a large sum of money if you don’t do something they want.

Risk factors

Domestic violence

Children exposed to domestic violence in their homes — often partner to partner — are more likely to be violent or cruel towards their parents as adolescents, according to research.

A 2017 study also found that CPA was more likely in study participants that came from families affected by domestic violence.

There was also an increased risk for CPA when a court or psychiatric clinic referred participants for a study, pointing to the correlation between CPA and criminal activity or mental health conditions.

Understanding that CPA is also a form of domestic violence may open more doors for intervention, both between adults in a household and between you and your child.

Antisocial behavior

Antisocial behavior or a lack of empathy towards others at home and especially in other situations, like school, can be an indicator that your child may also be violent toward you.

If your child’s teachers, coaches, or other authority figures report that your child is aggressive towards them or to their peers, or shows a lack of empathy in social situations, pay closer attention for signs of emerging or active CPA.

Mental health conditions

Some mental health conditions seem to coincide with CPA, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, and depression. However, not all children diagnosed with these disorders will be violent.

Reactive attachment disorder and conduct disorder are also common diagnoses related to the phenomenon of CPA.

You may be experiencing CPA if certain factors are true for you:

  • You’re changing your behavior to accommodate your child’s behavior or in response to threats.
  • Your child is violent towards you. All children will act out, but violent behavior that puts your safety or that of others at risk isn’t normal.
  • Your child threatens violence towards you if you don’t do what they want.
  • Your child threatens suicide if you don’t do what they want. Take all threats of self-harm very seriously, even if you suspect that they’re a form of manipulation.
  • Your child threatens others or is cruel to household pets, or both.
  • Your child’s school reports that your child is rude to their teachers or has little to no social interaction with their classmates.
  • Your child threatens to call in a professional — a social worker, a therapist, the police — if their demands aren’t met.
  • You feel like you’re walking on eggshells to maintain the peace between you and your child, or between your child and other members of your household, like other children you may be protecting.

Living with and overcoming an abusive situation requires professional and sometimes legal support.

Individual therapy

Speak to a therapist about what you’re experiencing. Therapy may help you come to terms with what you have experienced in your own home and help you plan ways to stay safe.

If you need help finding a therapist, start here.

Family therapy

Family therapy focused on strengthening familial bonds and teaching non-aggressive disciplinary methods can help empower you to understand that your child’s abuse isn’t normal and to adjust your own responses to your child’s behavior.

Here are resources for finding a family therapist near you.

Support groups

The blog Raising Devon, written by a woman who experienced CPA, contains resources for finding a support group for other parents experiencing violence from their children. If you’re interested in starting a support group, here are some tips for doing so.

Juvenile justice programs

Programs like Seattle’s Step-Up, which conducts teenage family violence interventions, exist in many cities and counties.

If your child’s violent or coercive behavior has led you to call the police and the court system is involved, becoming part of a program like this can help you and your family access individual and family counseling, create safety plans, and educate you and your child about what’s happening.

For legal and therapy purposes, discreetly document all the problematic interactions you have with your teenager.

Creating a safety plan

If you’re afraid for your physical safety or that of other family members, try to leave your home and get to a safe place immediately, then call 911 or a trusted loved one.

If things haven’t escalated to that point, it’s still a good idea to have a safety plan. You can use this tool from the National Domestic Violence Hotline to create one.

A safety plan includes:

  • where to go or whom to contact for shelter
  • a list of important things to pack, like documents and technology
  • how to get pets and children out of harm’s way

Remember that this situation isn’t something to feel ashamed of. Help is available, and this doesn’t have to be your reality forever.

Reach out to a few close family members and friends to let them know what’s going on. Acknowledging the situation is a good step forward, and your loved ones will also be a solid support system for you as you navigate next steps.

Aggressive, coercive, cruel, and violent behavior isn’t normal adolescent behavior and can be a sign of CPA.

You can access help if you are being abused by your child. If your child’s situation requires more than individual or family therapy, there are juvenile justice and even residential programs available to help them and to help you stabilize your home.

Raising Devon has many articles on CPA that you may find informative or relatable.

Don’t give up hope. While it’s normal to feel shame, know that this abuse isn’t an outcome of poor parenting.

You can feel safe in your home again, get your teenager the help they need, and eventually can work on building a safe and healthy relationship with them.

Get help for domestic violence

  • Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 for free, confidential, 24/7 care and support.
  • Visit the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), a domestic violence prevention advocacy group with a list of resources for relationship abuse help.

What to do with the rudeness of a teenager



How to raise a child?

What to do with the rudeness of a teenager

  • Tags:
  • Expert advice
  • teenager
  • children in the family
  • family relationships

When we suddenly realize that yesterday's baby is already the same height as us, is bold and has hormonal changes, the first thing we feel is confusion and even fear. Changes often occur abruptly and suddenly, and we ask ourselves the question: “How to behave with him now, what to do?”.

