The families I work with never cease to amaze me – their strength, their determination, their stamina in keeping their child safe. Recently, a mother shared with me some amazing practice in NVR which demonstrated her parental presence and her pledge to continue on her path to resist her son’s aggression and controlling behaviours.
After a session with me discussing her concern about her son’s over use of the Xbox, playing games until late in the night, impacting on his sleeping pattern and his inability to rise in the morning for school. It was decided the parents were going to remove the XBox from the home whilst he was at school.
This had been carefully planned, ensuring the availability of supporters to be present upon his return from school and stay for the night until morning. We talked about his reactions and carefully planned for this.
He arrived home from school in a good mood and then suddenly realised his Xbox was missing and went into a rage. He called her a F**king B**ch and demanded it back. The mother noted that because of the supporters presence her son didn’t escalate, and remained silent. He kept his distance in another room for an hour and did what his mother considered was to regulate his mood. The evening turned out to be fun, with the supporters and young person communicating in a peaceful manner.
The next day the son left the house still cursing his mother about the missing Xbox and went about his day. She soon discovered a problem: her son had removed her laptop and hidden it!! This was something she had thought about but not acted on. The laptop was a necessary part of her work and she very much needed it. The son had demanded £10 for the safe return of the laptop. We spoke about how best to manage this and she decided before staging a” sit in” for the safe return of her laptop, she would hunt for it. It was soon found in the loft space in one piece!! Phew. She later discovered the son arrived at his grandparents’ home that afternoon with two friends and the grandparents expressed their concern to him peacefully. A few moments later, the son texted his mother and told her where he had hidden the laptop. The mother responded with a thank you text but didn’t share with him she had already found it!!
These parents are no longer challenged by their son’s physical violence or property damage, but still endure extreme levels of controlling behaviour. Verbally challenged with insult after insult, disrespect and put-downs, unreasonable demands and his deliberate ways of raising his control in the home. These parents are faced with the constant commitment to de-escalate and let certain behaviours go. They have been using NVR for two years with much success. That success is, in my opinion, down to their persistence and perseverance to keep him safe, to work towards a non-violent relationship and expressing their concern about the unwanted behaviours.
I often ask myself how they do it? How do they keep going? Their response is that this approach – NVR – works. They tried many other therapeutic interventions before, and NVR has given them the best results in managing violent and controlling behaviours. True – they need to be 5 steps ahead of their son, they recognise they can’t take their foot off the pedal, and utilising their network of supporters is crucial. We often reflect on how much time has passed since violence has ceased to be present in their lives – the mother says she sometimes forgets how bad things were, and although she recognises her son continues to try and threaten her, she is no longer scared of him.
Specialist Parenting Practitioner
Associate Director PartnershipProjects
Rachael has worked with families and young people as a behaviour support specialist for twenty years. Rachael has pioneered the integration of NVR and 12-step principles in her work with parents recovering from addiction, and has supported PartnershipProjects by providing training and supervision on the NVR Certificate Course. Read more…