I have read varying accounts of what children exhibit when there is violence in the home. Response from the children to violence varies with age, gender, stage of development, and what their role is in the family. Some general characteristics may include:
- a sense of isolation and helplessness
- first reaction to feeling anger is hitting
- extreme levels of anxiety
- may have developmental delays
- depending on age, frequent absences from school or day care
- low self-esteem
- poor social skills
- doesn't like to talk about their family or the stories they tell of their family seem over exaggerated
Many children show delinquent behavior at an early age. This can include lying, stealing and threats of abuse towards peers. Often times the child will show a lack of respect towards the same sex of the person being abused at home and a fear of the same sex of the abuser.
What should you do if you observe these behaviors? Talk to the child to see if there is an underlying problem at home. Don't be afraid to call Children's Protective Services in your city. The number is usually your area code and 241-KIDS. No one wants to see a child taken from its parents but you never know what is going on at home. You could be saving someone's life.