Two extremes of behavior

Many parents in such a situation fall into a stupor and freeze in the hope that soon this will pass by itself. A parent who is frightened and unsure of himself and his position is fertile ground for the emergence of conflicts, verbal skirmishes and rudeness on the part of a teenager. In such conditions, he begins to allow himself what is unacceptable even in a situation of changing his status.

Read also

Support for teenage initiative: pros and cons

Peculiarities of the manifestation of a crisis in adolescence

There is another extreme - when parents try with all their might to return the old communication scheme: they want to reserve the right to make decisions alone, they demand unquestioning obedience on the part of the child, while showing an extreme degree of authoritarianism. This leads to the fact that the parent reacts very sharply to any manifestation of impudence and disobedience on the part of the child. As a result, the conflict becomes even stronger, or the child “breaks down”, becomes quiet and “comfortable”, thereby not fulfilling the important tasks of adolescence in preparing for independent living.

How to find a golden mean in communication so that the interests of both teenagers and parents are taken into account?

How to cope with the rudeness of a growing child?

Give your teenager the right to emotions. Teenagers should treat violent emotions as normal. It is typical for the crisis age that the child begins to present himself more sharply and boorishly. A teenager will conflict, provoke, question authority - all this is part of the process of separation from parents, gaining independence and independence. This important task for adolescence is realized through painful relationships and confrontation.

Recognize the adolescent's right to emotions. He can get angry and express his dissatisfaction, and very often this manifests itself in a completely healthy way. For example, it is absolutely acceptable if the child does not always want to listen to you, rolls his eyes during a conversation, slams doors, forbids you to enter his room, or says: “None of your business, I will figure it out myself.” All this must be experienced with restraint and understanding. Rather, a parent should be alarmed that a child in adolescence does not do this and behaves accommodatingly, because this means that the separation process has not begun for some reason.

Don't let your teen overstep boundaries. Despite the fact that we should treat rudeness as a norm, it is necessary to keep the border. You must show your teenager that even as he grows and his sense of himself changes, you are the head of the family by right of status, and your place in the hierarchy is unshakable. You just understand that the child is growing up, and sometimes you allow him to be cheeky, but there is a limit to everything, and you should not forget about respect for parents.

It is unacceptable for a teenager to use foul language and offensive words addressed to you, “send” you in the presence of third parties (for example, at a party, at school, in public places, etc.). Don't pretend like nothing happened. Such attempts must be stopped immediately. Very slowly, in a calm, impressive tone, looking straight into the eyes, you need to explain to the teenager that this is unacceptable under any circumstances, even if he is very annoyed. Do not break into a cry like: “Yes, how dare you talk to your mother (father) like that!”. By doing so, you show your weakness and demonstrate your inability to cope with the situation.

Read also

Peculiarities of gender education of adolescents

A teenager does not want anything

And of course, do not call your child names yourself. Not only because it is also a manifestation of weakness, and in general is not acceptable in dealing with children of any age, but also because insults, humiliation of dignity and diminishment of mental abilities (“You are completely stupid!”, “How can you be so fool?!”, “Where are your brains?!” etc.) hurts a teenager very much and irreversibly affects his self-esteem. Do not forget that after adolescence, the child becomes an independent adult. Surely you do not want him to grow up as a downtrodden, insecure person who is afraid to declare himself to the world.

Negotiate with your teenager. Very often behind the undesirable behavior of a teenager, important needs and interests are hidden. To minimize conflict situations, it's time to sit down with the child at the negotiating table. Parents can no longer impose their own ideas about what should and what should not be imposed on him - now decisions are made jointly. We must accept that we have ceased to be the parents of a baby, but have become the parents of a person who has his own opinion and his own values.

Considering the opinion of a teenager, taking into account his needs and interests, finding compromises - this is what parents have to learn. For example, a teenager can no longer be confronted with the fact how you will spend the weekend - his own plans must also be taken into account. The child grows up - he needs his own space.

If you have mutual agreements and a clear idea of ​​how you should live now, then there will be fewer reasons for rudeness on the part of a teenager.

Despite the fact that during the period of growing up a teenager becomes uncomfortable and conflicted, he, as before, needs support, love and understanding from his parents. If he knows that he is still believed in and reckoned with, all the difficulties of adolescence will then become common warm memories that you will smile more than once with your adult children.

Irina Korneeva ,
psychologist of the site "I am a Parent"

Your relationship with a teenager

The teenager does not want to communicate, you are unable to negotiate peacefully - what to do in such a situation? Take the quiz and get information about your parenting style and your teen's perspective on how you parent them.

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What to do if you are faced with disrespect from a teenager: advice from a psychologist for parents

According to psychologists, the most emotionally stressful years for a family are the time of adolescence of children. The child changes externally and internally, which causes incredible stress. Every day he experiences completely different feelings, the reasons for which he does not always understand. And often parents, including adoptive ones, face such a problem as disrespect from their daughter or son. Snezhana Verizhenko, a psychologist at the Yunona Family Education Assistance Center, talks about how to cope with this phenomenon.

