Child to parent violence as a “process”

Estefania Lema has sent me the abstract and details of her PhD thesis looking at child to parent violence.

Child-to-parent violence as a process. Analysis of personal, family and contextual variables. Estefania Lema-Moreira, PhD, University of A Coruna, Spain

The frequency of child to parent violence is increasing; and at the same time scientific interest is growing, while important gaps in understanding remain. The general aim of this study was to obtain a deeper knowledge of child to parent violence. Qualitative research methods were used, based on grounded theory. Using unstructured interviews, we analysed the personal, familial and contextual aspects of a group of families, across the history of CPV; as well as material from the systemic family therapy sessions. The sample is composed of 8 cases, comprising 10 parents, 1 daughter and 5 therapists. In six of the eight cases, parents required intervention because of the levels of violence during their time in therapy.

The results confirmed links with a history of marital conflict, and changes in family routines and the personal situation of the children and parents. The immediate context then has a strong impact in adolescence, coinciding with the manifestation of violence towards parents.

Thus, we established a new model to understand child to parent violence, being aware that the roots are several years before the violence is manifested. The model has 4 stages: Establishing the attachment, adaptation to a new family situation, adolescence, child to parent violence. In the first stage, parental issues such as marital violence distract the parent, impacting on parenting practice and leaving the needs of the child unmet. The second stage is characterised by continuing marital problems and / or separation, leaving minors to feel abandoned. During this stage the children may also be victims of bullying. During the third stage of adolescence the community context is increasingly important, including the presence of vandalism, drugs, and school difficulties. Finally in the fourth stage, parents try to inspire norms in the household, but the adolescents react with violence.

We conclude that child to parent violence is a process which develops over a number of years, gaining power through the inappropriate negotiation of intra-family conflicts; and define it thus as a systemic problem becoming apparent during a developmental stage in which social context has great value. At the same time, the data show successful results in terms of therapeutic intervention. While family relations do not return to their state prior to the conflict, they are able to sustain a co-existence free from violence.

Estefania plans to continue research in this subject. Congratulations to her on obtaining her doctorate!

You can read a paper published by Estefania in 2014 here. (The Family Context as a Critical Factor in Child to Parent Violence)

SEVIFIP (Sociedad Espanola para el Estudio de la Violencia Filio-Parental) are holding the Second National Congress on Child to Parent Violence, in Bilbao, Spain from May 25th – 27th 2017. Your chance to meet Estefania in person.




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