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Characteristics of Abusive Adults

Adults who abuse a child/ children will often share several of the following characteristics.

Substance Abuse: Studies have shown a direct relationship between drugs and/or alcohol and the occurrence of abuse.

History of Abuse as a Child: Children learn from adults.  A child who is raised in a home where violence is used to solve problems will likely react in the same way.

Isolation: The adult lacks the physical and emotional support they need from friends, family and their community. He or she will rarely participate in activities.

Poor self-concept: The adult sees himself or herself as worthless, bad or unlovable. 

Immaturity: The adult can be easily irritated and overwhelmed by everyday problems.

Lack of parenting skills: The adult does not understand a child’s needs and often feels the child is being disobedient when he or she is not able to meet the adults expectation.

Unmet emotional needs: The adult has difficulty showing warmth, love and support and are unable to provide the child with these feelings. 

Abusive Adults may

  • be rigid
  • be mean
  • be easily angered
  • be demanding
  • be irrational
  • be incapable of child rearing
  • believe in the need for harsh physical discipline
  • react to the child with impatience or annoyance
  • not show affection/ concern towards the child
  • crave power
  • have mental health problems