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This page is an excerpt from:
How Abusive Men Parent
This material is summarized from Lundy Bancroft & Jay Silverman (2002). The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
If an abusive man involves himself in child discipline, he has rigid expectations, low empathy and an angry style of "power-assertive" (i.e. verbal and physical force) punishment. Discipline is a quick fix to an immediate problem, not a thoughtful strategy based upon reasonable and age-appropriate expectations. He may see himself as a superior parent and not listen to input from his partner. He may swing between authoritarian and permissive, even neglectful, parenting.
Low Involvement, Neglect & Irresponsibility
While children must respect his authority, their daily care is the mother's responsibility, especially routine or less pleasant duties such as diapers and homework. He may be unaffectionate with children and find excuses to avoid coming home. He is unlikely to sacrifice his needs to meet family responsibilities. His praise and attention, so rarely bestowed, may be highly valued by children. Neglect can alternate with periods of authoritarian control.
Undermining of the Mother
Overruling her decisions, ridiculing her in front of the children, portraying himself as the only legitimate parenting authority. Contempt towards his partner shows children it is okay to insult and even physically abuse her.
Selfishly expecting the status and rewards of fatherhood with- out sacrifices or responsibilities. May resist changes to his lifestyle when a baby is born. Can be enraged by normal behaviour such as crying in infants. Expects children to meet his needs (e.g., listen to his troubles, provide affection, or keep him company when he is in the mood).
Confuses children about blame for the violence and who is the better parent.
Ability to Perform Under Observation
During professional evaluations or in social situations, some abusive men can seem to be loving and attentive fathers. The contrast between public and private behaviour may be stark. Children may feel most comfortable with him in public places.
Issues to keep in mind....
Some abusive partners can appear to be kind and dependable parents
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Find more information on domestic violence and abusive relationships in these two new resources from 2008.
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