Many children who witness the abuse of their mothers demonstrate significant behavioural and/or emotional problems including psychosomatic disorders, stuttering, anxiety and fears, sleep disruption, excessive crying and problems at school.
How your child or children will be affected depends on the individual child, their age and gender, how much they witness and whether or not they are personally involved in the abuse, their personality and support available to them. Although research in this field is still largely lacking, it is generally agreed that Domestic Violence or Abuse is highly relevant to the child’s present and future well-being, and that there is a significant overlap with child abuse.
In brief,children may experience any of the following problems:
- Emotional Problems: crying, anxiety and sadness, confusion, anger (which can be directed toward either parent or other children, etc), depression, suicidal behaviour, nightmares, fears and phobias. In younger children and babies eating and sleeping disorders are common. Children can also suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
- Behavioural Problems: aggression, becoming troublesome at home or at school, withdrawing into or isolating themselves, regressive behaviour (such as baby-talk, wanting bottles or dummies, etc), lower academic achievements.
- Physical Problems: bed-wetting, nervous ticks, headaches or stomach aches, nausea or vomiting, eating disorders, insomnia.
Older children will often hold themselves responsible for the abuse, especially where exteme violence has been an issue. Children living in an abusive environment may also condone violence or the threat of violence to resolve conflict in relationships.
It has to be remembered that even in situations where the child is either not targeted directly with abuse or is ‘only’ witnessing abuse, it can lead to very serious psychological trauma with possible long-term effects, affecting not only the child’s well-being during or shortly after the abuse, but affecting the child’s ability to build and maintain healthy relationships in his/her adult life. ©Hidden Hurt