What Should I Do If My Step Father Is Abusive?

Published: April 12, 2018
Dear TeenHealthFX,
what do i do if my step dad is abusive and short tempered with my younger siblings?
Signed: What Should I do if my Step Father is Abusive?

Dear What Should I do if my Step Father is Abusive?,

Abuse can take place in many forms, including: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect. Abuse may occur for several reasons. Some abusers:

  • Are unable to manage their angry properly, and thus lash out at others inappropriately.
  • Feel that anger is a proper way to discipline children.
  • Behave abusively because they also grew up in an abusive environment, and are unable to recognize the abuse.  
  • Suffer from mental illness.


Abuse victims must first understand that the abuse is not their fault. Most importantly, they must seek help. You can speak to a trusted adult, such as a school counselor, nurse, teacher, coach or primary care physician. Another options is to call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453), a 24-hour hotline with resources to aid in every child abuse situation. All calls are confidential. 

In New Jersey, any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or acts of abuse should immediately report this information to the State Central Registry (SCR). If the child is in immediate danger, call 911 as well as 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873). A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously.

TeenHealthFX also suggests meeting with a licensed therapist. If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX