Only 14, James (not his real name) once ordered his parents out of
the master bedroom so that he could sleep there.
also physically assaulted his father multiple times.
would also smash objects at home, and these episodes happened so frequently, police
officers at the police station near their home have become familiar with the
family, said his counsellor.
father eventually had to take out a personal protection order (PPO) against the
Counsellor Clinton Galistan
said: “The parents had become hostage to the situation, and the boy
controlled the family.”
cases, where children are abusive towards parents or grandparents, are not as
uncommon as some may think, experts told The New Paper.
from the Family Justice Courts showed that of the average 2,841 fresh PPO
applications filed between 2014 and 2017, 8 per cent were by parents against
children. This is double the 4 per cent filed by children against parents.
this week, The Straits Times reported how in 2016, a 16-year-old student armed
himself with a steak knife and stabbed, slashed, punched and kicked his father
when he refused to give him $2,000.
19, he pleaded guilty in court on Wednesday to causing grievous hurt to his
told TNP they are seeing more cases of children attacking their parents. And
the children are getting younger.
to statistics released by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)
on Wednesday, the number of children whose parents had to resort to filing
Beyond Parental Control (BPC) complaints against them was at a 10-year high
were 108 new cases last year – against 71 cases in 2016 and 85 in 2017 – and
most of the complaints were against children aged 13 to 14.
between 2009 and 2017, most of the BPCs were taken out against girls. (See
report on Page 4.)
of these cases have also escalated to the point where the parents live in fear
of the child.
Carol Balhetchet related a case where a mother of a 14-year-old was so afraid
of him she did not dare return home alone. Instead, she would wait for her
husband to finish work and go home with her.
son had physically attacked her more than once.
Galistan, the director of justice and institutions at Lutheran Community Care
Services, said cases of abusive children are common.
social paradigm and dynamic is changing, parents let their kids get away with a
lot of things and at some point, the parents become a hostage to the
situation,” said Mr Galistan, who had been a senior prison officer and had
worked at both prison school and Assumption Pathway School.
Balhetchet said it could be something similar to “the little emperor
syndrome”, where parents overindulge their child or give in when the child
throws a tantrum. This will lead to the child feeling like he should be getting
in moments where the parents cannot control the child and lashes out or uses
violence, the child learns that is how he can gain control,” she added.
problem of abusive children is not unique to Singapore.
Daily Mail reported in 2017 that a UK-wide survey in 2016 by researchers One
Pulse found three in 10 mothers claiming to have been physically attacked by
BBC also reported that in 2015, figures from the Crown Prosecution Service
showed 2,549 teens aged 14 to 17 were prosecuted for a range of domestic abuse
offences on family members and in-laws, an increase from 2,114 in 2013-14.
The youngest defendants were aged 10 to 13 and of these, 11 were convicted.
This article was first published in The New Paper