It hurts them, too.
Unfortunately when adults are dealing with intimate partner violence,
so are their kids.
While witnessing domestic violence can have a profound effect on children and teens, CCADV believes in the strength and resiliency of every child and family. Child & Family Advocates at CCADV’s 18 member organizations provide both the child and the child’s survivor parent with comprehensive, holistic services that address their unique needs and strengthen their bond.
No one grows up hoping to be an abuser. Domestic violence is a learned behavior that can be unlearned. By addressing the abuse that kids have witnessed while they’re still young, we give them the skills and resiliency they need to not be defined by what they have witnessed and not bring those same unhealthy behaviors into their adult relationships. We can help children and families thrive!
Boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners & children when they GROW Up.
How Do Children Experience & Process Domestic Violence?
Kids tend to know more than we think they do. They often see, hear and feel the abuse occurring in their homes.
See it. They may directly witness an act of violence or they may see the aftermath, like a hole in the wall, broken items, or the resulting injury.
Hear it. Even when in the other room or thought to be asleep, kids often hear the arguments, threats, and hitting.
Feel it. Kids can feel the stress and tension experienced by their parents and may even worry about the next time they’ll see or hear something. And they too may be pushed and hit by the abusive parent, particularly if they try to stand up for the survivor.
Many children will develop their own coping strategies and may not show obvious signs of stress.
Others may struggle with complex problems at home, school and with their peers. Some common behavior that you may notice in very young children include speech delays, delays in toilet training, regressive bed-wetting and thumb-sucking, and severe separation anxiety. For pre-adolescent children, you may notice anger, expressions of guilt and blame, and poor grades.
The effects of what kids experience look different, particularly at different ages, but they often have negative impacts on both emotional and cognitive development resulting in challenging behaviors.
Working with both the child and survivor parent to develop protective factors that strengthen their resilience is key to helping the child thrive. If the child’s protective networks are in good working order, development is strong even in the face of severe adversity.
31% of kids who witness domestic violence report being physically abused themselves
(compared to only 5% of kids who do not witness domestic violence.)
Teen Dating: Signs of Violence
That’s an understatement for almost everything teens experience, especially dating. When teens start to date, they can have lots of fun but still become overwhelmed + confused about which dating behaviors are healthy and unhealthy.
The lines may blur between behaviors that demonstrate love and affection and those that demonstrate jealousy and control.
So, what does a healthy relationship look like?
Respect, equality + communication are parts of it.
A healthy relationship means:
- You respect and are honest with each other
- You can communicate your feelings without worrying that you will anger the other person
- Both of your opinions matter and you respect each other’s boundaries
- You both understand that you each need time to hang out alone with friends or family
- You’re supportive of each other, even when you disagree
And some unhealthy dating behaviors?
- Calling you names or putting you down in front of others
- Being jealous when you talk to your friends and discouraging you from spending time with friends and family
- Constantly checking on you or demanding to know where you are
- Checking your phone, email or social media accounts without your permission
- Pressuring you to participate in any sexual activities
Your teen may be experiencing an abusive relationship if they start to become withdrawn, begin getting bad grades, start to engage in risky behaviors, or start fighting and bullying. It’s important for teens to know that...
love should never hurt, either physically or emotionally.
and that everyone has the right to feel safe and good about themselves.
Family Resources for Navigating DV in the Home
It can be a lot. We can help.
Whether you’re a survivor trying to protect your kids from the abuse you are experiencing or a parent helping a teen navigate their own unhealthy relationship, our advocates are here to help.
Our Child & Family Advocates work with both the child and survivor parent to help strengthen their bond. The most effective interventions that help children are those that help their parents to increase their own safety and build on their own resiliency so that they have the skills to constructively cope with challenges and positively interact with their children. Our advocates can assist with the continuous development of age appropriate safety planning and trauma-informed services.
Advocates can also help teens who have questions about their own relationships. Community Educators at our 18 member organizations go into local schools to educate kids directly and serve as a resource. And if you’re a parent looking for some guidance on how to help your teen, we can talk you through some tips for supporting your teen while guiding them to recognize the unhealthy behavior.
How to Help Your Child
Kids often see, hear, and feel more than we think they do. We believe that although kids may experience domestic violence in their homes, they do not have to be defined by it. Enter our Child & Family Advocates!
CCADV’s Child & Family Advocacy Program provides a comprehensive and holistic approach to supporting families experiencing trauma.
Connect with a local Child & Family Advocate to talk about your situation
Child advocacy builds protective factors in children through emotional wellness, conflict resolution, and identifying a network of strong social supports. Our advocates also build parental resilience and constructive coping mechanisms. We take into account the individual needs of children and the survivor parent.Get connected to a Child & Family Advocate
Services Based on Evidence
Some of the trauma-informed, evidence-based programs we currently utilize include:
- Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA)
- Mom’s Empowerment & Kid’s Club Curriculum
- Play, music and art therapy
- Child-specific responses to trauma & violence