Children and Domestic Violence

In Domestic Violence, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

Childhood should be a time of wonder, when the world seems big, new, and amazing. It should be a time of learning, of observation, and of exploration. Even more significantly, children have basic needs, which include stability, trust, and safety. Unfortunately, when children are exposed to domestic violence, all of these needs are sacrificed. Consider the following effects of violence on children.

  • Domestic violence is dangerous to children. Even if the conflict is between the adults, they know it is happening. Children will hear the violence, see the violence, or even get caught in the crossfire. Any veteran child protection advocate can tell you stories of children getting injured trying to protect their victim parent, or of abusers attacking mothers while they hold their babies. In worst-case scenarios, children can become victims in murder-suicide situations.
  • Growing up in a violent home can have a short and long-term effect on a child’s mental health and emotional development, which depends on the child, the child’s age, and the child’s maturity. In the short term, children may experience anger, depression, fear, and trust issues. If you think about it, children who live through the unpredictability and volatility of domestic violence live in a constant state of vigilance, waiting for conflict. The overall impact can manifest itself in severe developmental, behavioral, and mental health issues that can cause lifelong damage.
  • Children who grow up in domestic violence situations develop an inappropriate sense of normalcy around verbal and physical abuse among adults. This results in children repeating these cycles of behavior as they age and become involved in their own intimate relationships. This means that they are more likely to become abusive, or choose to be in familiar relationships with abusive partners.
  • Children who witness domestic violence are starting their lives out at a disadvantage. In other words, these children will have to work harder than other children during their lifetimes to overcome the emotional and developmental hurdles that have been placed in front of them.

If you are in a violent relationship, you need to make choices for your own safety and for the well being of your children. There are resources available, such as contacting your local domestic violence agency and an attorney to explore the possibility of a protective order.

Let New Direction Family Law Assist You

You and your children deserve safety and stability. If you need legal assistance, contact New Direction Family Law. We have built a reputation for protecting victims of domestic violence and will advocate for your legal rights. Let us help you. We serve clients throughout Wake, Johnston, Durham and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a discreet appointment or visit us online at our website.