Parents often underestimate what their children see and hear. It’s best to assume that children know everything that’s going on in the household.
This is especially the case with domestic abuse. It is estimated that 10 percent of children nationwide live in households where there are violent disagreements.
Even children who do not see violence first-hand are vulnerable to its effects. Overhearing emotional or physical abuse behind closed doors can increase a child’s risk for emotional and behavioral problems.
A child who is anxious about domestic abuse might not say anything, but is likely to act out by misbehaving at home or at school, crying excessively, or wetting the bed.
The best advice, if you are living with domestic abuse of any kind, is to get help right away.
Locally, CALM is a very good resource. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at NCADV.org, also helps victims of violence.
It can also help to talk to a family or marriage therapist. It takes time to change or eliminate destructive patterns, so be patient.
You can learn to reconcile differences peacefully. The old rule that people should never go to sleep angry can be a powerful life lesson.
What’s important, for the sake of children affected by the situation, is to take the steps necessary to move forward as a family.
The safety of all involved should remain the primary concern.