One of the issues that makes it difficult for us all to talk about child to parent violence and abuse is the fact that there is no one agreed definition. The one I tend to use when speaking to people is that proposed by Amanda Holt:
“A pattern of behaviour, instigated by a child or young person, which involves using verbal, financial, physical and /or emotional means to practice power and exert control over a parent”, and “the power that is practised is, to some extent, intentional, and the control that is exerted over a parent is achieved through fear, such that a parent unhealthily adapts his / her own behaviour to accommodate the child.” Continue reading
When the Guardian carries two pieces in a weekend alluding to violence and abuse from child to parent, (A letter to my teenage girl who hates me so very much and My ten year old daughter was bullied – is this why she has tantrums?) I think we can safely say that we are beginning to go mainstream.
Neither of these pieces is entirely straightforward – but isn’t that the point? Relationships within families are complex and varied. Violence and abuse has roots in so many different places. The tipping point between normal reaction and abusive behaviour can be hard to identify other than retrospectively. In both cases we see parents who are unimaginably sad for their children and at what is happening in their families, looking for answers and hoping for a better future. Continue reading