‘He’s out of control, I’m out of control, it’s just – I’ve got to do something’: a narrative inquiry of child to parent violence

Chye Toole-Anstey, Michelle L. Townsend, Lynne Keevers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Families globally experience child to parent violence (CPV). Stories of CPV have been considered at an individual and collective level to ascertain themes in parents’ accounts to identify enabling and restraining factors for CPV. However, understanding the societal narratives, defined as discourses, which have a multi-directional and entangled relationship with individual recounts of CPV have yet to be investigated. This research utilizes Narrative Inquiry with participatory approaches to explicate the societal narratives within mothers’ recounts of CPV. This analysis, guided by the interactional and discursive view of violence, and response-based practice, identifies societal narratives which set the conditions for what is possible and impossible in relation to CPV. The analysis contributes to understanding the attitudes of minimization and concealment of violence within parents’ accounts of CPV. The mothers’ recounts were constrained and made possible by the ‘good’ mother narrative and narratives of adolescence and gender. This research examines the intra-actions mothers’ recounts have with the societal narratives, and the performance of their roles as (en)actors of the subject positions ‘mother’ and ‘child’. Implications for practice and research include: consideration to practitioner’s views of power and subject positions in a parent and child relationship when working with CPV; and practitioners to be critical of essentialism and gender in working with CPV. This study posits a practical demonstration for using the response-based practice approach in research; and a way of viewing stories which can be incorporated in working with families experiencing CPV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022
Externally publishedYes


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