The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children
Children see, hear, and observe everything that happens in their environment. Therefore, children are always affected by violence in the home, whether they witness it or experience it themselves. Just like adult victims and survivors, children who experience or witness violence or abuse can respond in many different ways. A child's reaction to abuse depends on age, extent of abuse, support the child has received from others and their relationship to the abuser. As a parent, you can support your child by listening and validating their experiences.
Some common reactions for children experiencing or witnessing violence include:
Changes in eating and sleeping
Regressing to past behaviors such as bed wetting or thumb sucking Social and academic changes
Loss of interest in peers, school, and activities
Supporting your child
Some things you can do to support your child:
Reassure them that what happened was not their fault
Maintain a routine at home and school
Promote healing through music, art, journaling, and therapy
Encourage your child to engage in activities that they enjoy
Let the child lead conversations and do not force conversations or ask too many questions
Allow your child to ask questions and freely talk about their experience – keep these conversations to age appropriate levels
There are other signs that a relationship might be unhealthy. If you feel that there is something unhealthy or wrong with the relationship, trust yourself. It is normal for people in unhealthy relationships to feel very unsure about what they want to do. Talking with an advocate is a good first step in figuring out how you feel and what your options might be. CADA's services are free and confidential to all victims and survivors.
How CADA Can Help
CADA has advocates trained specifically to work with children and families. Advocates can help parents to better understand the impacts of violence and abuse and offer strategies and support in connecting with children. To learn more about how CADA advocates can assist children and families, please call and ask to speak with a Child and Family Advocate.