Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

Many adults think children are not effected by domestic violence if they don’t see it happening, however they can probably hear the fighting and shouting sitting in a different part of the home and may have even seen their parent bruised or upset after an argument. Irrespective of whether the child is present in the room or not the arguments will effect the child’s innocent mind in one way or the other. Children who witness domestic violence are themselves being emotionally and psychologically abused, some of these effects are short termed and some are long termed and stay with the child into their adulthood.

Children who have or are witnesses of domestic violence will feel many different emotions and each child deals differently with these emotions or trauma. It must be mentioned also that some children are able to get over the trauma and not show any
negative effects in their lives, this can be because they are emotionally stronger or they are able to somehow shut themselves off and not let the domestic violence effect them . Some children may not be as badly effected because they have support from other family members like grandparents, uncles , aunts or older siblings who are able to explain the situation to them and help them overcome it.

Listed below are some of the possible negative effects a child might face or
experience when they witnesses domestic violence:

1) Children in homes where domestic violence occurs may receive injuries when they are in the same room where the domestic violence is taking place. They may be hurt when household items are thrown or weapons are being used during the argument. Infants may be injured if being held by the mother when she is beaten by the abuser.

2) Older children may be hurt while trying to protect their mothers.

3) Children in homes where domestic violence occurs may have language problems, developmental delay, stress- related physical illnesses (such as headaches, ulcers, rashes etc) hearing and speech problems.

4) Many children in homes where domestic violence occurs have difficulties in school, problems concentrating, poor academic performance, difficulty interacting with their friends , and more absences in school.

5) Boys who witness are more likely to hit/abuse their female partners, as adults than boys raised in non-violent homes.

6) The child tends to take responsibility for the abuse.

7) The child tends to constantly worry that another beating will occur and this leads stress related disorders.

8) The child starts feeling guilty for not being able to stop the abuse or for loving the abuser.

9) The child may feel fear of abandonment.

10) The child may go into a shell and have social issues and have difficulty interacting with friends or peers and adults.

11) The child can suffer from low self-esteem

12) Children may become withdrawn .

13) As adolescents they are at risk of academic failure, leaving school at a young age, being involved in minor crimes like bullying and robbery, they may turn to drug and alcohol use and difficulties in their own relationships.

14) They may become anxious and depressed.

15) They experience nightmares or flashbacks.

16) They may start to wet their bed.

17) They may have temper tantrums

18) They may become aggressive adults

19) They may begin to self-harm by taking overdoses or cutting themselves.

20) They may have eating disorders. E.g.: anorexia bulimia

Most people think that children who experience domestic violence may grow up to
become abusers themselves or victim of domestic violence, but this does not have to
be true. It’s important that the child or a young person living in this situation has
someone to talk to and is be able to express or voice their problems ,worries and tell
them what they are through as well as the situation at home. If the child is able to find
someone to help them to over come what they have experienced they will turn out to
be better adults with no effect of domestic violence.

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