Katreena L. Scott and Claire V. Crooks noted that, despite the fact that some fathers are perpetrators of child maltreatment, very little research has been done on abusive fathers. According to the authors, for intervention services to be effective, it is important to know the characteristics of abusive fathers ("Effecting Change in Maltreating Fathers: Critical Principles for Intervention Planning," Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, vol. 11, no. 1, Spring 2004). Abusive fathers tend to be very controlling of their children. Being self-centered, they demand respect and unconditional love. They are insecure and are constantly looking for signs of defiance or disrespect. An abusive father may feel that a child has more power than he does and may misinterpret a child's action as misbehavior. He therefore inflicts physical abuse to regain control. An abusive father has a sense of entitlement, expecting his children to do as he says. Scott and Crooks pointed out that sexual abuse may result from the father's sense of entitlement.
An abusive father's involvement with his children is usually based on his own needs, focusing on activities that he likes instead of what the children may want to do. However, his interest in his children may come and go, depending on his emotional state. Some fathers maltreat their children because they believe in the stereotypical role of fathers as disciplinarians. Some also feel that they have to show others that they are doing a good job as parents. Refusing to acknowledge that they may be having a tough time as parents, they take out their frustrations on the children.