An inspiring talk from Amanda Holt yesterday at Surrey University, based on her forthcoming book: Adolescent-to-Parent Abuse: Current Understandings in Research, Policy and Practice. The book, from Policy Press, due out in November this year, will be the first academic text on parent abuse to be published in Britain. Offering a thorough overview of the subject, Amanda first considered the similarities and differences with other forms of family violence; and then went on to examine what we can learn from the different types of data available.
The question of how parents navigate the issue of causation is a complex one, and worthy of more enquiry. The offer of a diagnosis gives some hope to parents, taking the pressure off to some extent. Two regularly espoused public explanations: the rise of children’s rights (blame the government) and the problem of parenting style (blame the parents) have been adopted to very different degrees by the parents concerned. Perhaps not surprising that they should prefer the external pressure as cause, but this does not sit comfortably with the high degree of shame and secrecy which continues to be demonstrated. I was interested that this issue came up as I had been looking back over earlier blog posts (for example here and here) and noted it myself just that afternoon.
After looking at different theoretical explanations for the phenomenon, Amanda went on to consider policy responses from the various agencies concerned, before listing the proven group and family interventions already in existence. I was personally challenged to do what I have been promising for some time and reorder this site so that it is easier to find what resources may be available in a particular area. No more excuses!
We very much look forward to the publication of her book. For those who cannot wait, Amanda also has a chapter (entitled Adolescent-to-parent abuse and frontline service responses: does Munro matter?), in an edited collection of responses to the question of safeguarding, post Munro, published now.