He’s not *that* strong is he?

Another guest post today from an anonymous mum – sharing her experience of Child to Parent Violence.

We don’t experience the same levels of violence that other families do. And we’re very lucky that now, at 8, it appears to be slowing down and petering out a little…although I know it could return. Peaks and troughs – that’s how we roll.

But when it was at it’s worst, we experienced scary violent moments – the worst, for me, were the black eye (after I held him and got headbutted), the concussion and the threatening with cutlery thing. They stand out, but there are many moments where I have been hit, punched, landed on, kicked, scratched, or had threats of all those things.

After being headbutted, I approached our post adoption social worker and asked for safe holding training.

“We don’t approve of restraining methods” I was told.

Oh. Well I’ll continue to get hurt then shall I?

“Here, have some theraplay/counselling/life story work instead” was the response. It didn’t matter how I worded it, what I said, how I tried to tell them that I’d gotten hurt.

Friends would say:
He’s 5 – how can he hurt you?
He’s 6 – come on, he’s not *that* strong is he?
He’s 7 – can’t you hold him, so he can’t hit you?
He’s 8 – he just needs to work that anger out, have you thought about Karate?

Along with the lack of support from our post adoption support term, those comments made me feel absolutely useless. I questioned myself, wondering whether it was my fault for getting in those situations, maybe I was causing the anger somehow.
Deep down, I knew that this was my son’s way of communicating something really hurtful to me, although we struggled to decipher what that was, but the lack of understanding and support made it difficult to hold that thought in mind, especially when repeated day after day, year after year and when suffering the physical and emotional pain of violence from your child.

These days there is less anger, and we take a step back. Rather than trying to help him calm and regulate with soothing words and reassuring touches, we make sure he’s in a safe space and stay reasonably close by to make sure he doesn’t get hurt.
But I know that we will have to investigate NVR in the future to protect him, and to protect ourselves and I’m not prepared to wait until it’s too late.

And I now know that we are not the only family who experiences this, and I’m not ashamed anymore. We need to speak about this to make sure that those children, and those families that live with this kind of violence don’t feel alone, or judged, or unsupported.

3 thoughts on “He’s not *that* strong is he?

  1. Cathy McGrath

    Powerful story. And you are not alone. My 8 year old daughter has the strength of an elephant when she gets in her rages. I have been bitten, spat at. Kicked. Threatened with knives. And our post adoption social worker just judged us and what we were doing wrong!’ Absolutely nothing ! She would turn in seconds over something so trivial!!

  2. Adoptive mum

    We had a very similar situation with my son, who is now 7. We have recently started a medication, resperidone, which is a mood stabiliser and tranquilliser, as he was also hurting other children, staff at school, and even strangers on a regular basis. Our son became increasingly socially isolated and always felt terrible after he hurt someone. I really do feel for you and for your child. We came to the medication after a terrible year of violent outbursts that only seemed to get worse and made our son feel terrible too. I hope you might consider asking about medication, as it helps children who struggle with emotional regulation.


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