Children and Teens Program
HOW DOES DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AFFECT CHILDREN?
Children that have been exposed to domestic violence are affected by their experience. Each
child will manifest the effects in their own way. What follows is a description of how children
may be impacted.
- Guilt -- feeling responsible for the abuse.
- Shame/embarrassment -- feeling like this doesn't happen to their friends.
- Fear -- of what might happen if they talk about what's happened, never knowing what to do or what to expect from the abusive parent.
- Confusion -- about what happened, conflicting loyalties between parents.
- Anger -- about the abuse, about the chaos, etc.
- Regressive behaviors -- usually to infantile stage
- Chaotic behaviors -- hard to set limits
- Rigid defenses -- aloof, sarcastic, rigid, blaming, defensive
- Caretaking -- usually of one parent, becomes a mother figure
- Extreme obedience and compliance
Behaviors of Children Exposed to Domestic Violence
Children from battering homes may exhibit:
- a combination of limited tolerance and poor impulse control
- depression -- a sense that there is no solution and no way out
- economic and emotional dependency -- high risk for chemical use, sexual acting out, running away
- martyr-like, long suffering
- absences from school due to stress
- pre-delinquent and delinquent behavior
- shaky definition of self
- low self-esteem -- sees few opportunities to succeed
- social isolation -- little or no interaction with peers
- complete identification with peers
- bargaining behavior
- increased deceptiveness -- lying, cheating, stealing, excuses
- poor definition of boundaries for themselves and others
- blaming others for their behavior
- little or no understanding of the dynamics of violence
- pecking order of abuse -- kills animals, abuses younger siblings
- self-blame for family feuding, separation, divorce
- uses violence as a problem-solving technique
- poor sexual image -- uncertain of appropriate behavior
- immaturity in peer relationships
- heightened suicide attempts
- thoughts of doing away with abusive parent
>Children & Teens
Teen Web Pages