As we have seen in other articles, sometimes young people are not only objects of violence, they can also create it. To follow up on the series of non-violence articles, here is an article with a different form of violence which is produced mainly in the family context: CHILD-TO-PARENT VIOLENCE (CPV)
The phenomenon of violence by children towards parents has been gaining consistency in recent years. But what is understood as child-to-parent violence?
We talk about child-to-parent violence when there are repeated behaviors physical violence (aggression, hitting, shoving, throwing objects), verbal (repeated insults, threats) or non-verbal (threatening gestures, breaking of cherished objects) addressed to parents or adults who take their place.
Financial damage is another behavior that can be included in this definition.
Isolated cases are excluded, those related to the consumption of toxins, severe psychopathology, mental impairment and parricide.
Main goal: To gain power and control and to dominate parents.
It’s important to highlight that the violence carried out by children towards their parents is another type of domestic violence, a topic already discussed in our previous article.
In fact, incidents of child-to-parent aggression have been the most under-researched area of domestic violence. In other words, this type of violence has received very little academic attention.
It has dramatically risen in the last decade, becoming a concerning issue in many countries, so research on this issue has also increased.
However, most of the studies on this topic have been conducted with samples of adolescents, and very few with samples of parents.
As for the mandatory application of the United Nations’ (1985) definition of victim (child-to-parent violence implies the existence of a victim, parent or guardian), “victims means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights”.
In short, without a victim there is no child-to-parent violence, and for it to occur there must be physical or psychological (mental injury, emotional suffering) injury, financial abuse, or impairment of fundamental human rights.
Thus, if a behavior is to constitute child-to-parent violence it must cause injury (victimization) by definition. And identifying injury is not problematic when dealing with physical violence (e.g., kicks, punches, blows), but psychological violence, including emotional abuse, is subject to interpretation.
Disobedience, shouting, insulting, or blackmailing do not inevitably cause injury – this would imply if there is no victim there is no child-to-parent psychological violence.
On the other hand, there are different Scales used by the experts to measure for example verbal, physical violence such us the Conflict Tactics Scale-Parent Child (Straus & Fauchier, 2008), the Within-Family Violence Scale (Ibabe & Jaureguizar, 2011), the Adolescent Child-to-Parent Aggression Questionnaire (Calvete et al., 2013) and so on.
Paradoxically, none of these instruments evaluate reiteration, which is particularly crucial in psychological violence – the intent to cause injury, nor the injury caused.
(The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context)
As an example, in Spain, the Fiscalía General del Estado de España (2020), in its last report, expresses concern about the notable increase in CPV cases over the last decade (4,665 in 2017, 4,871 in 2018, and 5,055 in 2019).
Nevertheless, as these data refer to those reported cases at Juvenile Court, it is expected that many cases of CPV remain unknown. In this regard, studies with community samples provide a relevant source of information about the extent of CPV.
There are many field studies across countries in which adolescents report CPV incidents, but studies with samples of parents reporting their children’s violent behaviors are scarce.
However, to know the parents’ perspectives about CPV is crucial for a more accurate understanding of this phenomenon, as some discrepancies have been observed between adolescents’ reports and parents’ reports in the sense that parents may underestimate the violence they suffer from their children.
(Assessing Child-to-Parent Violence With the Child-to-Parent Violence Questionnaire, Parents’ Version (CPV-Q-P): Factor Structure, Prevalence, and Reasons).