Essay On Domestic Violence And Children

Essay about The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

1448 Words6 Pages

How does domestic violence between parents and parental figures affect the children who witness it? This is a question often asked by Sociologists and Psychologists alike. There have been studies that prove that children who witness domestic inter-parental violence experience mental health problems, issues with gender roles, substance abuse, the committing of crimes and suicide/suicide attempts later in their lives. This paper will explore all five of these 'effects' of domestic violence on children and show that there is evidence of a clear relationship in which increasing parental violence is associated with increasing outcome risks (Fergusson & Horwood, 1998, p.8).

When a child witnesses domestic abuse it can have many different…show more content…

(Brescoll & Graham-Bermann, 2000, p.2). Another mental health problem that children who have witnessed domestic violence experience is adjustment problems. There appears to be a wide spread belief that children who witness violence between their parents are at a greater risk of later adjustment difficulties that may include behavior problems (Fergusson & Horwood, 1998, p.3). Young people reporting high levels of exposure to inter-parental violence had elevated rates of adjustment problems by age eighteen (Fergusson & Horwood, 1998, p.1). It is suggested that there are elevated rates of behavioral, emotional, and other problems in children exposed to inter-parental violence (Fergusson & Horwood, 1998, p.3). There seems little doubt that children reared in homes characterized by inter-parental violence were at greater risk of later adjustment difficulties as young adults (Fergusson & Horwood, 1998, p.11). It is quite apparent that there is a link between the witnessing of domestic violence and the mental health problems of the children who witness it.

Another common effect on children who witness domestic violence is that they have severe gender role issues. Clearly, children exposed to the abuse of their mothers are at risk for learning deleterious patterns of social behavior and for developing distorted expectations about the appropriate roles of men and women in the family (Brescoll & Graham-Bermann, 2000, p.2). Therefore, children exposed

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The Effects Of Domestic Violence On Children

Exposure to domestic violence can impact the behavioral, social-emotional, and cognitive development of children. Children who are exposed to domestic violence tend to exhibit more aggressive behaviors with their peers, show signs of depression, and have a difficult time forming relationships (Brown & Bzostek, 2003). Cognitively, studies have shown that children exposed to domestic violence may have difficulties learning and concentrating in school, have difficulties with conflict resolution skills, and may believe in male privilege, (Brown & Bzostek, 2003). Concentration is difficult for children exposed to domestic violence because of how unsafe they may feel in their surroundings. They may be preoccupied with the violence that is occurring at home or may be fearful of what may come next. This causes many children to experience difficulties learning and concentrating at school. Children who witness domestic violence generally have difficulty sleeping, which may also directly affect their behavior and learning in the classroom. Difficulties with conflict resolution and belief in male privilege derive from seeing their father have control over their mother and can be detrimental to the child’s ability to form relationships. They witness violence and aggression as a means of conflict resolution and inherently learn that it is acceptable to be controlling in a relationship. In regards to gender, children exposed to domestic violence may exhibit differences in their behavior. Boys tend to exhibit externalized behaviors such as aggression and acting out, whereas girls tend to exhibit more internalized behaviors such as withdrawal and depression (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2009). In future relationships, studies have shown that boys are twice as likely to become abusers when they become adults and girls are more likely to enter abusive relationships.
Domestic violence also greatly impacts the family structure and the relationships between the members. Domestic violence threatens both the relationship between the child and their mother and the child and their father. Children who are exposed to domestic violence do not have an emotionally available parent to foster their development and have a 30-60% higher risk for being abused by the perpetrator (NCADV, 2007); when the father is the perpetrator of the violence, he often knows little about his children, their interests, and progress in school (Crosson-Tower, 2009, p. 84). The mother’s parenting style may also be damaged from domestic violence; the perpetrator may not allow the mother to take care of her children properly or soothe them when they are upset, which can cause the children to believe their mother does not care for them. When a mother is constantly traumatized by domestic violence, it can be more difficult for her to be present and attentive in her children’s lives due to depression, anxiety, and lack of sleep (Centre for children and families in the justice system, 2009). Domestic...

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