Understanding The Power And Control Wheel For Child Abuse

Understanding The Power And Control

4. Economic Abuse

When a parent or caregiver abuses their child’s financial dependence on them for survival to maintain power and control, then it is considered economic abuse.

Here are some of the abusive behaviors that are involved in economic abuse according to the power and control wheel:

  • Withholding basic needs from a child like food, clothing, shelter or medication
  • Using money to control behavior
  • Squandering family money
  • Withholding child support
  • Using children as an economic bargaining chip in divorce

5. Threats

Threatening a child is a devastating form of abuse that can severely affect the child’s personality, self-confidence, self-esteem, and sense of self-worth. The Mighty reports, “Parental abuse isn’t always literal harm, sometimes it looks like the parent creating a climate of fear by threatening to harm the child, others, their pets or even themselves.” 

Threats from parents/caregivers to dominate or control a child may include:

  • Threatening abandonment
  • Threatening suicide
  • Threatening physical harm
  • Threatening confinement
  • Threatening harm to other loved ones

6. Using Adult Privilege

Most parents use their privileges as an adult to control and guide their children to instill values and ethics. However, abusive parents and caregivers “will use their status as an autonomous adult to inappropriately control a child,” writes Juliette.

The power and control wheel for child abuse states the following adult privilege tactics:

  • Treating a child as a servant
  • Punishing a child unnecessarily
  • Bossing a child to win arguments
  • Denying input in visitation & custody decisions
  • Repeatedly interrupting a child

7. Intimidation

Intimidation or bullying refers to using fear of harm or injury to establish power, dominate and control a child by either parent or a caregiver.

Some common examples of intimidation include the following:

  • Instilling fear through looks, actions, gestures, property destruction 
  • Using the size of the adult
  • Yelling 
  • Being violent to the other parent, siblings, pets, etc.

Related: What Is Child Abuse? Recognizing The Warning Signs

Using the power and control wheel

The power and control wheel can help the victims, survivors, and others, like friends & family, to understand the intricacies of an abusive parent-child relationship. The child abuse wheel is an exceptionally helpful tool that can enable us to easily understand the complexities and issues involved in child abuse.

If you can identify with all or most of the behaviors and tactics mentioned above, then we encourage you to seek therapy and treatment to heal yourself from the trauma. You are not alone. It’s never too late to seek help.

Start the healing process.


Understanding The Power And Control Wheel For Child Abuse
Understanding The Power And Control pin
Understanding The Power And Control Wheel For Child Abuse
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Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts