Parents Who Live In Fear of Their Teenagers

Earlier last month, an article in the guardian news revealed a study that showed a lack of support for parents who live in fear of their teenagers.

Police data revealed that over a 12 month period between 2009 and 2010, there were reported cases of at least 1,892 London teenagers committed violence against their own parents.

Parents living in fear of their abusive and violent teenagers are being left without support because of a lack of understanding of adolescent violence directed at parents, according to the first academic study into the issue.

Dr Rachel Condry, lead researcher at the University of Oxford, which carried out the study, said there was little support for parents in such circumstances from police, youth justice teams or other agencies.

The parents we spoke to said they were stigmatised and felt ashamed – they were experiencing patterns of controlling behaviour that were similar to domestic violence. One woman told us she would get up in the middle of the night to make her teenager dinner because she feared the consequences if she didn’t; others talked about walking on eggshells.

Condry added that it was a problem that could hit families in any demographic. “It is not the fact of being a single parent that is causing this issue, but parenting an adolescent is difficult and perhaps if a parent is on their own there is more potential for things to go awry.” The study found that a range of issues, including exposure to domestic violence, peer influence, mental health issues and drug problems had played a role, but there was no one reason for adolescent violence against parents.

The study, co-authored by Caroline Miles, found that:

87% of suspects in the London study were male and 77% of victims were women,

60% of victims were classified as white European, while 24.3% were African-Caribbean.

Of those who recorded a profession, 46.7% were unemployed, 11.6% described themselves as housewives, while 3.4% were teachers and 2.9% were nurses.…

PBUP: An advice from Parentline Plus is that parents who experience this should not blame themselves; Parents should nip it in the bud and make sure that it doesn’t become a habit. It is also advised that parents must look after themselves, sort out their own problems and set boundaries from the start.

Parentline Plus is a UK based charity that works for and with parents. They have a 24 hour helpline available (0808 800 2222) which is free and confidential.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *