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Effects of Abuse on Children

Any violence in the home, whether it is directed at the children or not, can lead to the following behaviors and characteristics:

  • Isolation
  • Doesn't invite other children over
  • Aggressive/acting out behavior
  • Withdraw from adults as well as peers
  • May be a "model child" due to extreme desire to achieve perfection
  • May become involved with drugs or alcohol
  • Run away
  • Mood swings
  • Divulges little information about family
  • May make up stories (paint an unrealistic "pretty picture" of their family)
  • Loses respect for the mother
  • Poor concentration
  • Sudden change in school performance
  • Take responsibility for the abuse
  • Constant anxiety that another beating will occur
  • Guilt for not being able to stop the abuse or from loving the abuser
  • Fear of abandonment

How children feel when abuse occurs between parents:

  • Powerless - they can't stop the abuse
  • Guilty - believing that they somehow caused the abuse
  • Angry - at the abuser for hurting the victim
  • Angry - at the victim for staying in the situation
  • Helpless - they feel a need to help solve the problem, but only end up getting hurt when they try to help
  • Confused - parents may try to get children to chose sides
  • Afraid - for themselves and all family members
  • Isolated and insecure - often making excuses so they don't have to go home
  • Dishonest and embarassed - they make up excuses to family and friends
  • Overwhelmed - by the situation, often leading to poor school performance and avoiding friends