The tactics of Power and Control are the hallmarks of an abusive man, whether or not physical violence is used. The consequences of these tactics for women are well documented and understood and include erosion of self-esteem, living in chronic fear, health challenges, and lack of self-determination.

How might power and control tactics affect a woman as she parents her children?

Woman believes she is an inadequate parent.

    • Woman portrayed by abuser as unfit mother, cause of children’s deficits.
    • Fears having her children taken by CFS.
    • Is frustrated in attempts to create structure or to be consistent.
    • Children may have problems at school, in neighbourhood, fuelling her belief she is a bad parent.

Woman loses the respect of some or all children.

    • Some children see her as legitimate target of abuse.
    • Children disregard her parental authority, don’t follow her rules.
    • Children may grow to devalue or be ashamed of mother.

Woman believes twisted excuses abuser provides for his behaviour.

    • Believes abuse is her fault so tries to modify her behaviour.
    • Believes abuse is her fault so feels guilty about its effect on children.
    • Believes abuse is linked to alcohol or stress.
    • Believes abuse is culturally or religiously appropriate.
    • Believes men and boys should have more privileges and power in the family.

Woman changes her parenting style in response to abuser’s parenting style.

    • Is to permissive in response to authoritarian parenting of abuser.
    • Is too authoritarian to try and keep children from annoying abuser.
    • Makes age-inappropriate or unreasonable demands on children to placate abuser.
    • Is afraid to use discipline because the children have been through so much.
    • Left to do all the demanding parts of parenting while he engages in fun parts

Children and Domestic Abuse