Recovery For Abused Women

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Domestic Violence Series for August 2, 2012 "Dynamics of Domestic Violence That Are Unhealthy for Children"

Domestic Violence Series (Part 3)

Effects of Domestic Violence on Children Victims/Witness Continued:

B. Dynamics of Domestic Violence That Are Unhealthy for Children: - (Part 3B)

  • Control of family by one dominant member.
  • Abuse of a parent.
  • Isolation.
  • Protecting the "family secret"

C. Ways Domestic Violence Effects Children

Children react to their environment in different ways, and reactions can vary depending on the child's gender and age. Children exposed to family violence are more likely to develop social, emotional, psychological and or behavioral problems than those who are not. Recent research indicates that children who witness domestic violence show more anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, anger and temperament problems than children who do not witness violence in the home. The trauma they experience can show up in emotional, behavioral, social and physical disturbances that effect their development and can continue into adulthood.

Some potential effects:

1. Emotional

  • Grief for family and personal losses.
  • Shame, guilt, and self-blame.
  • Confusion about conflicting feelings toward parents.
  • Fear of abandonment, or expressing emotions, the unknown or personal injury
  • Grief for family and personal losses.
  • Shame, guilt, and self-blame.
  • Confusion about conflicting feelings
  • Anger
  • Depression and feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
  • Embarrassment.

2. Behavioral

  • Acting out or withdrawing.
  • Aggressive or passive.
  • Refusing to go to school.
  • Care taking; acting as a parent substitute.
  • Lying to avoid confrontation.
  • Rigid defenses.
  • Excessive attention seeking.
  • Bedwetting and nightmares.
  • Out of control behavior.
  • Reduced intellectual competency.
  • Manipulation, dependency, mood swings.

 3. Social

  • Isolation from friends and relatives.
  • Stormy relationships.
  • Difficulty in trusting, especially adults.
  • Poor anger management and problem solving skills.
  • Excessive social involvement to avoid home.
  • Passivity with peers or bullying.
  • Engaged in exploitative relationships as perpetrator or victim.

4. Physical

  • Somatic complaints, headaches and stomachaches.
  • Nervous, anxious, short attention span.
  • Tired and lethargic.
  • Frequently ill.
  • Poor personal hygiene.
  • Regression in development.
  • High risk play.
  • Self abuse

D.  How Parents Can Help Their Children Heal From the Effects of Domestic Violence

Children who have been exposed to domestic violence and abuse needs love and care. Nurturing children from abusive homes can bring healing to their lives. In giving needed love and care to children, it is important for a parent to reflect these essentials:

  • Trust and Respect: Acknowledge children's right to have their own feelings, friends, activities and opinions. Promote independence, allow for privacy and respect their feelings for the other parent. Believe in them.
  • Provide Emotional Security: Talk and act so children feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves. Be gentle. Be dependable.
  • Provide Physical Security: Provide healthy food, safe shelter and appropriate clothing. Teach personal hygiene and nutrition. Monitor safety. Maintain a family routine. Attend to wounds.
  • Provide Discipline: Be consistent; ensure that rules are appropriate to age and development of the child. Be clear about limits and expectations. Use discipline to give instruction, not to punish.
  • Give Time: Participate in your children's lives, in their activities, school, sports, special events, celebrations and friends. Include your children in your activities. Reveal who you are to your children.
  • Encourage and Support: Be affirming. Encourage children to follow their interests. Let children disagree with you. Recognize improvement. Teach new skills. Let them make mistakes.
  • Give Affection: Express verbal and physical affection. Be affectionate when your children are physically or emotionally hurt.
  • Care for Yourself: Give yourself personal time. Keep yourself healthy. Maintain friendships. Accept love


Click here for PDF version...


Next section posted will be “Domestic Violence Series (Part 3) – “Effects of Domestic Violence on Children Victims/Witness – Age Specific Effects of Domestic Violence on Children” (Part 3C) on Tuesday, August 7th


Peace be unto you and your family,

Dr. Hooks


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