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Abusive vs Absent; which is worse?! UPDATED with more info

Posted by on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:37 PM
  • 19 Replies

What's worse; an abusive parent or an uninvolved parent?

My dh and I just finished watching a short documentary about gang life in our city. The link is here:

Dh cannot feel empathetic towards the young man interviewed because he was never physically abused so he doesn't feel he has any reason to be the way that he is. I argue that the fact that he was never taught morals and didn't have a positive role model is much more detrimental to his well being then if he had been physically abused. This got us debating what's worse.

My husband states: I think abusive is the greater evil btw. Children can find positive role models in teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents or many other places in lieu of absent parents. I'm not saying they won't be negatively affected by absentee parents but they may be able to tap other sources for their values and caring. An abused child carries that with them for the rest of their lives. No matter what happens, they will always have that horrifying ordeal haunting them.

I state: Well it's not ideal to have either type of parent, a heavy handed one that offers routine and consistency is not as terrible as one who is just not there. An uninvolved parent sends the message to the child that they don't matter. I mean, if your own parents can't be bothered with you, then how could you expect anyone else to? How could you develop an ounce of self esteem? These children search for acceptance anywhere and many land up doing the dirty work of gangs. They have few loving lessons and do not develop a moral compass. They are deprive of experiencing what a family life is supposed to be and may struggle to provide a positive one for their future children.
Research has proved that the uninvolved parent is the worse of the 4 styles for these reasons.

We are in a heated debate here. Help us settle this!

by on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:37 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Its abusive either way,

Thats like fighting over weather sexual abuse is worse then physically abusing some
by Cuki on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:40 PM
I would say abusive. Neither is good obviously. But anyone physically hurting a child (and I would say sexual abuse is by far the worst) kills me. I don't know. Kids not being fed, cared for, or loved kills me too. But I have to go with abused being worse I guess.
by Silver Member on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:41 PM
That's what we've kind of decided on. It stems down to physical abuse vs emotional abuse
by Ruby Member on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:41 PM


Your husband is right - biological parents are not the only ones who can fill the void.  Also, with an abusive parent, the child grows up without a clear understanding of a good adult child relationship, and most likely, of a postivie role model for a marriage.

by Anonymous 1 on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:44 PM

Is this a serious question?

by Platinum Member on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:46 PM

Abusive is worse IMO. 

by on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Abusive hands down. Our parents teach us how we should be treated and how to treat others. Abuse is a cycle! If your parents abused you your more likely to abuse your children.  With an absent parent the mother/father can remarry and the child get another parent figure or family and friends can just become role models!

by Ruby Member on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:47 PM

I guess it depends on how abusive the parent is vs. how well the other parent compensates for the absent parent.  

I mean, if you just abandon your infant in the woods (where there are no other people around) and death is nearly certain that is worse than slapping your child in the face and busting their mouth.  But in general, I think that being abusive is worse than leaving the child, especially if you do it at birth or shortly after before a parent-child bond is formed.

by Stefanie on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:48 PM
Definitely abusive.
by Gold Member on Jul. 25, 2014 at 10:49 PM

A "heavy handed" (as you put it) parent that offers routine and consistentcy is completely different than an abusive parent.

An abusive parent is ALWAYS worse.Your husband is right.

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