05 SES 03, (Preventing) Bullying and Violence
Violence in families is a topic that has been well studied over the past decades. But most studies focus mainly on violent acts of parents, especially fathers, against their children or of husbands against their wives. However, violent acts of children against their parents have been focused upon only very rarely – and if so, it was physical acts of violence, whereas the even more widespread phenomenon of psychic violence has been widely neglected so far. Thus, the study of adolescents’ psychic violence against their mothers is the topic of this paper. The reason why mothers (and not fathers) are focused upon is that in most cases where psychic violence of adolescents occurs within the family the father is no longer present because he either divorced or left the family.
Since psychic violence is not easy to identify phenomenologically, it needs to be operationalized. This is done by defining psychic violence as denial of affection and trust, as emotional blackmailing and threatening, as verbal violence in forms of insulting or humiliating remarks as well as indirect aggressions by destroying personal objects that have a high value for the specific person. On the basis of general literature on aggression and violence and of specific literature on violence in families a theoretical framework of psychic violence of adolescents against their mothers is developed drawing upon theories of psychopathology, social learning, family constellations, and social control.
The research questions underlying this study are: How did the mother-child relationship develop since childhood in the context of family dynamics? What are the developmental changes that led to the power position of the child or adolescent, respectively? What are the concrete situations in which violent acts against mothers happen? What are the latent and manifest causes of the violent acts? What are the consequences of the violent acts? What are the effects on the mental health of the mother and on the rest of the family and how do mothers cope with this strain? How do mothers try to improve the relationship with their child?
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