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Know the signs: Mental Injury

Signs of Mental Injury by Parent(s)

When one person in an intimate relationship uses violence or the threat of violence to dominate or control the other person, family violence is sometimes referred to as domestic abuse or spousal abuse. Perpetrators of domestic abuse can also use guilt, shame, threats, and/or intimidation to control another family member.

Adults who mentally injure may:

  • Constantly blame, make fun of, or yell at the child
  • Reject offers of help for the child’s problems
  • Openly reject the child
  • Discipline inappropriately, such as locking the child in a closet
  • Insist on being in total control of the child’s actions
  • Abuse alcohol or drugs
  • Use words to attack, bully, scare, or shame the child
  • Make the child lie to protect the adult
  • Put the child in the middle of arguments between parents, or ask the child to choose sides between parents
  • Show lack of concern for the child
  • Ignore the child’s physical or emotional needs

(North Dakota Mandatory Reporter Training, 2015)