When familiy life hurts

When family life hurts: child to parent
• “ any harmful act by a teenage child intended to gain
power and control over a parent. The abuse can be
physical, psychological or financial” Cottrell 2003
• “ any act of a child that creates fear in and is intended
to hurt parents” Cottrell 2001
• “ behaviour is considered to be violent if others in the
family feel threatened, intimidated or controlled by it
and if they believe that they must adjust their own
behaviour to accommodate threats or anticipation of
violence” Patterson 2002
Child to parent abuse
• Physical violence
• Threats
• Verbal abuse-swearing and
name calling
• Constant refusal to do as
• Bullying by text or phone
• Financial demands/stealing
• Deliberate damage/threats
of damage
• Threats to other family
• Emotional blackmail
• Use of alcohol/drugs within
the home
• Belittling parent in front of
• Demanding meals to be
• Isolating parent
• Checking up
• Threats of self harm
• Staying out
• Controlling what you wear,
the TV etc
Impact on parenting
• Make inconsistent rules and consequences because of fear of an
• Don't ask teenager to do things (chores, help)
• Take on responsibility for teenager that should be his/hers
• Walk on egg shells around him/her to avoid conflict
• Avoid their teenager
• Lose ability to stay rational and "explode" with screaming, yelling
• Get abusive back-put-downs, name calling, physical abuse
• Make threats
• Lose ability to see positive behaviour
• Get into pattern of expecting negative behaviour
Why the silence?
• Personal feelings-guilt,
shame, being judged etc
• Societal blame
• Fear of repercussions for
selves and their children
• Lack of escape routes
• Unhelpful previous
response from services
• Limited resources
• Low adolescent
engagement with services
• No definition
• Not measured anywhere
• Lack of professional
awareness, training etc
• Lack of policy direction
• Hoping they will “grow out
of it”
• Isolation and all the other
effects of DV
• Denial
• Restorative-restore and build relationships
• Non judgemental approach (can be hard)
• Parents are NOT part of the problem they are
part of the solution
• Reduce parental guilt don`t create more
• Separate the behaviour from the person when
working with the boys
• Acknowledge and engage with their feelings of
vulnerability and powerlessness