Actually the children are the silent victims of domestic abuse. Witnessing mother abuse can have a severe impact on a child’s behavior, health, and educational performance in school, and self-confidence. Withdrawal or anxiety and behavioral difficulties can result. Children’s voices are not heard and yet they are often more aware of the abuse than their parents realize.
Children are always affected by their family’s violence. Although many parents believe they can hide domestic violence from their children, the children living in these homes report differently. The children are aware of their parents’ violence even if they don’t see the actual fighting. They hear the screams and are directly affected by their parents’ emotional pain and upset.
Their reactions may become apparent immediately, or months or years later. Children at the same age as your two older children often react to episodes of abuse in their family by returning to behaviors exhibited at earlier ages and sometimes re-creating the abusive behaviors they have seen and behaving abusively and violently with their siblings and peers. Their reactions can include any of the following:
- Fear of darkness
- Difficulty developing attachment to the abuser
- Excessive clinging
- Extreme fear
- Withdrawal from interactions with others
- Acting out abusive behavior when playing with their toys and with friends
- Disruptive behavior
- Sleep problems, including nightmares
- Difficulties at school and kindergarten.
- Victimhood, as a way to get to modify the abuse
- Abusive behavior and violence can become their primary method of conflict resolution.
- Domestic violence can reduce children’s self-esteem and capacity to trust others, and affect how they approach all relationships throughout their life.
So it’s time to help your children to cope with the effects of what they saw before, in order to avoid any future complications. It is important for a parent to reflect these essentials:
- Provide emotional support for your children.
- Nurture children with love and care.
- Acknowledge feelings. Tune in to your children’s feelings and tell them how much you and their father love them.
- Talk and act so shildren feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves.
- Participate in your children’s lives, in their activities, school, sports, special events, celebrations, and friends. Include your children in your activities. Reveal who you are to your children.
- Encourage children to follow their interests. Recognize improvement. Teach new skills.
- Use different methodologies in raising your children Islamically and never spank your children. It’s better to use other kinds of punishment with them.
- Be aware of other areas of children’s lives that may make them especially vulnerable to fears regarding violence against them. Children who have experienced a traumatic incident in the past are more susceptible to anxiety regarding other events.
- Reduce stress levels in your life and avoid infecting your children’s lives with your own anxiety and stress.
Children are tuned in to their parents’ feelings. If you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and stress caused by abusing behavior, take steps to deal with your own feelings before your children are affected.
Finally, wives should make du`aa’ to Allah Most High to guide your husband to improve his behavior towards you. And Allah Most High knows best.