How to Help Children Who Witness Family Violence
Some children raised in violent homes learn to keep family secrets. They may learn how to use aggression and manipulation to get what they want. They may also feel that people who love you, hurt you. Children who witness violence often feel isolated, lonely, helpless, and suffer from high levels of anxiety and fear.
Some of the behaviors that are found in children who witness violence are:
- Sadness and depression
- Loss of appetite or change in eating patterns
- Sleep problems such as nightmares and restlessness
- Clinging to mother or siblings, separation anxiety
- Increased violent behavior such as hitting, kicking, fighting and bullying
- Complaining of aches and pains with no clear medical cause
- School problems such as refusing to go to school or a drop in grades
- Verbal abuse or talking back
- Temper tantrums
- Loss of skills learned at an earlier age, babyish behavior, regression
- Trouble concentrating
Behaviors specific to teenagers:
- During adolescence, teens start to develop meaningful relationships outside of the family circle. Based upon what they have seen and lived with, it may be the beginning of violence within their own dating relationships. Girls who live with violence in their home may allow their boyfriends to make threats or even be physically abusive.
- To get away from the violence in their families, some teenagers simply run away. This is their escape. It has been documented that family violence is a major reason for kids leaving home.
- Teens who witness family violence may become perpetrators themselves. That means they may begin to physically abuse their mothers, brothers, sisters, or girlfriends/boyfriends and may end up in the juvenile justice system for this or other crimes of violence. They are simply copying behavior that they have watched. They may think that in life you are either a perpetrator or a victim.
- Other teens take on more responsibility at home to keep the peace. They often assume the parenting role. They may protect younger brothers and sisters during violent outbreaks and put their lives on hold because they feel they must protect and take care of Mom.
Add your own comment
Today on Education.com
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- The Five Warning Signs of Asperger's Syndrome
- What Makes a School Effective?
- Child Development Theories
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Should Your Child Be Held Back a Grade? Know Your Rights
- Bullying in Schools
- First Grade Sight Words List
- Test Problems: Seven Reasons Why Standardized Tests Are Not Working