The effect of witnessing domestic violence on children
Educational and psychological studies have unanimously agreed that the impact of witnessing domestic violence on children is significant and dangerous. Because these children may suffer from a wide range of physical symptoms along with emotional and behavioral despair, they may complain of general aches and pains, such as headaches and stomachaches, and may also have irritable and irregular bowels, ulcers … what interferes with the functioning of the stomach With its functions.. in addition to the constant feeling of fear and anxiety and.. and.. to get to know the details of what is happening, the meeting was with the professor of psychiatry Dr. Thana Al-Sayeda, for explanation and clarification.
1- Watching domestic violence
- In homes where an abusive parent is involved, children are always fearful and anxious, and may be on constant alert, wondering when the next violent event will occur.
- Young children who witness intimate partner violence may start doing things they did when they were younger, such as bedwetting, thumb-sucking, crying and whining.
- They may also have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, show signs of terror such as stuttering or hiding, and show signs of severe separation anxiety.
- School-aged children may feel guilty about being bullied and blame themselves for it, as domestic violence and abuse hurt children’s sense of self-esteem.
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2 – The impact of family violence on the adolescent
- If children are only affected by not participating in school activities, or have good grades and fewer friends, they may also have a lot of headaches and stomachaches.
- We found that teenagers who witness bullying engage in negative behaviors, such as arguing with family members or skipping school, and also engage in risky behaviors.
- They have low self-esteem, find it hard to make friends, always start fights or bully others, and are more likely to get into trouble with the law.
- This type of behavior is more common in teenage boys than girls because girls are more likely to become withdrawn and depressed.
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3- Long-term effects of domestic violence
- More children living in homes where domestic violence occurs at least once a day are more likely to be in abusive relationships.
- or become abusers themselves; A child who sees his mother being abused is 10 times more likely to abuse his wife in old age.
- Every child reacts differently to witnessing abuse and trauma; Some children are more flexible and some more sensitive.
- How well a child recovers from witnessing abuse depends on whether they have a new support system, good relationships with trusted adults, high self-esteem, or healthy friendships.
- Although children will never forget what they experienced while witnessing abuse, they can learn healthy ways to deal with their emotions and memories as they mature.
- The sooner a child gets help, the better his chances of becoming a mentally and physically healthy adult.
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4. Help children recover
- Children who are exposed to witnessing domestic violence can be helped to feel safe in several ways. The first is: talk to the child about the importance of healthy relationships and talk to him about his fears and boundaries.
- Let the child know that no one has the right to do violence to him or make him uncomfortable, including family members, teachers or coaches.
- This person may be a school counselor or therapist or a trusted adult who has a primary role in behavior modification.
5- The impact of witnessing domestic violence on children
- Children who are often exposed to violence, either as witnesses or as victims, have the highest levels of exposure to depression, anger and anxiety.. 12% of children who saw someone being slapped or hit had anxiety to a degree that could require treatment.
- For children under the age of six, who have difficulty distinguishing reality from fantasy, witnessing violence can harm them and affect their emotional and mental development, as well as older children and young adolescents.
- Children this age are unable to effectively process what they see or hear, in part because chronic exposure to violence may have affected parts of their brains.
- Repeated witnessing to violence can have other long-term effects, as children can develop sensitivity to violence, as they begin to believe that violence is an acceptable way to solve problems and that there are no consequences.
- I can also believe that violence can happen anywhere, to anyone at any time. Therefore, these children are also at risk of committing violence against others, and they become more aggressive towards others.
- Research has found that there is always a link between a child’s frequent viewing of domestic violence, high levels of anger and depressive symptoms, and high rates of wanting to hurt or kill themselves.
The role of parents
- Parents have an important role and must monitor their children, “Where are they? What are they doing? And with whom?” This is the best way to help a child, and it improves his ability to cope with what is happening around him.
- It is important to continue to talk about things with children and help them express their feelings and points of view, assuring them that these extreme acts of violence, although deeply disturbing, are the exception in our lives, not the rule.
- Most of all, children need to feel safe, cared for and not alone in the face of these horrific acts of violence.
Note “Madam Net”: Before applying this recipe or treatment, it is necessary to consult a specialist.