Child to parent domestic abuse

Domestic violence and abuse can be experienced between family members regardless of gender or relationship. Child/adolescent to parent abuse is a common and often hidden form of family violence and abuse.

Child/adolescent to parent domestic abuse can be understood as a harmful act which is designed to gain power and control over a parent. The abuse can be physical, psychological, or financial.

Child to parent violence is an abuse of power through which the child or adolescent attempts to use coercive control and dominate others in the family and should not be confused with childhood testing of boundaries.

Parents may report the following:

  • Threatening or using violence when their demands are not met. This may include damage to possessions and house fittings.
  • Using psychological and emotional abuse to wear the parents down – this might include attempts to degrade, humiliate or embarrass parents and other family members.
  • Threatening that will leave home if you do not do what they want.

The presence of child/adolescent to parent abuse may indicate a host of other risks including harm, trauma and dysfunction prompted by:

  • Domestic abuse in the home – whether current or in the past
  • Mental health difficulties for parent or child/adolescent
  • Substance misuse issues amongst members of the household, including the adolescent
  • Children having been forced to participate in abuse by the perpetrator, whether as witnesses or having been encouraged to participate with the perpetrator
  • Negative external peer influence

If you feel you need support in this area, you can contact PAC-UK: PAC-UK | Child & Family Service (