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‘The terrorist in my home’: teenagers' violence towards parents – constructions of parent experiences in public online message boards

Authors

  • Amanda Holt

    Corresponding author
    1. Senior Lecturer in Criminal Psychology, Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth, Ravelin House, Portsmouth, UK
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Amanda Holt, Criminal Psychology, Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, University of Portsmouth, Ravelin House, Museum Road, Portsmouth PO1 2QQ, UK. E-mail: amanda.holt@port.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Teenagers' violence towards parents is a hidden and underexplored problem, particularly within the UK, and the stigma attached to such experiences makes research access difficult. In this study, two online message boards which featured parents' posted accounts of their teenagers' violence towards them were analysed. Using discourse analysis, three consistent discursive themes were identified: the emotional terrain of such experiences, the psychologisation of the child-as-‘perpetrator’ and parental responses to these complex experiences. Overall, these three themes were weaved together to produce overarching narratives of powerlessness and loss of hope. The theoretical and practical implications of this analysis are discussed, including a consideration of how such online message boards enable and delimit parental agency.

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