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Aggression in adoptive families not easy to discuss

Child to Parent Violence (CPV) enquiries to the Adoption UK helpline are on the increase.

A quarter of cases receiving our current peer to peer support identified significant physical and/or verbal aggression from child to parent and requested a specific tailored service from us to help them address the situation.

Concerns about child on parent violence have been known to us through the experiences of our members and were starkly evidenced in the research report Beyond the Adoption Order into adoption disruption rates.

We recently held a sold-out AUK conference: Non Violent Resistance in Birmingham and it was clear from members that there is an unmet need of adoptive parents for this type of intervention.

A boy shouts with an angry expression on his faceOne adoptive mother who attended told how she’s embarrassed that she cannot control her 10 year-old son who once threatened her with a knife.

She said: “He took over the kitchen - he threw crockery around and came at me with a knife. That was a little bit frightening.

“I’m normally quite embarrassed and ashamed about the idea that I get beat up by a 10 year-old boy. It seems quite a pathetic situation to be in.”

Her husband added: “I hate the fact my children who are quite young hurt my wife. They have impulses that I simply just don’t have.”

Play the clip below to listen to their interview. There’s also two links to an interview the mother provided to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

We are running another Non Violent Resistance conference on 21 September in Cardiff - find out more and book your place.

Adoption UK has received a grant from the Department for Education which will allow us to deliver support and to share proven methods of preventing and managing challenging behaviour that works for both child and parents on a wider scale. This will provide a service that is accessible, timely (in terms of intervention/support) and delivered by skilled adoptive parents who have received specialist training to avoid placement disruptions improve and make safe the quality of family life.

We anticipate that in year one of the pilot we will have helped 200 families. 

In a follow up interview with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Dotty McCleod, the adoptive mother spoke in more detail of her experiences, how she manages her own emotions, her commitment to her children and the support she's had:

Part 1

Part 2

If you are experiencing difficulties within your family, please don't hesitate to hesitate to contact our Helpline. Our Forums are also there if you are looking for understanding and support from other adopters.

Banner for the Non-Violent Resistance conference