Non Violent Resistance

What is it?

Non-violent resistance (NVR) is an approach that helps parents to manage the violent and destructive behaviour of their children. It usually involves meeting without the young person as parents are usually the people most wanting things to change. CAMHS may recommend it when, alongside a mental health problem, a teenager is acting aggressively.

Non-violent resistance looks at ways that parents can manage and change these difficult behaviours.

It encourages parents to make a stand against the violent behaviour of the young person without using physical or verbal aggression. It will often involve trying different ways of talking and involving other people close to parents to support them.

This can be quite demanding of parents but is successful at turning around risky situations and improving relationships.

Non-violent resistance uses ideas from the civil rights movement where people like Ghandi and Martin Luther King used peaceful protests to overcome injustice.

Most meetings will be for parents with one therapist but sometimes other family members or other supportive people might join in to find ways of working together.

It would take on average around 12 weekly meetings and "homework" where parents try a new approach at home.

Sometimes there may need to be telephone contact between meetings to support parents.

Non-Violent Resistance – A parent’s perspective

Our son presented us with violent and destructive behaviour from the age of seven. In this time he has been to court three or four times for assaulting us. His destructive behaviour culminated in him smashing eight downstairs windows in the home shortly before Christmas 2007.
At the end of our tether, we turned to the NVR (Non-Violent Resistance) programme recommended by professionals. We were sceptical to begin with but stuck with the three main strands of the programme, namely -
• Enlist supporters – we cannot overstate how important this is.
• Remember in stressful situations: ‘strike when the iron is cold’.
• Stage a sit-in over major incidents (This reinforces the message that your child is NOT getting away with his/her unacceptable behaviour).
We were often pressurised by well-meaning family members espousing their home-spun theories on child-rearing. Alas, we live in a different world to the one our grandparents lived through and we found that reacting ‘on the spot’ to his violence caused rapid escalation.
We therefore cannot recommend highly enough for you to try the NVR approach. Things won’t change overnight but, in our case, things are definitely looking up.
We believe you owe it to yourself/yourselves and your child to give NVR your full-hearted try.
We sincerely wish you the very best of luck.

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