Children that witness abuse in the home are affected by what they see. Imagine being a child and watching one parent batter another. There are several forms of abuse that a child may witness. Each will have a negative impact on the child witnessing the abuse.
The abuse can be verbal, emotional, physical, or mental. Each will have an impact on the child and the effects can be long term. Perhaps one parent is belittling the other in front of the child. They may be calling them names and making threats to the other parent. The child that witnesses this may be so scared and traumatized that they yell for it to stop. They may beg the parent doing the battering to stop, which may put the child in further danger.
Another scenario is when one parent physically abuses the other. If one parent is beating the other or screaming at the other, the child may run and hide while it is happening. Once it is over, they may be afraid to come out of hiding. It is traumatizing for the child that is forced to watch or hear the abuse against one of their parents. When it all calms down, even though the child is fearful, they may go to the parent that was being abused and ask if they are okay. They may be worried about any bruises that they see on their parent. They may feel so badly that they couldnít stop the abuse from occurring. This is especially true for the older children. They may feel that they are at fault because they couldnít stop the battering from happening.
Just because the child isnít being abused does not mean that it doesnít affect them in a huge way. On the contrary, it affects them greatly. As the child grows up, they might think that abuse is normal. They may think that they are a bad person because they couldnít stop it or didnít try to stop it. It can also affect them in future relationships.
The child loves both parents and it hurts them greatly when one is being beaten or screamed at by the other. This leaves the child feeling as though they are in the middle. They want, with all their heart, for the abuse to stop, yet they are unable to stop it. When they go to school, they may be withdrawn. They may worry about the parent that was battered.
Again, the effects on the child are long term. There is no easy fix when it comes to abuse. It is important for those in the childís life, such as counselors and teachers, to be educated on abuse so that if they spot any of the signs they are able to get help for the child. The more help is available to the child, the less the effects. If a child that is living in an abusive home gets help from others, they could possibly be removed and placed into a safe home, even if only for a short time. The longer the child witnesses abuse in the home, the greater the effects will be. Again, it is imperative that if a person suspects a child is living in an abusive environment, they get help for the child in order to lessen the effects on that child.