The mother of three adopted children living near Warwick has told a national conference about the “sense of blame” she felt for not being able to control her aggressive teenage daughter.
The woman was invited to share her concerns at the event organised by Adoption UK, which has just received £300,000 from the Department of Education to support those who welcome other people’s children into their homes.
If better strategies are learned by adoptive parents it reduces the chance of a placement breaking down, causing even more damage to a vulnerable child.
The Warwick mother, who has to remain anonymous to protect the identities of her children, told the conference in Birmingham: “It seems mothers get the brunt of the frustrations of a child who has perhaps witnessed domestic violence before coming into the care system.
“Sometimes youngsters are very psychologically wounded and most often take it out on their adoptive mum, but also on younger children by scratching, biting or kicking.
“I know realise that the sense of blame I feel is shared by about a third of those in this room. I can also see how some children, who already feel a sense of rejection, are testing how strongly adoptive parents feel about them.”
Another parent at the conference said: “I’m ashamed because I get beaten up by my ten-year-old son. It seems pathetic to admit violence is going on at home but I’ve learned covering things up is not helping.”
Hugh Thornbery, chief executive for Adoption UK, said: “The fact this conference is a sell-out highlights the unmet need of adoptive parents for this type of intervention.”
A psychotherapist said important strategies were to understand how violence escalates, reconciliation gestures and how to build networks with friends, family, mentors and teachers.