Child abuse comes in many forms: physical, sexual, emotional and psychological, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you recognize that you are an abusive parent, you may understand that you must take action to stop abusing your child. Recognizing the need to stop is not the same as taking affirmative steps to cease abusive activity. If you are sincere in your desire to stop abusing your child, an immediate step that you must take is to remove yourself from the physical presence of the child. In other words, you must not have contact with your child until the issues giving rise to your abusive conduct are resolved.
Engage the services of a mental health or drug abuse therapist or counselor. Nearly all cases of parental abuse involve an underlying mental health or drug abuse issue. You must deal with one or both of these issues before you can begin to make any progress toward treating your child in a healthy and appropriate manner, according to "Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect" by Cynthia Crosson-Tower.
Consider in-patient treatment. Merely going to a therapist or counselor on an out-patient basis may not be enough to bring an end to your abusive conduct.
Request that the child's other parent or guardian consider permitting you limited, supervised visits with the child. As a step to stopping a pattern of abuse, you need to begin the long process of construction healthy interactions with your child. The first, tentative step in that direction is limited, supervised visitations.
Enroll in a basic parenting class. Odds are you lack many basic parenting skills necessary to develop and maintain a healthy relationship with your child.
Enter into an anger management program. Uncontrolled anger, even if rooted in a drug or mental health issue, needs to be managed as part of your overall course of bringing an end to your abusive conduct.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: State Laws on Child Abuse and Neglect
- "Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect"; Cynthia Crosson-Tower; 2009
- "Child Abuse and Culture: Working with Diverse Families"; Lisa Aronson Fontes; 2008