Domestic Violence and its Impact on Children Ages 6-12

Domestic violence affects every member of the family, including the children. Family violence creates a home environment where children live in constant fear. Statistics show that over 3 million children witness violence in their home each year. Those who see and hear violence in the home suffer physically and emotionally.
Elementary Age:
  • Vacillate between being eager to please and being hostile.
  • Verbal about home life.
  • Developmental delays.
  • Externalized behavior problems.
  • Inadequate social skill development.
  • Gender role modeling creates conflict/confusion.
  • Behavior problems become more serious.
  • Increased internalized behavior difficulties: depression, isolation, withdrawal.
  • Emotional difficulties: shame, fear, confusion, rage.
  • Poor social skills.
  • Developmental delays.
  • Protection of mother, seeing her as “weak.”
Key Aspects of Development Impact of Domestic Violence
Increased emotional awareness of self and others.

Increased complexity in thinking about right and wrong: emphasis on fairness and intent.

Academic and social success at school has primary impact on self-concept.

Increased same sex identification.

More awareness of own reactions to violence at home and of impact on others (e.g. concerns about mother’s safety, father being charged).

Possibly more susceptible to adopting rationalizations heard to justify violence (e.g. alcohol causes violence; victim deserved abuse).

Ability to learn may be decreased due to impact of violence (e.g. distracted); may miss negatives or evoke negative feedback.

May learn gender roles associated with intimate partner abuse (e.g. males as perpetrators – females as victims.)

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