Why do parents abuse their children?

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It is hard to comprehend why anyone would abuse a child, least of all their parents. It is easy to judge; to say, "I would never do such a thing" but sometimes not easy to do. The only difference between you and them is that right now you know where to draw the line and they have lost sight of it. Any parent is capable of losing control of their reactions or behavior. 'There but for the grace of God go I'. That saying holds true in any version that has meaning to you. 

There is a school of thought that abuse is about power and control. Who better to overpower and control than little people who can't defend themselves and who conveniently live under the same roof?  That particularly applies when life seems to be spinning out of control. Abusers try even harder to hang on to what they can control. It is likely, then, that in this economy and/or with family away defending the country for months or years, abuse is at a high level including abuse of children.

Sometimes, when parents are stressed they turn to alcohol for relief and that in turn weakens their ability to control their behavior, leading to abuse. For some abusers, they know no other way to relate to children because that is the only relationship they had with their parents and the only way people related to each other in their surroundings as a child. Relationship patterns repeat themselves because, good or bad, that's what the child learned and how they conduct themselves as adults. 

If you are a lucky parent, you recognize when life is spinning out of control and can reach out for help, regaining your equilibrium. There is no shame in getting help. Quite the opposite. You can learn new and better ways to cope with the hard times that inevitably come your way. By learning new methods of coping, you will also be teaching your children better ways to relate when they become parents. If you need to reach out, call your health care provider, local public health unit, spiritual leader, or a local shelter for abused women or children. They will know where to direct you.

Continue Learning about Child Abuse

Child Abuse

In most cases of child abuse, the abuser is someone the child knows; parent, relative, or family friend. Abuse can be emotional, neglect, sexual, or physical abuse. All types of abuse can cause permanent mental or emotional damage ...

to the child as they age. Many will turn to alcohol or drug use, and some may become withdrawn and depressed.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.