Parent Abuse Defined

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Domestic violence, in California, is defined as abuse that takes place against a spouse, former spouse, the person with whom one lives or lived, one’s significant other or former significant other, the person with whom one has children, one’s child or against anyone else who is related by blood or marriage within the second degree. The definition pertaining to domestic abuse seems to include almost everyone. Specifically looking at the last category, the definition seems to include a child’s abuse toward his or her parent. Unfortunately, while this type of abuse definitely exists, it receives very little attention and therefore leaves parents in this situation wondering if there is anything they can do about this problem or anyone they can turn to for legal advice.

The caring attorneys at the Kavinoky Law Firm specialize in California’s D.V. crimes and in all of the different types of cases that may be prosecuted under this category of offenses. Parents who find themselves facing this family violence problem can take comfort in knowing that help is available and that the supportive, compassionate attorneys at the Kavinoky Firm can lead a parent victim in the right direction.

Parents are often the silent victims of domestic violence. Spousal or intimate partner abuse is widely recognized, as is any form of child abuse. Parent abuse, however, often flies under the radar, even though it is as real and destructive as the other two categories of abuse. When a child, under the age of 18, engages in behavior that is intentionally harmful to his or her parent and is used as a way to control that parent, he or she is abusing that parent. The abuse, much like intimate partner abuse or child abuse, can be physical or emotional and takes place in families without respect to race, religion, education or financial status.

The parent-child relationship is not an equal relationship. It is a parent’s job to protect the child, to provide for the child and to discipline the child. Children require protection and direction from their parents. When this dynamic either flips or becomes nonexistent, it invites the potential for abuse. It should be noted that not all defiant or resistant behavior is abusive, as all children – and particularly teenagers – go through phases to show their independence. However, when the behavior is clearly intended to exert control over a parent either through violence, threats or manipulation, that parent is being abused and must seek help.

Physical parent abuse can take the form of hitting, punching, pushing, damaging the home (for example, punching a hole in the wall), or throwing things. This list is by no means complete, it is just a small example of the types of ways that a child may physically abuse his or her parent. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, this type of behavior may be considered criminal and could result in prosecution.

Emotional abuse, including verbal abuse, is used to terrorize or control a parent. It may include, but is not limited to, threats (either physical threats of violence or manipulative threats, such as threatening to commit suicide, run away, or to otherwise hurt him or herself with no intention of really doing so), degradation, lying, running away, yelling and swearing at the parent.

Financial abuse takes place when a child steals from his or her parents, sells his or her parent’s belongings or incurs debts that the parents are legally responsible for paying.

Parents who are being abused by their children can contact their local juvenile detention agency to see if they have programs that may be able to punish and rehabilitate their children. Resources are also available in the form of counseling and classes to help curb abusive behavior. Speaking with a criminal lawyer may also be helpful to determine if the abusive behavior is, in fact, criminal and what legal options are available. To speak to an attorney about parent abuse, click here for a free consultation.