Effects of Abuse on Your Children
Some common emotional reactions:
- Lives in constant fear
- Feels worthless
- Is afraid to go home because of the abusive adult’s mood swings
- Confused about love. May think that love is abuse
- Continues the cycle of violence because that is what they know
- Feels isolated and alone
- Feels that it is only happening to them
- Withdraws from friends and family
- Acts out at school
- Becomes depressed
- Feels guilty
- Is angry
- Feels helpless
- Feels that it is his/her fault
Some common physical reactions:
- Fast-beating heart
These feelings may continue through adulthood and are carried into close relationships. This may cause the cycle of abuse to continue.
- Build family support, encourage closeness with siblings.
- Find positive role models for your children: a teacher, a relative, a friend…
- Find support in the community, such as mentoring programs and youth activities.
- Talk to a counselor.
- Encourage children to speak with other adults for support, such as teachers, relatives, neighbors, etc…
- Listen to your children. Do not talk over them or explain away the violence.
- Establish and maintain family routines (chores, meals, naps, bedtimes) and rules.
- Take time out when you are losing your patience with your children; for example, practice deep breathing, count to ten or go to your room.
- Spend time with your children doing calming activities, such as story books, music, walks, games and baking.
- Take care of yourself by doing something relaxing or something that you enjoy; for example reading, writing, exercising or visiting a friend. Your children will follow your example.
There is help, you are not alone and it’s okay to talk about it!
Next: How to Cope