Studies show that each year about four million children between the ages of three to seventeen years are exposed to domestic violence. Further statistics also reveal that 95% of these domestic violence cases involve male partners assaulting their female counterparts. The children of the female victims therefore witness first hand domestic violence. This includes seeing the actual incidents of sexual or physical abuse, hearing fighting noises or threats from another room, observing the aftermath of such physical abuse like bruises, tears, blood, broken items or torn clothing, to being aware of the existing tension at home.
Children exposed to domestic violence will often develop an unexplainable sense of fear and anxiety. They are nervous and on alert to watch and wait for whatever might happen next. They never feel safe because they never know when the perpetrator of such abuse might be triggered to erupt. They always feel powerless and worthless because of their inability to protect their mother, their siblings and themselves. The perpetrators expect that their behavior will be treated as a family secret, not to be discussed with anybody or even amongst themselves as siblings.
Children from abusive families may look fine to everyone else but deep inside they may be in terrible pain. Their family life is unpredictable, chaotic and crazy and some may even blame themselves for the abuse their mother has to endure. They think the abuse would not have taken place had they been brave enough to do, or say something. Some may develop anger towards their mother or siblings for somehow triggering the abuse and at times feel rage, humiliation and embarrassment. Children of abuse tend to feel vulnerable and isolated. They are constantly starved of affection, attention and approval because their moms are not able to be mentally present for them, as they struggle to survive. They therefore become emotionally, psychologically and physically abandoned.
Children living in this environment have emotional responses that may include guilt, fear, sleep, shame, sleep disturbances, depression, and anger. This anger is directed at the abuser for perpetrating the violence and the mother for her inability to stop or prevent the violence.
Their behavioral responses may include withdrawal, acting out, and anxiousness to always please. They may show signs of being overly nervous coupled with a short attention span that may lead to poor performance or attendance in school. They may also have delayed speech, cognitive skills or motor development. Some may resort to violence as a means of expressing themselves which may lead to increased aggression and become self-injuring. Physical responses include bedwetting, headaches or stomachaches and injuries when trying to intervene on their mother's or siblings' behalf.
Psychologists believe that when a child is raised in an abusive home, they will adopt the use of violence as the only way of resolving conflicts and problems. It is this kind of violence that they may replicate in their teen and adult life relationships and even parenting experiences. Boys raised in such homes are more likely to abuse their female partners. These children are also more prone to future drug and alcohol abuse, juvenile delinquency and post traumatic stress disorder. This is a leading predictor of adult criminality and of children deciding to run away and living on the streets.
Before someone gets seriously injured or an arrest is made, go online and take an anger management course. This behavior can be rehabilitated. Online classes offer an easy-to-use and inexpensive method of getting behavior under control. They are completely private and can be taken from any web-based computer in your home. The classes will teach coping mechanisms for stress and anger and how to overcome explosive anger. There is no reason to go on living your life with anger and having your family live in dread. Take an online anger management class to get started on a road to a happier life.
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