Domestic Violence Support for Adolescent on Parent Abuse

Posted on December 11th, 2019

Domestic violence is a huge issue across the country. In Pennsylvania, 123 victims died from domestic violence incidents in 2018 and 67% of those individuals were killed by a former or current intimate partner. 

But domestic violence is not just an issue for intimate partners. Families across the country are facing domestic violence incidents by the hands of their child. 

In a November NPR article entitled, When Teens Abuse Parents, Shame and Secrecy Make It Hard to Seek Help, one Illinois family express the horrors of domestic violence they face at the hands of their adopted 15-year-old son. 

In the article, the mother, Jenn, explains, “parenting her son often feels like being stuck in an abusive relationship…..Jenn says any time she sees a news story about a child who has killed a parent, she worries. Such events are extremely rare, and Jenn doesn’t want to think her son is capable of that.”

A 2017 study found that adolescent-on-parents abuse often goes unreported due to lack of support and understanding for that very reason. 

How can you find support if you face violence at the hands of your child?

Know the signs of Domestic Violence

Just as Jenn doesn’t want to believe her child could be capable of a heinous act, many parents don’t think their child could do such a thing. But knowing the warning signs can help protect you and your family.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers the following as common signs of abuse:

  • Demeaning comments or names
  • Threatening comments against you, your pet(s) or family members
  • Does not take responsibility for actions

Listening to the narratives.

In a City University of New York dissertation, “Exploring Narratives of Adolescent-to-Parent Abuse,” scholars found that the parents interviewed for the study experienced “significant emotional and physical abuse, further compounded by the negative effects on the parent-child relationship, parenting, and parent identity.” Furthermore, the abuse endured on the parents often had harmful effects on other children in the household. 

Many parents who find themselves victims in these situations often feel a need to still provide basic necessities to their children even if it places the parent in danger. 

How to seek help.

There is no science in identifying abuse or violence by a child against a parent. But you may start to notice signs that need reporting. 

To address domestic abuse:

If you are in need of shelter while you seek representation, there are numerous programs and shelters across the state for victims and their children. 

Get The Guidance And Advocacy You Need from an Experienced Domestic Violence Attorney

Our Scranton domestic violence attorney is available to assist in your protection from abuse petitions, seeking representation and guiding you on protecting your family. To arrange a confidential, free initial consultation with a strong family law advocate, contact us online or call (570) 207-4000.

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Craig Kalinoski
Craig Kalinoski

Craig P. Kalinoski is a respected attorney serving clients in Scranton, Pennsylvania. With a focus on Family Law, Criminal Defense, and Civil Rights, he has established himself as a top-rated legal professional. Recognized as a Rising Star and admired by peers, Craig's commitment to excellence sets him apart in the legal field.


We fight for the rights of our clients in a wide spectrum of practice areas, ranging from criminal defense to family law and personal injury.

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