Anger is an emotion that is felt by everyone; including children and adolescents. In fact, most adolescents express healthy anger, engage in conflict or experience frustration, especially during the transition from being children to becoming young adults. However, this anger is not to be confused with abuse or violence. 

While it is not a subject that is often spoken about, in certain situations children can be violent towards their parents. In fact, the term Child to Parent Violence (CPV) or Adolescent to Parent Violence (APVA) are terms that describe any actions or behavior that the young person uses to exert control, to dominate or to coerce their parents. These actions can be threatening and intimidating, and can put the family’s safety at risk. Child to Parent Violence can take many different shapes including; physical (such as hitting, kicking, throwing things at the person), emotional, psychological and verbal (such as verbal, emotional or psychological intimidation, threatening) as well as financial (such as incurring debts that the parent is responsible for). 

We may find that the subject of Child to Parent Violence can be a taboo topic; which is why many choose to not talk about it. In fact, is it not uncommon for parents who are being subject to such violence to experience shame and humiliation. Some may feel as though they have failed as parents, or are perhaps questioning their parenting abilities. Others may also find it difficult to see that their child is being violent towards them, and may believe that this behavior is part of their child’s process of growing up, or reacting to stress, or perhaps a result of mood swings. 

Child to Parent Violence can be a very complex situation, especially if the child has experienced family violence themselves, or perhaps has experienced grief or loss. This means that the child and the family would need professional support in order to address these difficulties; and while it is very important to address underlying difficulties (if there are any), it does not mean that violence, of any kind and from any person, is to be excused.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Rebecca Cassar is a Family Therapist practicing the Systemic Approach. She specializes in offering therapy to families, couples and individuals who are experiencing distress in their relationships. She can be contacted on or call us on 79291817