Restoring the parental position in the face of emerging childhood challenges with non violent resistance
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Kelly, Tara, & Coogan, Declan. (2020). Restoring the Parental Position in the Face of Emerging Childhood Challenges with Non Violent Resistance. Feedback – the Journal of the Family Therapy Association of Ireland, Winter 2020, 65-82.
Behaviours associated with child to parent violence and abuse (CPVA) and anxiety can paralyse parents and children in a cycle of fear, intimidation and parental accommodation. Psychotherapists and practitioners can also feel caught up in the paralysis and uncertainty. In this paper, we draw on practice experience and research from Ireland and further afield to ask: in what ways can CPVA and anxiety disempower the child and parents? We also explore the ways in which psychotherapists, practitioners and parents can make the move from fear and paralysis to active engagement in resistance to the problem and restoration of family relationships. We suggest that the resolution of these problems lies in systemic approaches. We present the principles of Non Violent Resistance (NVR) and the Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions (SPACE) programme as promising responses to the challenges of violent and abusive behaviour and of childhood anxiety. With examples from practice and research, we suggest these models offer potential solutions where a child is unwilling or unable to engage in problem resolution.