Something to celebrate!

This week I celebrate one year of this blog.

When I first became aware of the issue of parent abuse, in the early 80s, we had no idea of what to suggest to help the parent who had approached us. By the time I engaged in some serious research, in 2004-6, there was a small but growing body of knowledge about this aspect of family violence, and a number of programmes had been developed, mostly in Australia, New Zealand and the USA and Canada. A year later, a discussion on parent abuse was one of the items in the BBC’s Woman’s Hour, a flagship radio programme, which goes out 6 days a week.

I have been really excited to see how knowledge and resources have developed over the last year, particularly in Britain, but also across the world. Research based on clinical practice has been published. New academic research projects have sought to quantify and to realise a framework for understanding. Evidence has formed a basis for the development of parent support programmes and practical materials, and is used in lobbying for changes in the law and funding. Increasingly, teaching about parent abuse is becoming part of the social care landscape. The first academic book on parent abuse in Britain is due to be published in November 2012. But helplines continue to report an increase in calls from parents, whether through a genuine increase in abuse or improved access to support we might never know; and so the work continues.

Teenage aggression towards parents is clearly not confined to one part of the population, or one region of the world, as witnessed by news reports, websites and even videos on YouTube. Over the last year I have been privileged to have contacted, and been contacted by, practitioners from many countries and I have been thrilled to be able to contribute in a small way to furthering knowledge and understanding. If you have found this blog helpful, please share it with others; and if you can spare a moment to comment, or even to send your own contributions for posting, that would be great.

Here’s to the next year!


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5 responses to “Something to celebrate!

  1. Thank You, Helen! Your blog has helped us feel less isolated in our work. It is encouraging and exciting to know that so many others are now working to understand this problem and find ways to help families. When we began our program in 1997, we found one research study from the 1980’s(Gelles), no interventions, and no mention of it in the literature on youth aggression or family violence. We would check continually online for anything related, as we fumbled through starting a program without a clue (other than our backgrounds in family violence work), trying out different approaches. We learned from the youth and parents what worked and what didn’t, so this guided our intervention model.
    For many years we felt very alone in our work and yearned to have colleagues to discuss and share ideas with. This has changed greatly in the last several years, and even more in the last 2 years. And when your Blog came out- I was thrilled. It has been great to read your comments and the many other articles, papers and research you have found and shared. We appreciate it so much. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to this important and challenging issue.

    Lily Anderson
    Step-Up Program
    Seattle, WA

    • Thanks Lily for your kind comments. As you say, it is good to be reminded that there are like-minded people working to the same goals. Best wishes for your own work in the coming year.

  2. Happy First Birthday Holes in the Wall! Like Lily Anderson, I too have really appreciated the hard work you have put in, Helen to set up and maintain this valuable site, that offers a global reference and information point for everyone concerned with this form of family violence. To have been aware of this issue and promoting awareness of it for so long, surely makes you one of the trail-blazers in this emerging field of UK research and practice!
    I recently had Jo Howard, a Manager of Drug and Alcohol Services for Young People in Australia visiting me, and I learnt of how she is making exciting progress in her own country as she advocates for the Step Up programme, to be established in Australia.
    Jo and I met in 2010 the U.S. whilst both on Churchill Fellowships (from our respective countries) – ironically both looking at interventions to address teen violence to parent. We were both completely ‘sold’ on Step Up, after attending parent-teen sessions in Seattle and Toledo) and also interviewing parents and teens about their actual experiences of Step Up.
    As a restorative practitioner, I became very excited about how powerful this intervention was for restoring relationships, building empathy and emotional literacy. For its ability to offer parents and teens empowering restorative tools for repairing their relationships when they had broken down. Observing teens begin to learn how to take responsibility for their behaviours and become accountable for their actions, was so moving. The value of the Abuse and Mutual Respect Wheels utilised in Check-in time, really gave them a real-life experiential learning of the difference between which behaviours were harming their relationships and which behaviours were helping them grow stronger…. (an essential starting point for those who really are confused about what is abuse and what is respect, – perhaps due to the mixed up-ness of what is abuse and love within any abusive adult role model relationships they may have observed.
    Whilst many new models emerge and establish themselves as targeted interventions for addressing adolescent to parent violence, I continue to advocate for the Step Up framework because of its unique restorative aspects that, (for myself) makes it stand alone from any other models that I have come across.

    • Thanks Lynette
      I have been pleased to be able to refer some of my students working with youth offenders to your website in particular. Keep up the good work, and keep in touch!

  3. naj

    Amazing, congratulations Helen on all of your hard work! Would you or any of your colleagues and supporters happen to know of an organisation here in the UK, preferably in the London area, offering support to parents whose children are involved in gangs?


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