Children Learn Abuse…And Effects of Abuse on Children

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

In most cases if a parent/caregiver will give a child(ren)  love, and care, the right instructions, lead and guide  them in the right way when they are grown, even if they go astray they will return to the right path in life.

That’s the upside of good training and discipline. However the same principle applies in the negative, or downside of  ineffective training or discipline.  If a child does not receive the correct upbringing and training in the home if he/she goes astray to what will they return? The answer is obvious whatever they have learned they will apply to their lives – even abuse.

There is a definite effect of abuse on children.  Most children gain knowledge by means of observation. What a child sees he/she will imitate, copy or follow.  Have you ever observed children playing? What’s the conversation like? Do you hear your words or your spouse’s words rehearsed to their siblings, dolls, animals or playthings? Worst still, are they abusing their siblings, dolls, animals or playthings?

Experts in domestic violence/intimate partner violence shares insights in psychological/emotional and physical effects of children who are exposed to domestic violence. If a male child is subjected to domestic violence on a continuous basis in the home he/she  is likely to become a perpetrator or victim of violence when he/she becomes  an adult, or sometimes sooner, as in child bullying.

Psychological/Emotional/Physical Effects

Infants :   Developmental delays, problems with attachment or bonding,       failure tor thrive, excessive crying…eating problems…

Toddlers :    Development delays, impaired or delayed speech, Stomachaches, clingy, poor motor abilities, anxieties…

Pre-School:   General fearfulness, impaired cognitive abilities, cruelty to animals, destruction of property…

School age (5-12)  Low-self esteem, depression anxiety, poor social skills, bullying, disrespect of females/sex roles, bedwetting…

School age (12-17)  Poor judgment, immaturity, aggressive or withdrawn, dating violence, delinquency, lack of communication skills…[anger]

Source:  Hutchinson, I & Hirschel, D. “The Effects of Childen‘s Presence on Woman Abuse”, Violence and Victim, Vol. 16 No. 1 (2001): Springer Publishing Company.

Think about this, an abuser is subject to abuse his/her victim in the presence of children, and even the children if they try to interfere. If  the  acts are perpetrated on an on-going basis the crime can have a definite psychologically/emotionally influence on the children. Children can learn abuse and what they are learning can have a long-range negative effect on their lives. What are you teaching your children?

Do not despair, there’s hope for you and your children. However there are some things you must do ; 1) you must want to be renewed/transformed in the spirit of your mind about how you see yourself, abuse, and it’s effect on you and your children; 2) seek the One Who is able to make a change in you-Jesus Christ and His Word; 3), seek out a godly family counselor who may be able to help you.

“ For in thee, O Lord , do I hope; You will hear, O Lord my God”. Psalm 38:15

By B.McGibboney

If you are currently in an abusive relationship and children are at risk Call  the National Domestic Violence Hotline at: 1 800 799-SAFE (7233)  1 800 787-3224 (TDD)


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