Family abuse takes place in many households where there is a dominant, controlling family member and a young child may be present and aware of the abuse that is taking place in the household. Family violence can occur from many things such as problems in a marriage, insecurity/trust issues, financial issues, and more. If anger and stress are not controlled in an appropriate manner, it may be released in a very unpleasant and violent way that is not only physically abusive towards the victim, but also emotionally and mentally abusive towards a child who is witnessing the attacks. In 30 to 60 percent of families where there is family violence, children are being hurt too (Laura Cousineau).
If a spouse is being abused and there are children in the home, the children are affected by the abuse in one way or another. Sometimes when a person is angry the only way they can express their anger and disappointment is through verbally and, or physically abusing someone else, which may be the people closest to them such as a family member or spouse. Not only is the abuser ruining the victim’s life but also the life of the child witnessing the abuse, whether it is seeing or hearing, that child’s life is also being damaged emotionally and mentally. That child now lives in constant fear and may think that the abuse occurring is there own fault and may began to develop social and
behavioral issues throughout their life. Families under stress produce children under stress (Ackerman and Pickering).
The child can’t really have a bond with either parent because it can be difficult to be a loving parent, whether you are the victim or the abuser in the situation. Therefore, the child may keep a lot of their feelings bottled in because they cannot express them to their own parents or to anyone else out of fear or because they feel embarrassed and ashamed. In an abusive household, the witnessing child’s gender and age has a huge impact on the child’s development and how they take in the abuse they are seeing. In some cases when the witnessing child is a young boy and he’s seeing his father abuse his mother, when he gets into a relationship of his own, he too may become abusive towards his partner because that is what he witnessed his father doing to the woman who he was in a relationship with. The young man may even grow up to disrespect his Mother or women in general because that is what he witnessed. Where on the other hand, if it is a young girl witnessing the woman who she looks up to being abused and not having any control over the situation, she may grow up to be physically abused herself and unable to stand up for herself if that type of situation were to occur. Children in violent homes are at increased risk for serious physical and sexual abuse at some point in their lifetime (Lawrence R. Ricci).
A child in a violent household can also develop behavioral issues that will most likely occur outside of the home instead of in the home and the child will begin to “act out” in order to release built up pain and anger. For example, what if the child from the
abusive home gets in trouble by a teacher at school for not turning in an assignment, but since it is a negative situation, the child automatically has their defense up because they feel as though they are being attacked. The child may then respond to the teacher in a negative way and this behavior can travel with him up until the time he starts working in a workplace setting. Also, the child may start to take part in many activities outside of the home just to keep as busy as possible and to avoid being in the house that the abuse is taking place. As long as they are keeping themselves busy, the abuse that is going on within their household may not be so heavy on their mind as it would be if they were actually in the house or not partaking in any extracurricular activities. Also, the child may develop social…