Children In Domestic Violence
Children in domestic violence need more understanding and patience than ever, as you help to shape them into the people they will become. Do not think for a minute that staying in this unhealthy situation is the best thing for your kids... it devastates everyone it touches. It is your responsibility to protect your kids.
In an age appropriate way, talk to your kids about what they are experiencing during this situation. For instance, “That was scary. How did it make you feel?”
Let them know that together, you will get through this. Ask them what they need from you to feel safe. For instance, one of my kids preferred to sleep in school clothes.
Children in domestic violence need lots of snuggles and quality time with you. Remember your kids are under a lot of stress. As much stress as you are feeling, your kids are feeling more. Your kids can't possibly know how to verbalize what they are feeling... at any age.
You will get further if you can distract bad behavior with creative activities; puzzles, art projects, and games instead of discipline. Your children in domestic violence will be more receptive to what you are saying and needing from them, if you are not reacting to their bad behavior. They will also be more open to communicating what they are really feeling, instead of acting out.
Your kids really want to please you, so praise them for good behavior... constantly. When you pro-actively nurture your kids, it will; minimize their stress, minimize the stress in the house, and create a stronger bond between you. Your kids will feel more secure! Pick your battles and don't sweat the small stuff. Remember
Children Learn What They Live.
NEVER use the abuser as a way to make your kids act as you want. Example: wait until “abuser's name” gets home, you are going to be in trouble... When you talk to your kids this way, what you are really saying to your kids is that you approve of, allow, and partner with the abuser in how they treat your kids. If that is true, where do your kids turn for safety?
Your children in domestic violence are looking to you for their protection. You MUST be the safe haven, shield, and fortress for your kids.
Don't leave your kids alone at home with your abuser if at all possible. Why take a chance on the domestic violence that you have experienced being unleashed on your kids. Don't tell yourself that your abuser wouldn't hurt your kids... you didn't think your abuser would hurt you.
Find out from the school, if they are teaching your kids how to protect themselves from strangers... and when the class, or demonstration is.
After you leave your abuser, I strongly recommend that you DO NOT send your kids to daycare, or school until you have a copy of a current restraining order and a recent photo of the abuser to give to the person in charge at each location. Ask what their policy is in dealing with child protection regarding domestic violence. If you do not feel the policy is sufficient, ask for the extra precautions you feel are needed to keep your kids safe. Otherwise, keep your kids with you and ask the daycare, or school to accommodate your situation for a few weeks while you make arrangements.
If the daycare, or school can protect your children, decide with your children at that time if they feel secure enough to go to daycare/school for the day. I highly recommend that your young children have an adult escort, and older kids stay with friends between classrooms.
If your abuser is from another country, please read about
international child safety.
The Crippling Damage To Children
Go to surviving-domestic-violence.com from children in domestic violence