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Christian author blames lack of discipline for surge in child attacks on parents

Wed 07 Aug 2019
By Heather Preston

A Christian author says the rising numbers of children attacking their parents is down to a lack of discipline within the home.

According to new data gathered from 19 police forces across the UK, the number of violent incidents by children towards their parents has doubled in the last three years.

The forces' statistics recorded a jump from 7,224 incidents of adolescent to parent violence and abuse in 2015 to 14,133 in 2018.

Christian author and mother of six children, Lynette Burrows said these figures are not surprising.

Speaking to Premier, she said: "I think this is a result of years and years of 'academic' child care advice, particularly in the correction and disciplinary area, where we've not thought it's important to instil respect for any authority figures.

"I've always thought and maintained that if you can't control the child's behaviour at four, you certainly won't be able to do it at 14, when the issues are even more grievous."

 

Lynette says that media and culture have left many parents uncertain about how to bring up their children.

"The mass media and advice from schools always stresses that you mustn't make children do what they don't want to do. The wild extremes such as never using the word no and nonsense like that - that would be practically impossible to do in reality.

"They try to criminalise smacking, as they're still trying in Scotland, which, of course, would criminalise a very large majority of parents who know that smacking a child is about correction. It's not really about punishment at all. But it's certainly making them respect the rules of the place where they grow up and have respect for their parents.

Ms Burrows believes that a child's behaviour is dependent on the parenting they receive and argues that discipline is a reflection of your love for the child.

She said: "I just don't accept that the child suddenly turns into some wild beast.

"You gently introduce what they should and must do in order to conform to your way of life, to give you time to look after other children do other work, to behave themselves reasonably well. I think that happens perfectly naturally. Obedience follows the respect that a child feels for this person.

"It's all about teaching them what love is, and what it means in terms of deferring gratification, showing kindness, showing respect, and all that kind of thing is set down very, very early."

Al Coates, a Christian social worker and lobbyist in relation to children’s violence and aggressive behaviour to parents and carers doesn’t think the issue is so simple.

Speaking to Premier, he said: “There are many causes of challenging and violent behaviour with no one clear solution due to the complexity of the issue.

“Broadly speaking the impact of early adversity, trauma, loss and separation can have an enduring impact on a child’s capacity to manage and moderate their behaviour. Other factors can include conditions that impact on brain functioning such as autism, ADHD, FASD and other neurodevelopment disorders as well as learning disabilities.

“The impact of these canlead to children struggling to regulate their responses, perception of events, hyper vigilance, hyper arousal and other underlying difficulties that result in the manifestation of challenging and violent behaviour.

“Many parents struggle to support their children with ’normal’ parenting models and struggle to keep their children and themselves safe with this at times leading to seeking support from services and in extreme situations the police.

 “Many families suffer under a blanket of stigma and blame that isolates them from their family, friends and communities including church communities that can have a more traditional view of how children should behave. This report is good news for those families as they see that they are not alone and may be the prompt to seek supportive peer groups and services.”

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