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What do you do if a member of your family is emotionally abusive towards children?

15 Answers
Last Updated: 05/28/2018 at 5:28am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
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Catherine Demirdogucu, Level 4 Diploma with Merit. CBT and Mindfulness Practitioner.


It takes courage and strength to seek help. My desire is to help my clients express themselves and grow in confidence, my support is offered in a nonjudgmental manner.

Top Rated Answers
January 19th, 2015 1:39am
This is a tough question, because this can manifest in so many ways, and for so many reasons. The first thing I'd suggest is to be completely objective about this, because being emotionally abusive means different things for different people. For some people, a measure of embarrassing their children in public, or berating them loudly is a means for them to instil some discipline in them. It may be that what you see of them is not an accurate indicator of what goes on most of the time in their home. In such cases, you would be wise to consider: does the parent have the child's best interests at heart, or are they simply venting? If you see a family member really terrorising their child and you believe that it is getting out of control, you may try dropping a hint to them or gently telling them that it may be hurting their children in private. For some parents, this could be a wake-up call or an opportunity to reflect on their parenting methods. If you see a family member, however, resisting any suggestions otherwise, and maintaining an abusive environment for their children, then the question once again must be asked: does the parent have the child's best interests in mind? If you do think that the parent is hurting the child, and the child would be better off elsewhere, then you should consider notifying the authorities.
March 13th, 2015 7:16pm
Try talk to them, they often don't recognize what they're doing towards the children they're talking to. They're often of their mind. Reflect what they just did or said,and they will start thinking about their own actions.
February 15th, 2015 10:55am
Try to reason with them up to a certain degree. If it still doesn't stop, that member should seek therapy.
June 3rd, 2015 7:36am
If someone in your family is being abusive in any way or form and the abuse escalates to a level where it's harmful, talk to a trusted adult or report the member to your local authority.
June 7th, 2015 3:51pm
I'm not really getting if they are abusive toward you but if they are, speak to an adult you trust (It could be a teacher or an aunt or whoever) and ask them to help you to solve it- maybe you want o get a therapist- someone who can ask you how your'e trully doing or someone who will ask this abusive person.
June 17th, 2015 4:18am
I used to be that child, it's how I found this site actually. I encourage you to be there for them, tell them you love them and stick up for them if possible.
Anonymous - Expert in Family Stress
November 12th, 2015 9:51am
Do not allow children to be around that person until the person gets better, get the person some serious help, and be sure not to cause any conflict. You want a peaceful resolution to this problem
May 24th, 2016 6:35pm
Tell the police and file a complaint of abuse towards a child. No child deserves to be abused, so you should stop them if you can.
May 30th, 2016 5:53pm
I think talking with the child would be good so I can offer any type of support and maybe get a better feel of the situation. If I could do so safely, I would talk about it with other family members, hopefully with the parent of the child if they're not the abusers. I would try and raise awareness and depending on my relationship with the abuser, I would maybe consider trying to get him/her to see how abusive they're being.
May 31st, 2016 6:32pm
It can be hard sometimes to face the fact that someone you are so close to- your own blood- may not be the best person. Some things are not so serious, and can be ignored. But we have to speak out for those who don't have a voice, and when it comes to child abuse, by law you are required to report any concerns you might have. I know it's hard, and it feels like a breach of trust. But abuse has a tendancy to escalate, and if you don't speak out now, you may find yourself regretting your decisions later.
June 7th, 2016 11:35pm
Confront them and explain to them what they're doing is not the right thing and that they are going to mess up their childs future.
June 27th, 2016 9:19pm
immediately report the abuse and the adult to the police, a hospital, or a child protection service. do not worry about getting in trouble - it is urgent.
July 5th, 2016 6:39am
Tell them. Chances are they are not aware how their behavior is affecting the children. Don't expect them to change behavior overnight. In all likelihood, if they don't know what they are doing wrong; they will not know what they are doing right. give them step by step guidance, may be counseling. This is when they are open to change. There is a possibility that they dont want to change or are on purpose being abusive towards children. In that scenario, you need to take an action which is more stringent. take the children away from the abusive environment. You dont want children to have the long term emotional impact. Either way some action is required. you need to address the issue as soon as possible
August 22nd, 2017 9:35am
Seek help for the child immediately. Abuse of anyone is unacceptable and needs to be dealt with swiftly to ensure the protection of all. I would call the appropriate authorities to handle the matter.
May 28th, 2018 5:28am
If a member of my family is emotionally abusive towards children, I would sit them down and ask them what are their motives and show them how much they are harming others.