Create a safe space for growing up

« Despite the difficulties, adolescence is an important part of a person's life, the transition from childhood to adulthood. A teenager is preparing to part with dependence on parents. This is a long process, it will not happen overnight. If parents at this time provide the teenager with the attention, care, love, discipline, balance, acceptance, understanding that the teenager needs, then the difficult period can pass calmly. If your children go through adolescence without drastic changes, feeling love and understanding boundaries, then they will be better prepared for an independent adult life and will be able to actively and successfully play all roles in it ,” says Snezhana Verizhenko.

Therefore, one of the most important parental tasks during this period of a child's life is preparing him for growing up, and this requires a safe space. We are talking about healthy boundaries of what is permitted and the structure of education.

Teenagers at this time, as a rule, are torn apart by contradictions, internal conflicts between thoughts and feelings. Contradictions reveal themselves: dependence on parents and the desire to be completely free from them; immersion in oneself and activity in communication with the outside world; attachment to home and preoccupation with friends; sanity and emotional impulsivity.

Why teenagers don't respect

Respect is showing respect for a person because of his importance or social status. When teenagers disrespect, they make it clear that they do not honor the person, feelings, needs, rules and standards of a person. Disrespect is easy to recognize by the look, tone of voice, facial expressions, unwillingness to obey, devaluation of opinion. Disrespect can be shown towards parents, teachers, relatives, neighbors, strangers and even peers.

The reasons for the manifestation of disrespect in a child may be his excessive attention to himself, the growth of independence, a change in authority, anger. Teenagers are selfish, they tend to narcissism. It is difficult for them to pay attention to what others say, they listen more to themselves and to their peers, whom they bow to.

The more teenagers are self-absorbed, the less respect they show to others. This is why parents often feel like they've been cut out of a child's life. Teenagers are becoming smarter and stronger, and therefore intend to be more independent, mobile and free. It is the feeling of growing up that contributes to the fact that children become less involved and attentive to the feelings and thoughts of others, and therefore people who think differently annoy teenagers.

The change of authority occurs for the same reason: teenagers feel more free and independent. The desire for independence leads them to reject any adult person with a certain power or authority. They want to be their own bosses, not to be accountable to anyone.

Bearing in mind that the task of age is separation from parents and gaining independence, the challenge to adult authority is not so bad in itself. And it is useful for a teenager to resolve another contradiction between trust and denial of authority. However, this can open the way to disregard for the feelings, desires, rules, values ​​of parents, in extreme cases, develop into open disobedience.

Another reason for disrespect is the anger caused by the pressures of the dark sides of adolescence. A teenager can be sarcastic, aggressive, dismissive, cruel, and not regret it.

Five Rules for Parents

  • Rule 1: Be a person worthy of respect A teenager does not need perfect parents, but he must see in you an image that he would like to imitate. He needs guidelines for what he himself would like to become. Your child should respect you, but it is difficult for him to do this when he sees that you do not work on your own character and problems or live according to the principle of "do what I say, not what I do."
  • Rule 2. Accept that the teenager is entitled to his or her own opinions and feelings. Therefore, learn to give place to disagreements and anger. When a child does not agree with you, do not try to end the discontent as you did when he was nine years old, otherwise he will close and resist your attitude. Instead of arguing, use a simple technique that works in most cases: say that you are interested in his thought, and ask why he thinks so. Then the child will not show disobedience, but will convey to you his desires or preferences.
  • Rule 3: Demand respect. Adolescents have the right to disagree and anger, but they must express it in a respectful manner. Explain to the child the difference between disagreement and disrespect, draw a line of demarcation by saying, for example, the following: “I don’t mind if you disagree with me on something. I see that you are even angry with me, and I understand why. Your behavior shows what problems need to be solved. But I want you to know that I don't tolerate disrespect. By disrespect, I mean the following: rolling your eyes when I talk to you, sarcastic remarks, disrespectful tone, raising your voice, swearing, insults. There is probably something else that I haven’t come across yet, but as soon as I hear it from you, I will definitely tell you about it.”
    Do not agree with the rudeness and disrespect of a teenager, do not miss the opportunity to tell him about it, even if it is inconvenient or difficult. Turn to other people for help and support if you yourself are exhausted, tired of fighting with a teenager. But in any case, try to maintain the position that rude and disrespectful attitude towards people is unacceptable.
  • Rule 4: Be an example of what you want to teach your teenager. It is parents who are the main teachers in resolving disagreements and establishing mutual understanding, so set the right example and do not shift the responsibility for cultivating a respectful attitude towards people to others. If you are easily offended by straightforwardness or you tend to criticize, if you are quick-tempered or question the authority of loved ones, work on yourself, otherwise you will soon see the same thing in your growing child.
  • Rule 5. Be consistent in your punishments. As you have already noticed, children are ready to test your strength every hour of their lives. And when they are in their teens, you need to be especially prepared for your child to check your words.

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