When I first adopted my son I really didn’t have a honeymoon period. He was six years old, and from day one he was very vocal in telling me he hated me, didn’t want to live with me and wanted to go back to his foster family. This quickly developed into a pinch, a strong hug and grew to kicks and punches. It went from maybe once or twice a week to several times a day. It was his way of explaining how he was feeling and showing me his anger about being taken away from everything he knew.

No one had really mentioned child to parent violence apart from an adopter on my prep course who talked about having to lock herself in the toilet. I never thought this would be me. I would try to remove myself to a place of safety but at times it was really difficult as my son would follow and keep kicking out at me. If I managed to lock the toilet door, the door would be kicked repeatedly until I came out. Sometimes the violence was over as quickly as it started and other times it could go on for what felt like hours. My son would not remember any of the violence afterwards and would be surprised if he saw me upset. At the time of the attacks, he would totally disassociate.

I did speak to my social worker and opened up to her about what was going on. She was very supportive. I went on a couple of training courses including Non-Violent Resistance, which helped termporarily. The violence would stop for a day or two but would return.

My biggest worry was what would happen when my son was a strong teenager. How much could he hurt me then?

Looking back now, I can’t really remember the last time my son showed any violence. It must be four or five years ago that it was a regular occurrence and possibly three years since there was any of that behaviour at all. Time and maturity have helped. Therapy for my son to understand his life story, to understand the anger inside him, and space to work through his feelings have all contributed. Sensory attachment therapy was a big breakthrough - it helped us both regulate our emotions. My confidence as a Mum grew, as did my support network.

I wish I had lived more in the present and not spent so many nights awake, worrying about the future.

CPV happens in so many families but is very rarely spoken about. It's time for us to talk openly and honestly about the violent behaviour that can tear us apart, but properly supported, can also bring us together.