Tag Archives: Keri Williams

CPV around the world: discussion and support.

I keep my eyes on a number of websites, discussion forums and journals, looking for content about child to parent violence. If you haven’t come across the website, Raising Devon, from Keri Williams, it’s well worth a look for information, comment and colour about living with children with conduct and attachment disorders in particular.

Annie watched in horror as Charlie, red-faced with rage, snatched a picture frame off a wall and slammed it against the bedpost. The glass shattered. He picked up a long shard and brandished it like a dagger. Stalking towards Annie, he growled, “I’m gonna kill you.”

This type of abusive behavior in relationships is far too common. 29% of women and 10% of men in the US will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. Child protective services investigates more than three million reports of abuse and neglect annually. However, Charlie and Annie’s altercation isn’t included in either of these statistics.

That’s because Charlie is a 13-year-old boy. And Annie is his mother……

In this recent post, Keri talks about the hidden nature of violence and abuse from children, and the assumptions that other people make about what is going on “next door”. She writes from America, but many of the stories will feel familiar wherever you are, speaking as she does to the relief of finding you are not alone, and the importance of support from people who really understand your situation. She links in this particular post to an article in the Atlantic by a colleague of hers, Lillyth Quillan, and an online support network developed in the States, but now attracting parents from around the world. Lillyth Quillan is the executive director of the organisation, Society for Treatment Options for Potential Psychopaths. 

Depending on where you live, you might feel more or less comfortable with some of the language and terminology, but stick with it!

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Filed under Discussion

Living with a child with mental illness who is violent

It would be so much easier if we could point to one clear cause of violence and abuse from children towards their parents. Once that was made obvious we could then wheel in bespoke solutions and solve the crisis in an instant. Sadly the reality is much different, with almost no end to the factors that might increase vulnerability, and often layer upon layer of complexity for families affected. Some situations get a (relatively) large amount of coverage: exposure to domestic violence and early childhood trauma for instance. Others are highlighted less often. While each family’s experience will be unique to them, there is much to learn from the experience of others, and the despair that is common to parents across the board.

Recently, Keri Williams posted on her blog a review of an HBO documentary, A Dangerous Son, a film about families with sons who have disorders giving rise to explosive and violent behaviour. (The trailer is available here if you are not in the US.) Psychology today also has a review of the film, and in interview with the featured parents. Both draw attention to the blog written by Liza Long shortly after the Sandy Hook tragedy, Thinking the Unthinkable, which inspired the Director of the documentary, Liz Garbus.

The 90-minute film features three mothers who struggle immensely to find proper help for their emotionally disturbed sons. Audience members who had never dealt with children facing severe mental illness described the piece as heartbreaking and difficult to watch. However, parents of mentally ill children displayed a very different reaction; they felt a sense of validation and hope. They believe that this film could serve as the first major step in changing the public’s judgmental perception of children with mental illness and their families. Parents should be supported, rather than shamed, by their communities. (Psychology Today)

The hope is that the film draws attention to the needs of families for help, the misunderstandings around childhood mental health, the paucity of provision for young people, and the difficulties in accessing help.

Keri invites comments on her blog in response to her post. As always, you are welcome to join in the conversation here as well.

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Filed under Family life, TV and video