If educators in schools, care support workers in homes and nurses in hospitals are all enabled and empowered to create safety from chaos, why not parents in the home?
⭐️Managing Violent Behaviour-Let’s get our heads out of the sand! ⭐️
Having been around a while in social work, I am aware of the antipathy, confusion and fear which surrounds control and restraint training. Much of this stems from the days when adults abused their power and used techniques which were designed to frighten and overwhelm children. Sometimes this resulted in children sustaining serious injury or even dying.
Understandably, therefore, as a profession, there has been a ‘drawing away’ by social workers, from the practice of restraining children.
This has left us with a large gap. In this gap there are thousands of foster carers, adopters, kinship parents and other therapeutic parents who are caring for traumatised children where child to parent violence, born from the child’s fear, and/or sensory or other issues such as cortisol overload is an every day, serious issue. Parents are getting seriously injured and traumatised.
The level of child to parent violence has reached epidemic proportions and we encounter many parents who have to instigate family breakdown in order to keep themselves and others safe. We hear of extremely serious injuries to parents, some of them life changing.
We asked ourselves, ‘How safe does a child feel when they can attack their parent?’ In therapeutic parenting, we need to be the ‘unassailable safe base’. This helps to regulate the child and stay connected. There is nothing ‘unassailable’ about being a punch bag.
So, we had a problem to fix. How do we give parents the tools they need to protect themselves and others, prevent family breakdown AND preserve the relationship with the child, their dignity, and overall be assured they are not hurting the child in any way?
We have spent over two years looking at this problem and believe we now have the answer.
We ran our first course, Managing Violent Behaviour this week. It comprises of 60% de escalation tactics, linked to therapeutic parenting foundations, such as empathy and acceptance. 30% self defence and exit strategies, allowing a parent to exit if safe, and 10% safe holding techniques, when there is NO alternative due to serious and imminent risk to self or others (including the child). The safe holding does not involve putting a child on the floor, and is brief.
Participants who attended felt it was life changing.
Supporting professionals who continue to state that safe holding is never an option, in my view, are naive and are undermining the stability of placements where there is entrenched violence. We need to move forwards as profession and help parents to feel confident, thereby minimising the need to ever use these tactics, as the child’s fear is naturally reduced in direct relation to the increase in the parents’ confidence.