Half of mums ‘abused’ by kids – study

AAP 12 February 2008

Half of mothers experience some form of manipulation or bullying at the hands of their children, even if it is as simple as the silent treatment, a survey shows. A study of more than 1000 NSW women has found high rates of abuse inflicted by children, particularly teenage boys, but the mothers commonly excused it as typical behaviour.Researchers from the University of Western Sydney found that 51 per cent of those questioned had been on the receiving end of some kind of abuse.

“There are many types of violence that mothers experience from their children in the home, but people shouldn’t assume violence has to be physical,” said Professor Lesley Wilkes, who oversaw the project. “While bullying, hitting and threats of self-harm from their children are what mothers are most fearful about, the most common forms of child-to-mother violence reported are swearing and name-calling, demeaning parenting skills, damaging property, the `silent treatment’ and aggressively making demands.”

…”A blurred power dynamic between parent and child results in mothers experiencing frequent intimidation, lack of respect and bullying, which is not acceptable or typical teenage behaviour,” Ms Edenborough said. The younger the child starts this behaviour, the longer it continues and the greater the amount of violence occurs, the study found.