Dear Dish-It: My Dad Hits Me
I have no idea what to do. My dad hasn't hit me since I was four and all of a sudden he started hitting me again. I was doing my homework and I asked him to help me with it and he told me to figure it out myself, so sarcastically I said, "Gee, thanks a lot." Then all of a sudden he grabs the back of my hood and pulls it hard. I could barely get a breath out. I was so annoyed and frustrated that he did that so I said, "Was there a point to that?" Then he pulls my sweater, dragging me across the room. I don’t know what to do so I just sit there listening to him cursing at me and calling me fat and ugly. I now have a small cut on one side of my neck, then a bruise on my arm and neck. I'm too scared to call the police because he said that if I do he would take my little brothers and sisters who live with my mom, and that he would take them away from my mom. Please help me!
I’m sorry that this is happening to you. Grownups, especially our parents, are supposed to be there to help and encourage us kids and to show us the right way to act. Truthfully, most adults do treat kids well. But some adults hurt kids rather than help them. Another word for this is abuse.
Verbal & Physical Abuse
Hitting and constant yelling are both types of abuse, and it sounds like you may be experiencing them with your dad. Physical abuse is when someone hits you hard with their hand or an object like a belt, especially hits that leave cuts and bruises. Shaking, pushing, choking, painfully grabbing and kicking can also be physical abuse.
Verbal or emotional abuse can happen if someone yells at you all the time, calls you mean names or threatens to leave you or have you adopted. All kids deserve to have adults in their lives who love and support them as they grow up. It's common for parents to get angry with their kids once in a while, but if there's yelling, punishing and threatening too much of the time, you can start feeling really bad about yourself. And just like with physical forms of abuse, it's a good idea to tell a trusted adult this is happening.
Tell Right Away
If you think you’re experiencing abuse, you need to tell another adult that you trust right away. This can be hard because, as in your case, the abuser may threaten or frighten you into keeping quiet. No matter what the abuser says, abuse is ALWAYS wrong, and there are different ways you can ask for help and get it.
How to Tell
- Talk to an adult you trust in person.
- Talk to an adult you trust on the phone.
- Write a note or send an e-mail or a letter to an adult you trust who can help you.
- Tell someone at school: a counselor, nurse, teacher or coach.
- Tell a friend’s mom or dad.
- If you can’t think of any other adult that you trust, you can call a helpline (like 1-800-4-A-CHILD).
The way you tell someone about what’s happening at home with your dad is up to you. The most important thing is that you do tell someone what’s happening and how it makes you feel. You need to try and protect yourself by getting the abusive behavior to stop happening. It takes a lot of courage to talk about this, so thank you for telling me. Your next step is to get the courage to tell someone close to you who can help. It’ll feel really good when you take the steps needed to keep yourself and your brothers and sisters safe.