Domestic Violence Harms Children Too

Children who have witnessed physical or verbal abuse between two people who they rely on for security and love can be devastated. These children can be deeply affected for life based on what they have seen or heard. Thus, domestic violence ensnares not only the couple, but also the children who witness the abuse.

The following is a listing of characteristics frequently seen in children victimized by domestic violence:

1. The child learns that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems.

2. There is a frequent violence toward siblings and often toward their parents in later life.

3. These children have difficulty forming relationships with peers and often indulge in bullying behaviors.

4. These children hesitate to bring their problems to mom or dad, feeling that an added stressor may set off another explosive event.

5. The children often fantasize about "saving" their parents' relationships. When this fails, they may fantasize "escaping" from home (running away, early marriage, pregnancy, etc.)

6. These children usually demonstrate poor achievement in school due to constant distraction and worry, thus setting themselves up for failure and disappointment.

7. The children are likely to continue the pattern of violence into their own adult relationships.

Remember, domestic violence, even if it is "only" verbal abuse, affects not only the couple but also the innocent observers.

If violence and abuse are occurring in your relationship, please consider contacting CRISIS SERVICES 834-3131 (24 hours).