Bath Chronicle

Charity boss fears rising anger levels in children

- Imogen Mcguckin imogen.mcguckin@reachplc.com

Children in Bath are becoming more aggressive and demanding as a result of lockdown, a charity leader has said.

Penny Mckissock, 76, has worked for Southside for 25 years and helped hundreds of families overcome domestic abuse, substance abuse, and other social issues.

She said that during 2020, they had received “more and more” reports of children using physical and emotional abuse to make their parents’ lives a misery.

“Lots of seven and eight-year-olds have shown anger towards their parents. It was something we were becoming aware of before lockdown, but since March last year, it seems like a lot - particular­ly in younger children.

“It keeps coming up and that tells us it is really a problem and it’s getting worse,” she said.

Mrs Mckissock and her team are starting to record the numbers for these cases, so they can see if her instinct is right.

She explained: “It’s probably because they are seeing more violence in the home. For many victims, last year was the first time their (adult) perpetrato­r has turned to physical methods of abuse - and the kids are seeing that.”

The charity CEO drew on a recent case as an example (all names and ages have been changed).

‘Jane,’ a recently divorced mother from Bath, had two sons: ‘Corey,’ 12, and ‘Aiden,’ 14. When his dad left, ‘Aiden’ blamed his mum and started to become aggressive.

“The only way she could deal with it was to give in to every single demand,” Penny explained.

‘Aiden’ would stay in his bedroom, banging on the floor to demand hot chocolate and food, and treating his mother like a slave.

‘Jane’ would do what he asked, as any delay would incur retaliatio­n from ‘Aiden’ which was becoming more and more violent.

The young mum had been working from home since March and was struggling to meet her deadlines at work due to ‘Aiden’s’ behaviour. However, she couldn’t even think of “disobeying” him.

“She said, ‘I can’t do it, I have no energy, I’m completely drained,’” Penny explained.

With help from Southside, ‘Jane’ got a friend to come round to the house and help her. Telling ‘Aiden’ “no” was the first step in taking back her authority, Penny explained, and it brought a positive change for the family.

“We’re starting to collect data on cases like that, but I really think that children and young people want a parent who is not a friend, but someone who is in charge,” she said.

 ??  ?? Penny Mckissock has been helping Bath families for 25 years
Main pic: Artur Lesniak
Penny Mckissock has been helping Bath families for 25 years Main pic: Artur Lesniak

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK