Therapy objectives for children of abusive parents

Took my daughter last week to her therapist.  We spoke about her conversation with me on her dad hitting her face.  We also spoke about her Dad’s raging at them the previous Sunday – “so loud that the neighbors could hear, Mommy.  I told him to be quieter and that the neighbors would be able to hear him.”  We spoke of her  justifying her dad’s behavior by saying “he just gets so annoyed with me”, this comment about the neighbors / trying to hide his anger issues, and that she witnessed physical violence as a young child.  She’s mentioned two therapeutic goals for my children:

1.  For my daughter > that she doesn’t go into a relationship with an abusive person when she is older.

2. For both my children > to develop trust and a safe environment such that they are willing to speak freely about what happens with their father so (a) we know what’s truly going on for them, and (b) we can work through it emotionally now rather than later.

3. For my son > that we find for him a gentle, understanding male therapist so that he can learn to trust men and that not all adult men aren’t safe.

4. For both > Learning that children have rights too.  The right to be respected, understood, treated gently, feel important.

At the moment, my daughter swears up and down that she will never get married. She doesn’t want to marry someone and have them be like her father.  I try to convince her that there are wonderful men (like her brother, or friends she has that are boys) and that they don’t all have anger issues.  She just needs to learn how to know which are which.

What other goals should they have?  Boundaries?  Learning to vocalize issues?  This is a goal for me — to learn more what goals they should have and help them reach those goals with the right qualified professionals.


2 Responses to “Therapy objectives for children of abusive parents”

  1. Thanks, Ana – that’s a great one! It’s easy to let boundaries be pushed when around a narcissist, even for someone who understands what they are.

  2. Ana says:

    One thing my daughter’s therapist is working on is setting boundaries. It’s hard to learn how when you have a parent who doesn’t believe they apply to them. It’s also hard when you spend your life walking on eggshells.

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