Recently, BBC online reported on a very taboo and rarely discussed topic of parental abuse by the child. Domestic Violence: Child-parent abuse doubles in 3 years.The number of reported crimes involving children/teenagers attacking parents have doubled in the past 3 years.
What is Child (teenager) to Parent Abuse
Family support service Adfam says ‘Child to parent abuse (CPA) takes many forms and includes emotional abuse, financial exploitation, serious physical assaults, destruction of property in the home and social isolation caused by emotional manipulation. When CPA is combined with substance misuse, victims are often hit by the double shame of these two stigmatised issues, making it harder for them to access support.
Community Care add that the nature of the abuse is something that looks and feels very similar to intimate partner violence. “Maybe at the beginning it is just seen as children being a bit out of hand, a bit naughty, or is diagnosed as ADHD or oppositional defiance. Then it gradually gets worse until parents realise they have a serious problem.” At the extreme end, parents are having to barricade themselves in their rooms and there are family breakdowns.
The Parent Abuse and Reconciliation Service (PAARS), based in Enfield, has seen a correlation with child exposure to domestic violence in about 75% of cases they see. Unless this is tackled, the abuse can manifest itself later on. “It’s not fashionable to say there’s an inter-generational cycle of abuse but we see it, you can’t deny its happening.” Children may see abuse, abuse a parent and can go onto abuse a partner.
Responding to Parental Abuse
empoweringparents.com outlines steps to take:
1) Clearly articulate your physical and emotional boundaries:
“It’s not okay to yell or push or hit me.”
2) Clearly communicate consequences for abusive behaviour.
“If you hit me, throw something at me, or otherwise hurt me physically, that’s called domestic violence and assault. Even though I love you, I will call the police and you will be held accountable for your behaviour.”
3) Contact authorities if you need to.
4) Get support for yourself.
- Family Based Solutions in the UK http://familybasedsolutions.org.uk/
- Adfam in the UK adfam.org.uk/our-work/supporting-families/child-to-parent-abuse
- In the US or Canada you can contact 211.org
Domestic violence: Child-parent abuse doubles in three yearshttps://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-49207887
Child to parent abuse: ‘I begged them to take him away’
Signs of Parental Abuse: What to Do When Your Child or Teen Hits You
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