It is the use of negative, aggressive, hostile, or otherwise threatening words or behaviour to get others to do what you want. Jenna got out of doing her homework by instigating a screaming match.

The way to reverse this cycle of coercive behaviour is to stop giving in but also to stop resorting to anger, empty threats, or force

Coercion becomes the fallback position and defiance gets entrenched not because you’re a bad parent or your teenager is a bad kid. it’s a product of four intertwined factors:

  • The teenager’s characteristics
  • The parent’s characteristics
  • Stress
  • Parenting Style


Do I have the energy to follow through?
Do I have a consequence planned?
Should I make a smaller request so I can handle the situation more easily?
If not, it’s best not to make the request at all if it can be avoided—at least for now.

Child-to-parent-abuse (CPA_ or adolescent-to-parent abuse (APA) is any behaviour used by a child or young person to control, dominate or coerce parents, and is more common than you might imagine. It can include emotional, verbal, physical or financial abuse and includes “coercive control”, or in other words, the parent or other adult is compelled to change their own behaviours for fear of further abuse.

If you are a parent, step-parent, grandparent or someone in any type of parental role who is experiencing this, you are probably feeling some or all of the following:

  • Shame and confusion – what is happening? What have I done wrong?
  • Afraid of being blamed and judged – by others in your family/community, teachers, social workers etc
  • Fear – for yourself and also for your child or young person – what will happen to them if I ask for help?
  • At a loss as to what to do

RING SHINE (0508 744 633)
If you are feeling trapped, if you’re being controlled, or physically or emotionally abused by a partner, ex-partner, family member, or someone close to you, you can have access to support, information, and advocacy through their Helpline.