Domestic Violence: How are Your Children Affected?
It’s a story swept under the carpet more than it should. Mom and Dad have a contentious relationship. It doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of physical violence. However, their children are continually exposed to some form of domestic violence. How is it affecting them?
In some cases, the age of the children matters. For example, an infant doesn’t necessarily understand ugly words. Your wife whispers that she wants to kill you. However, her voice isn’t raised, and your baby doesn’t realize that you feel threatened. Fortunately, your child may not feel the extent of your fear. The same may even be true if she pulls a gun on you.
Despite this isolated example, there’s a good chance that the impact of domestic violence hits children hard. In fact, you should know the long-term effects of domestic violence change the lives of not only toddlers but also teenagers.
When Children are Exposed to Domestic Violence
In another era, television featured shows like “Leave it to Beaver,” “Father Knows Best,” and the “Donna Reed Show.” These were just three programs that focused on family unity in comedic situations. Any hints that things weren’t right at home certainly never made it to the screen. As an aside, these were just three shows that revolved around the idea that everyday life was idyllic.
Fast forward to the 21st Century and a different outlook on the reality of family living. There are no secrets held back in modern movie networks. One never has to wonder that they are alone in dealing with domestic violence issues. After all, Lifetime Movie Network presents some pretty gruesome stories that may make your situation seem easy.
So, what is the reality off-screen? According to one scholarly study, children were present in at least fifty percent of incidences that police arrived to investigate domestic violence complaints. Amazing, children under the age of six suffered the most exposure. As a whole, 81% of children actually witnessed acts of domestic violence.
Without question, domestic violence impacts adult victims. It’s not just physical acts that cause lasting harm. Stalking and harassment can be equally intimidating. Meanwhile, criminal trespass and terroristic threats are cause for alarm. Notwithstanding, many parents may have no idea of what exposure to domestic violence does to their children.
Impact of Domestic Violence on Children
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides valuable insight into what domestic violence does to young people. Keep in mind that children themselves do not have to personally suffer abuse to go through these chronic injuries. Some examples include:
- Overwhelming anxiety; worrying something terrible will happen
- Nightmares, disturbing sleep and interfering with daytime activities
- Inability to concentrate, resulting in declining grades
- Hyperactivity that appears uncontrollable
- Irritability and difficulty dealing with others
- Aggressive behavior with other children and adults
- Safety concerns manifesting as hypervigilance
Meanwhile, you should know that children affected by domestic violence may experience post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). When they become adults, this can mean difficulty in establishing and maintaining relationships. Trust becomes a significant issue. The bottom line is that children exposed to domestic violence do not feel protected.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we are especially concerned about the effect domestic violence has on children. We are here to help you make a difficult situation easier. We will present your legal options and make appropriate referrals. Contact our office to see how we can assist you.