PARENTS

Jo Frost On How 'Britain's Killer Kids' Taught Her Parents Need To Ask For Help With Child Violence

'We aren’t doing enough as a nation to protect our children.'

13/10/2017 16:14 BST | Updated 13/10/2017 16:14 BST

Jo Frost believes we need to create a culture where parents aren’t afraid to ask for help with child violence.

The parenting expert, previously known as ‘Supernanny’, explores the shocking subject of children who murder in her latest documentary, ‘Jo Frost: On Britain’s Killer Kids’. 

Each of the four episodes looks at a different topic including children who kill a family member and children who kill at school.

Murder may be the extreme end of the spectrum, but Frost said filming the series taught her that we need to ensure all parents feel it is okay to ask for help on issues of anger and violence, “so they don’t feel as if they have failed”.

“I am concerned about the length of time it takes for the families to receive the help they need,” she told HuffPost UK.

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Frost said if a parent has a child who is violent, they should understand there is the potential for that violence to escalate. 

“The first thing they should do is take ownership of the situation and seek the help they need,” she explained.

“That way it is possible to identify where the violence is coming from and then be able to get the right expertise to help the child and the family.”

Emma Saddleton, parents’ helpline operations manager at YoungMinds, has previously told HuffPost UK that anger and violence is one of the top five issues that is discussed in calls to their helpline.

“It’s a huge hidden problem in the UK,” she said. “It’s enormous. It debilitates parents and leaves them questioning how they parent their children.”

KillerKids

Although many children may have anger issues, it’s only a very small percentage who go on to kill. 

In the four-part documentary series, Frost explores what it is that drives a child to murder, but she said it isn’t an easy question to answer. 

“What I have learned on the journey I have been on whilst making this show is that there is no simple answer,” she explained. “I do not believe children are born evil.

“Each of the four cases the show investigates had a common denominator of the children having a complex, if not abusive, home environment.

“I have worked with children of all ages and have found that their issues usually come from a place of innocence, which is why being on this journey has been shocking for me on a personal level.”  

‘Jo Frost: On Britain’s Killer Kids’ airs on Sundays on ‘Crime + Investigation’ at 10pm.

For information and support on child violence:

NHS Choices has information on how to deal with child anger here

Young Minds offers a telephone support service for parents struggling to support a young person’s mental health needs, between the hours of 9.30am and 4.00pm, Monday to Friday: 0808 802 5544.

Family Lives offers a confidential helpline service (free from landlines and most mobiles): 0808 800 2222, which is open 9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 3pm Saturday and Sunday.

An interactive map showing where services with expertise in providing support for those affected by child-on-parent violence has been created by a team headed up by social worker Helen Bonnick.

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