Listening to parents tell their story about the varying levels of violence in the family home, it has become common place for me to hear how all too often, they do not believe their children know what is happening. Moreover, a number of parents do not understand how deeply their children are impacted by what goes on in the family violence. The parents generally believe that their relationship and their children are two separate issues. Some couples, for many reasons, choose to ignore the impact the violence has on their children.
Social science researchers have concluded that boys who grow up witnessing their mother’s abuse are far more likely to grow up and abuse their wife or significant other. Girls growing up witnessing the violence perpetrated upon their mothers are more likely to engage in relationships that are prone to violence and have a much more difficult time leaving the relationship once the violence starts.
Children from preschool, and younger, to high school and beyond, harbor behaviors that are impacted by family violence. Some of the behaviors manifest in emotional dysfunction that sometimes produces errors in clinical diagnosis. Children can appear; somatic, regress, hyperactive, depressed, angry, hostile, unfocused, uncooperative, unreliable, impulsive, oppositional, isolative, forgetful, and the list goes on. The tendency is for those on the outside looking in on domestic violence situations to blame someone for the children’s behaviors. Generally, the blame, in many cases is placed upon the victim of domestic violence.
I surmise that rather than blame the victim, it is beneficial to support her and help her address the issues. Empower her with information about the effects of domestic violence and assist her in helping her overcome the violence and along with her children recover from the violence.