It is a very bitter pill to swallow to realise and accept that your child’s behaviour is a form of abuse.
If you were experiencing any of these:
Reactive -with angry outbursts where things can get thrown or broken
Demanding -they call the shots and dictates terms
Controlling – you feel like a puppet with your child pulling the strings
Manipulative -they twist what you say and out argue you
Aggression or violence towards you, siblings, pets and your home
Threatening to you and themselves e.g. they will run away or self-harm
Defiance and opposition-they simply will not listen to the rules and your “no” triggers anger from them
Sense of entitlement- they treat you like their servant and expect money and things on tap
Extreme sibling rivalry and possible violence, manipulation and coercion
Lying and Stealing
How does it differ when coming from a child? (answer, it doesn’t!)
However, we can take some comfort that we are not alone. The UK government is beginning to acknowledge it, and it has been given a name: Child to Parent Violence and Abuse. (CPVA)
It has been estimated that the incidence could be as high as one in ten families. Does that help you feel a little less isolated and a little less like you are failing as a parent?
A sense of failure is common and it is so easy to also feel like a victim
Do you remember my own story of the bottle of shampoo being poured all over my head? Because things like this were a regular occurrence, I didn’t just feel a victim, I felt persecuted!
Even when my boy was just three, I was being bullied, and I didn’t realise it. It takes years of grinding away and being worn out to get us into the situation we find ourselves in.
Here’s the story of a Mum and Dad with a 15-year-old daughter. The violence had become so bad that the daughter went into temporary foster care for a short time. This included pulling the mother around by her hair, throwing things at her and smashing mirrors.
Initially the Mum joined a group with me over Zoom. She often attended the sessions, sat in the kitchen with her coat on, ready to run from the house if her daughter became aggressive. It became clear that much more support was needed to turn things around and the family had 18 one-hour sessions of NVR with me. They now have a greater level of harmony and a much higher level of co-operation from their daughter. She has started to take decisions for herself regarding her choice of friends and has recently started working in a café. The Mum who presented as a victim and helpless now feels much more empowered, able to resist challenging behaviour and is no longer fearful. Both she and the Dad have worked hard at self-regulation, developing the relationship with their daughter and not engaging with any aggression. They were both reluctant (as most people are) to involve friends and family at first but when they did, have found this to be beneficial in talking to their daughter about stopping the behaviour. Often breaking the silence is a massive step in reducing the control a child has over us.
The work I do with the Non-Violent Resistance programme is transformative. I am so passionate about it because not only has it changed my life, it works so brilliantly and so quickly for the families I work with.
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