National Association of Therapeutic Parents -Public Page

December 18, 2017

This is happening, not because I want it to, but because good people are getting hurt for want of knowledge, and that to us here at Dynamis is like a magnet for our efforts.
⭐️Violent behaviour – Danger of denial⭐️

The issue we get asked about the most is how to deal with child to parent violence and child on child violence. At the same time we see many supporting professionals appearing to deny the need for parents to be properly equipped to manage this very real issue, which destabilises families and creates unnecessary labelling for traumatised children.

I understand that the idea of having to hold on to a child to prevent them from seriously hurting themselves or others is an uncomfortable one. It is however a REAL dilemma which happens daily in many thousands of homes across the world.

We know that unfortunately, supporting professionals are often ill equipped and lack the necessary training to give the correct advice around strategies to manage children from trauma. I say this as a former social worker.

So, we have ended up in a situation where parents struggle daily with violence and when they turn to supporting professionals to provide them with the necessary means to protect themselves AND the child they are often met with a blanket response of ‘you are not allowed to hold the child.’

This fear comes from an era when children were restrained forcibly and unnecessarily in the most horrendous situations. Now there seems to be a lack of confidence and trust in therapeutic parents to implement these strategies effectively and safely. So instead, parents are likely to be told that they cannot have training.

What does this mean? Well it means that the violence continues, the parent is more fearful and lacking in confidence and therefore it is more likely there will be an assault resulting in real physical injuries, or an incident where the child will hurt themselves.

I have spent the last two years carefully looking at a way to incorporate therapeutic parenting into strategies which help parents to properly manage violence and also to feel confident in those situations when the child is putting themselves in danger and must be prevented from doing so. I.e. about to jump out of a window or run into a road. It is astonishing how many times situations escalate which could have been prevented simply due to the parents fear and lack of training around when and how to hold a child safely.

The course we have now managed to put together (with a partner company,) after a great deal of careful thought and planning, ‘Managing Violent Behaviour’, has been met with enthusiasm and a huge sense of relief from parents. The reaction from supporting professionals has been mixed. While some also welcome the new course and realise how useful it will be in helping children to stay in their families, others have greeted the course with dismay. Some have said that they ”can’t let carers access any training where safe holding is shown”. I wonder if perhaps that means they are therefore condoning ‘unsafe holding’ or running away?

Our course makes it really clear that we only ever hold children when there is NO other alternative and where there is serious risk to the child or others. It is not a light-hearted or casual approach. Of course we include all the preventative measures and deescalation strategies too.

Parents and carers need to be trained and given some credibility that they will use these techniques in the way they are trained to use them and as a last resort. Parents and children need to be protected from violence and from aggression arising from children when they are dysregulated.

This real issue needs a strong solution. The weak solution is merely denial and will continue to place children and their carers at significant risk

If supporting professionals continue to bury their heads in the sand on this issue, someone is going to come and bite them on the bum. This is NOT going to go away!

Be brave people.

Related Posts

NHS Trainers Shocked by gains from Scenario Approach

NHS Trainers Shocked by gains from Scenario Approach

Restraint Reduction Outcomes (Part 7 of 7)

Restraint Reduction Outcomes (Part 7 of 7)

Engaging Hearts and Minds (Part 6 of 7)

Engaging Hearts and Minds (Part 6 of 7)

Building Confidence in the Team (Part 5 of 7)

Building Confidence in the Team (Part 5 of 7)


Gerard O'Dea is the Director of Training for Dynamis. Training Advisor, Speaker, Author and Expert Witness on Personal Safety, Conflict Management and Physical Interventions, he is the European Advisor for Vistelar Conflict Management, a global programme focussing on the spectrum of human conflict.

Gerard O'Dea

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}