Abuse Tactics: Bad Parenting

Bad parenting is all about using your children to control you, either by your making life with or without them impossible, turning them against you, encouraging you to neglect them (in favour of the abuser), or by using the threat of them being taken away as a way of getting you to something. An abuser using this tactic doesn’t have to be the other parent of your children, or even a parent at all; any tactic that involves your children directly or indirectly, falls into this category.

It’s very unlikely that any one abuser would use all these tactics, and there will be many ways of using your children not mentioned here. So, don’t feel you’re overreacting if you don’t see all these particular tactics – you’re not. Every situation is different.

Examples of an Abuser’s Bad Parenting
  • Refuses to look after the children.
  • Undermines your rules for the children.
  • Gropes/seduces you in front of the children.
  • Makes you feel weak / guilty for showing the children affection, even when they’re ill or injured.
  • Doesn’t make the children wear seat belts, or doesn’t strap them in properly.
  • Is late to pick them up and bring them home.
  • Changes plans at the last minute.
  • Scares the children with his/her driving, and refuses to slow down when they ask.
  • Accuses you of denying access to the children when they don’t want to see him/her.
  • Won’t let the children into your bed or bedroom.
  • Locks the children in their rooms.
  • Winds the children up with chasing games or tickling before bedtime.
  • Doesn’t read with them or help them with their homework.
  • Encourages them to answer back to you, or be violent towards you.
  • Criticises or pokes fun of you in front of the children.
  • Spends money that you needed for the children’s clothes, shoes, food, clubs, etc.
  • Picks a fight in front of the children so you can’t respond or defend yourself.
  • Disrupts the morning routine, so you’re late getting the children to school.
  • Turns the children against you.
  • Breaks or throws out their toys.
  • Harms or threatens to harm them.
  • Won’t pay any child maintenance, or doesn’t pay the full amount, or pays late.
  • Lies about his assets and/or income to avoid providing for the children.
  • Doesn’t bring the children home on time.
  • Doesn’t feed them properly, or provide the things they need, when he has care of them.
  • Drinks/takes drugs when the children are there.
  • Encourages you to take drink/take drugs, so you can’t look after the children properly.
  • Threatens to call social services to have the children taken away.
  • Keeps you in a state of depression / dependency so you can’t look after the children effectively.
  • Refuses to work and/or refuses to look after the children so you can work.

Please leave a comment below if you would like to add a bad-parenting tactic.

Please DON’T challenge an abuser, or try to leave a relationship, without getting help first.
There are organisations that can help you work out what to do, and help to keep you (and your children) safe from further physical and/or psychological harm. If you are in the UK, please see the Where to Get Help page for more information. If you are outside the UK, Google your country’s abuse charities – there will be people to help you.

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