Why You're Right to Blame the Parents

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We have all seen parents yelling at their children in the supermarket or dragging their child off from the playground. Anger is almost acceptable when it is directed at children. But the angry parent is the root cause of many a child's behavioural problems, leading children's charities are saying

Parents are being urged to get help if they can't control their temper, as leading children's charities describe a clear link between angry parents and damaged children.

The new warning comes as the British Association of Anger Management gathers data on the extent of the problem, working with leading children's charities including the NSPCC.

John Cameron, head of the NSPCC's child protection helpline says that parental anger was the root cause of a a spectrum of issues which the NSPCC deals with, from domestic violence to bullying in the playground.

He says: “What we see from our calls is just the tip of the iceberg. We want a change of attitude. Anger is stigmatised in society in the way that mental health once was. Parents find it very difficult to seek advice. We are saying to parents, your behaviour impacts on the child's, you need to learn to manage it.”

According to Parentline Plus, most parents who call to say they have anger issues have mentioned their children's mental health as well, saying that children feel confused or fearful.

Calls to Parentline Plus about problems with anger have doubled in frequency for the period October 2007 to June 2009 (from 206 calls a month to 407 a month), with 16% of those reporting a mental health issue citing anger as the problem.

A spokesman says: “The anger issue reaches a peak at January and August. Based on that, we could probably say that Christmas or going back to school after Christmas and summer holidays actually tends to trigger more anger.”

Mike Fisher, director of the British Association of Anger Management comments: “A child emulates what he sees, angry behaviour rubs off in many ways. For example, a child from an angry household won't respond to reason when he gets to school, he won't understand relationships which don't display anger. Education then suffers, leading to career prospects suffering and on into criminality. The cost to society is enormous.”

The British Association of Anger Management offers a range of courses around the country to help parents and others learn to manage and express their feelings of anger in a positive way.

Anger Features Prominently In Calls From Parents To Parentline Plus

Source: Parentline Plus (30,894 calls April 2009- December 2009)

Adult mental health issues reported*
% of calls
Stress 58%
Anger 16%
Depression 12%
Grieving 4%
Postnatal depression 1%
Suicide 1%
Panic attacks 1%
Other 7%
*50% of overall calls to Parentline Plus relate to mental health issues

Reasons Parents Report For Their Anger

Source: Parentline Plus qualitative survey

Reported reason
% of calls
Angry with (ex) partner’s behaviour 32%
Angry with child's behaviour 23%
Angry because of conflict between child and adult 19%
Angry with other adult (family member, teacher, etc) 17%
Angry because of child’s (sexual) abuse 4%
Angry at everything (no identified reason) 4%
Panic attacks 1%
Other 7%

Notes to editors:

Case studies of parents who have been through anger management programmes are available.

For further information, please contact:

Mike Fisher, British Association of Anger Management
Tel.: 0845 1300 286 / 07931569051
Website: http://www.angermanage.co.uk

About the British Association of Anger Management/Beating Anger

BAAM was established in 1999 in the UK. It is recognised by the NHS, BUPA, court authorities and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Its services are available to anyone who is dealing with their own or another person's anger. It has worked with over 13,000 people, from the unemployed to the high profile, including many international celebrities. It operates Beating Anger clinics across the UK. A recent series of workshops on anger management for parents in conjunction with Ealing Council was doubly oversubcribed.

About Mike Fisher
BAAM’s Mike Fisher is a renowned anger ‘guru’, TV consultant and author of the best seller, ‘Beating Anger’, with more than 30,000 copies sold since its launch in 2005.

Helplines:

The NSPCC free helpline is 0808 800 5000

Parentline plus is on freephone 0808 800 222

Gingerbread, the charity for single parents, operates a free helpline which offers advice on dealing with practical problems such as contact arrangements and child maintenance on 0808 802 0925

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