Domestic Violence and Children
Children are innocent victims of domestic violence in the home. Many children suffer direct abuse from one or both parents or a caregiver. Other children witness violent behavior between parents, whether physical or emotional, on a day-in and day-out basis. The children are the ones who believe lies that they are either the cause of the violence or that they could have stopped the domestic abuse. They suffer without a voice, and the results play out in tell-tale symptoms. The observant and perceptive teacher, caregiver, or grandparent would be wise to assist the child with getting help.
Some of the symptoms that follow instances of domestic violence according to American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry are: anxiety & fear, depression, sleep problems including nightmares and bedwetting, aggression, anger, changes in appetite. These symptoms then escalate in adolescents with drug abuse, skipping school, declining grades, and social withdrawal.
Children of domestic violence tell themselves lies as a result of what they experience. Childhood Domestic Violence Association (CDV) includes a list of the lies children begin to believe with truths they should believe. For instance, the child feels ”worthless” because they feel unimportant, not good enough, a failure. The truth being “accomplished” because they realize what they had to overcome and few other obstacles compare. Another example, “unloved” where the child feels unloved and incapable of giving love. The truth being “loved” because making others feel cared for, appreciated, and important makes them feel the same. For a complete list of these lies with corresponding truths click here.
Hope Rising SEL is an advocate for children. Our program not only provides tools which address some of these above-mentioned behaviors, but also provides a platform that gives children a safe space to share. Children are our future. When a child is misbehaving, most likely the child is not “bad”, but the truth is they may be “crying out” to get help.