I am often asked how I come across the news, articles and publications that I tweet and blog about, in relation to child to parent violence (CPV). My original rationale for this site was along the lines of “I do it so you don’t have to”, but of course things are never that straight forward, and the truth is much more like “we do this together”. But here goes:
- I have a number of google alerts running in the background including ‘parent abuse’,’ child to parent violence’, ‘adolescent violence in the home’, and ‘adolescent violence to parents’. These all throw up news-feeds, academic publications, and blog links – but with high levels of misses as well as hits.
- I spend too much time on twitter, building networks and having conversations with people with similar interests. This also links to more articles and news I have missed elsewhere. It is also likely only a small percentage of the people tweeting that I should / could be following.
- I follow a number of blogs written specifically about child to parent violence.
- I check mainstream media for items of interest.
- I network with people in real life, and they generously share their own work and point me to pieces that might be of interest.
- I waste hours following up citations, bibliography mentions, and links to things that look superficially interesting!
Sometimes one article on its own may not hold much interest, or I might share it on twitter, but not get round to blogging it. But sometimes a bunch of stuff pops up together and makes a more interesting discussion, when viewed that way.
Over the last weeks a number of pieces have landed in my lap like this.
Jenny Noyes had a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), which was also used in other publications. No choice to walk away: when the domestic abuser is your child. Sally’s story is far from unusual in terms of child to parent abuse, and we know too that this is not an isolated incident. Noyes offers two expert opinions on the ways in which CPV develops. Michael Carr-Gregg, an adolescent psychologist, is quoted first and places this behaviour firmly in the over-entitlement camp. “Their life is just one giant personalised all-singing, all-dancing, 24/7 catering service,” Carr-Gregg says. “They’re never challenged, there’s no consequences for their bad behaviour or bad decisions, and the parents… don’t set any limits or boundaries.” It may come as no surprise that Carr-Gregg has just published a book about this, which I had picked up via the Australian Daily Telegraph a few days before. Not all boys are destined to be a “Prince Boof-Head” thankfully, and Carr-Gregg offers advice to parents to take control early on or seek professional help once matters are out of hand, while also pointing to the additional effects of peer pressure in forming the opinions and attitudes of young men.
Noyes goes on to quote adolescent violence expert Jo Howard, who acknowledges the very real impact of societal pressures, while also focussing on the experience of trauma as a prelude to aggressive and abusive behaviours. Howard is the executive manager of child youth and family programs at Kildonan UnitingCare in Melbourne, an organisation which has developed a ten-week programme for families experiencing CPV. She is called upon regularly for her expertise and is quoted also in this piece from last year where she acknowledges the importance of both factors.
Finally, there’s some interesting contrast between the programme developed at Kildonan UnitingCare, and the way that other states have chosen to respond to family violence (New South Wales has pumped money in to the juvenile justice system); and some thoughts about the limited visibility still of child to parent violence and abuse.
The juxtaposition of these two pieces was interesting to me, reflecting to some extent the “normal” and now all-too-expected reaction to a revelation of CPV, and an increasingly strong voice from those working with children and young people who have experienced trauma. Both voices are loud and both need to be heard. It is too tempting to react against one, because it does not fit a particular narrative, or appears to be overtly parent blaming. I have often been questioned about Gallagher’s assertion that one of the biggest groups of families he has worked with has been that of over-entitled children (see his Master’s thesis or website for more details). I suspect that some features of this will be culturally specific, and don’t necessarily transfer wholesale from one country or community to another without understanding context, tradition and expectations. Nevertheless, it would be foolish to deny any element of this in explaining the abuse that some parents face, wherever they are.
As a complete contrast, I offer you this: a feature from OK magazine (again, harvested from google in the last weeks) about Celebrity Big Brother star, Jemma Lucy. It’s hard to know where to start with this piece – the level of pain all round is so hard to contemplate, set within a context of nothing too sacred not to say. Sometimes it’s probably best to leave well alone!
Meanwhile, I am always pleased to receive any links to articles, news, events, almost anything if it’s related to CPV; as well as suggestions on who to follow if I’ve missed something crucial. You can email me via the contact page, or send them via twitter. As I said, we do this together!