From the cradle our children are trusting, relying on us as parents to keep them safe from harm. To be given this privilege for this tiny human is just mind blowing to me! I feel shame and do take a lot of responsiblity for not leaving my partner sooner. They had to endure and see so much hurt, anger and grief. I consider us lucky that we did not have the heartbreak of facing sexual abuse. Though any type of abuse is heartwretching.
I can relate to this article even now. The after effects of being in that type of relationship 24/7 are even more extreme. Kids feeling the blame for the ending of the relationship, especially if the other has told them so. Feelings conflicted because they wanted out as much as Mom or Dad but now that it's a reality they feel angry or hurt. Been there myself as a 14 year old, fighting tooth and nail with my Mom but knowing going back to what she left was ridiculous and I was totally unsure why I felt that way!
Getting help or out of the relationship as quickly as you can is highly suggestible. Though you personally maybe going something terrible, think of your children witnessing it. Think of how much this effects them! Especially if the Honeymoon fades and things settle back to "normal". You are not alone with your partner in this ride. You have kids that are watching everything or hearing everything. They have a tendency to know when things are off even if they were not there to see the episode.
Please leave! If you can't do it please get help or leave for the children. And if you are the abuser please get help for your children and fo you!
Off my soap box!
Domestic violence affects every member of the family, including the children. Family violence creates a home environment where children live in constant fear.
Children who witness family violence are affected in ways similar to children who are physically abused.. They are often unable to establish nurturing bonds with either parent Children are at greater risk for abuse and neglect if they live in a violent home.
Statistics show that over 3 million children witness violence in their home each year. Those who see and hear violence in the home suffer physically and emotionally.
|"Families under stress produce children under stress. If a spouse is being abused and there are children in the home, the children are affected by the abuse." (Ackerman and Pickering, 1989) Dynamics of domestic violence are unhealthy for children: |
|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:|
|Giving Children 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.
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.
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.
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.
Safety Is for Children, Too
|A Child's Own Safety Plan Go here for a page where children can enter important personal information that they can print out and refer to in a crisis.|
|Child Victim/Witness of Domestic Violence Age-specific indicators |
|Working with Children Trust is a major factor when working with children exposed to domestic violence. Children need a safe place with an adult they can trust to begin healing. |
When first working with a child, it is helpful to ask what makes her/him feel comfortable and uncomfortable with adults.