Is there abuse or violence in your home? If so, there are some important things you need to know.
There are different kinds of abuse. Abuse is using pain, fear or humiliation to get your way. Abuse can be:
There is no excuse for abuse. Abuse has no place in a healthy relationship. Period. It's OK to have strong feelings, but it's not OK to express them by hurting others. No one has a right to abuse another person. And no one deserves to be abused. Ever.
You are not to blame.
If there is violence in your home, whether against a parent, one of your siblings, or you, you are not to blame. People who are abusive or violent are responsible for their actions.
You are not alone. Abuse is an ugly secret in many homes. Lots of other children and teens experience abuse at home. More importantly, there is help for these people:
If there is abuse or violence in your home, get help.
If you or someone in your family is the victim of abuse or violence, get help right away! You may want to protect your family by not breaking a family secret, but it’s very important that you get help.
If you or someone else in your family is in immediate DANGER, you can take these steps:
If you aren't feeling safe at home, these are things you can do:
It's important to find a supportive adult who can help, not just a friend. While it's good to have friends who will listen to you and support you, they might not know what to do to get help.
Growing up with abuse doesn't mean that you will continue the cycle. If you’re worried about having the same patterns of abuse and violence in your own relationships as a teen or when you become an adult, there is good news and bad news.
First, the bad news. Children who grow up in families where there is abuse learn from it, and can carry what they've learned into future relationships. They can learn that in order to get their way, they have to use force or intimidation — and can become abusers. Or their self-esteem is so low that they feel they don't deserve better — and they can become victims.
Now here's the good news: you have a choice. It is possible to unlearn the behaviour you have learned from your family. It is also possible to learn from the challenges that you experience.
Here's what you can do to break the cycle:
Wondering how to find a counsellor? Talk to your school counsellor, your family doctor or another adult you trust. Ask about programs in your community that can help. Most communities have services for victims of abuse and for abusers.
Healthy and Abusive Relationships
In a healthy relationship, the partners behave in these ways:
In an abusive relationship, people might behave in these ways:
Do you recognize yourself as doing any of these things to another person? Or have any of these things been done to you? If so, you may be in an abusive relationship.
Whether you are the person abusing another or the person being abused, get help.
Talk to a school counsellor, family doctor or another adult you trust. Ask him or her to help you find a counsellor or community program that can help.
If there are things you need to know, ask.
You have a right to ask questions about what’s going to happen and why. Although you need to respect your parents' right to privacy, they have a responsibility to answer your questions as best they can about things that directly affect you.
Parents splitting-up are very common these days. In Canada, between a quarter and a third of marriages end in divorce. That means that many people have been through it themselves, and most probably know someone who has.
Good friends will be glad you've told them. They'll know that you're still you, even though your family is changing.
No, you don't. You have the right to love and be loved by both parents.
If you’re feeling pressured to take sides and feel caught in the middle of your parents' problems, tell them. They might be so caught up in their own problems that they don't even know they are doing it, and once they do, they might stop.