Domestic violence, especially among kids has been prevalent in the world for a long time. To understand the consequences of domestic violence, it is vital to know what domestic violence is all about.
Domestic violence is a deadly disease that involves physical attack, sexual assault or fear of physical harm. It can happen to any person or individual anywhere and anytime. So it is important to have a proper understanding of what gives rise to domestic violence in order to help children suffering from this problem.
Many pieces of research have proven that domestic violence is a behavior that is obtained from watching or witnessing rather than being passed through genes. For example, Men who are abusive come from families where they would have watched their mothers or siblings being abused.
Domestic violence has a horrifying effect on children. Certain researches confirm that children who witness domestic violence tend to develop lifetime scars and it also affects the social behaviour of the child. In extreme cases, domestic violence can also affect the overall physical development of a child.
Statistics and data reveal that the number of unreported cases is the same as the reported number of cases in domestic violence, especially among young children. Children can go through abuse in various forms. It is possible that domestic violence often goes undetected or invisible.
Parents may resort to violence on their kids for several reasons. It sometimes happens that parents do not realize that they are being abusive while in some cases, some parents intentionally hurt children to cause pain. It can also happen that parents do not know a better or kind way to discipline their children. Some parents frustrated with life, take it out on their children by being physically abusive.
Here are some reasons why parents may resort to domestic violence on kids:
- A parent was abused as a child
- A parent is abused by his/her partner or spouse
- A parent is addicted to alcohol or substance
- A parent expects a lot more from his or her children
- A parent has a child as a result of an unwanted pregnancy
- Financial or marital problems
- Trying to come in terms with the death or long-term illness of a close family member
- Undergoing severe stress at work
Parents or individuals must always realize that hurting or abusing a child can never set things right or correct the children.
Children look up to parents, relatives, and teachers to receive love, support, encouragement, and guidance. I am sure there is nobody here who wishes to see their children grow up in fear, anger or neglect. At the same time, no parent or adult is born inheriting the qualities to care for children. Many times hurting or abusing a child happens by mistake or without realization. But we can always work to make a difference in providing our children a loving and a caring environment.
It is important to note that children who undergo traumatic and difficult situations during or right from childhood are at a greater risk in adjusting to life when they grow up.
It is interesting to note that domestic violence does not occur only to the less fortunate but can happen to anybody irrespective of their social or economic status. Children who are often exposed to domestic violence develop a sense of guilt and anxiety concluding that they are in some way responsible for what’s happening in their homes. This causes them to retreat into a shell. They become loners, are always fearful. They also develop sleep disorders and in some cases, children wake up in the middle of the nights and cry out as a result of what they have witnessed relating to domestic violence. The repeated forms of abuse can also produce sleeplessness, eating disorders, physical malfunction, depression, aggression and various psychological disturbances. Children will eventually start developing attention deficit syndromes ending up with poor academic performance, low self-esteem and will not be able to develop healthy relationships with the people.
How do we help children suffering from domestic violence?
- Assure the child that you believe and understand him or her
- Reassure children that it is not their fault
- Encourage children to talk about anything that is worrying them
- Train the children to come up with different methods on how to deal with anger or frustration
- Teach a child to come up with a safety plan to deal with abuse
- Motivate children to feel good about themselves
- Confirm that you are always available to help them as much as you can or you will speak to the concerned authorities who can help them
- Make the children believe that they are not alone
- Report any cases of domestic violence if you witness one
What role do mothers play when their children are abused by their husbands/partners?
- Make your partner/husband understand that he or she is wrong in hurting the children and you
- Ensure that your children are not responsible for the chaos created
- Motivate children with positive thoughts
- Reassure your children that you love them
- Make sure that children understand that your partner’s physical violence towards you or them is completely wrong
- Teach them to respect and relate with family members
How can teachers help in this?
- Teachers ought to know the implications of child protection
- Teachers should look for cues for any kind of unusual behavior. Are the students looking too tired or having issues concentrating? Look for such cues, and reach out them
- Report matters of domestic violence to the school authorities immediately
Domestic violence on kids has serious consequences on the safety of children. Child protective workers, community members’ effective intervention can help and protect children from child abuse hence helping families be safe and vigilant.