Parent- and sibling-directed aggression by minor children are two forms of family violence that often co-occur and have strong relations to prior exposure to domestic violence, yet are often overlooked in intervention efforts. In addition, current research does not examine these forms of family violence in tandem, and there is very limited research with samples exposed to domestic violence. To better understand how these forms of aggression operate within a domestic violence context, we interviewed 44 women residing in a domestic violence shelter with at least one child over 3.5 years of age who was aggressive toward them and/or siblings. Caregivers reported on their emotional reactions to children’s parent-directed aggression and the types of and effectiveness of help they sought for parent- and/or sibling-directed aggression. In line with previous literature, caregivers endorsed a complex mix of emotional reactions to their children’s parent-directed aggression, including anger, sadness, guilt, forgiveness, and worthlessness. In contrast to other studies, most caregivers (89%) had sought help for children’s parent- and/or sibling-directed aggression and found it effective. Findings contribute to the literature on parent- and sibling-directed aggression and provide implications for how to effectively intervene.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The preparation of this manuscript was supported by a fellowship awarded to the first author through the National Science Foundation (00039202).
- Parent-directed aggression
- domestic violence
- parent abuse
- sibling aggression