Childhood Challenging Violent and Aggressive Behaviour is complex, it's emotive, its scary. It's challenging for professionals to walk into a home and unpick the murky soup of trauma, behaviour, biology, history, family etc.
It seems like a little overstatement but picking up the phone to ask for help can be one of the hardest things we do as a family. Beyond the usual barriers, shame, guilt and embarrassment, the uncertainty of what the response will be can strike absolute terror into the heart of any parent or carer.
This picking up the phone and 'rolling the dice' is what we do as we don't know who will come or what they'll do.
We've had some amazing professional involvement, which bizarrely we take full credit for*. We've put in the legwork, built the relationships, worked hard at effective communication (and occasionally education). Being honest we've also seen professionals step up and step in when needed and it's been a life saver, those good ones are worth all the gold in the world.
When it's not been so great it's rarely been intentional but more often professionals finding themselves in situations that they're not equipped or trained for. Of course, sometimes it's just plainly outside of the remit of the agency or they have a lack of resources or capacity for complex work. Mostly the come in and say, 'I'll need to talk to my manager'.
This week two people contacted me, they'd 'rolled the dice'. For one it went much better than expected, they'd held off for months, absorbed behaviour, violence, aggression for fear of not knowing who will come and it fell favourably. For the other, not so well. Veiled concerns over their parenting, what was going on, ineffectual collaboration between professionals, confusion over roles, a mess added to a mess. Worse still families drawn into child safeguarding at the expense of adult safeguarding. (Note: Everyone needs safeguarding often)
If we can believe that the prevalence of #CCVAB #CPV is between 3% and 10% in the general population and higher in specific cohorts (SGO, SEN, LAC, PLAC) then the powers that be need to take this seriously. It may not be present in every case a children/families/adoption/SGO/LAC social worker has but it will be a feature of some families. We need the profession to build on the knowledge base and be more effective at supporting families and offering effective solutions. At least we need specialists within LA/RAAs to be available to consult with frontline social workers, offer support and guidance.
Families should not feel like they roll the dice when they pick up the phone to ask for help. I know the solutions are complex, messy and uncertain. However, the basics of listening, understanding and showing empathy and compassion should be our start point regardless and those be a foundation to build effective interventions off.