When children are exposed to traumatic events and violence, they are at risk of a number of things from being injured to suffering emotional trauma. Children very often suffer from upset feelings and can have their daily activities disrupted after they’re injured or witness trauma. Fortunately, children are resilient. They may need some help to work through the trauma, but they can bounce back.
1. Resilience in children means they snap back quickly
As a victim of domestic violence, you may worry that your children will suffer in the long term from what they’ve witnessed or suffered. Children are resilient, though, and many return to their normal activities and actions within a short time. They may have a few days or weeks where they act unusual or withdrawn, but with the right support and encouragement, many return to their normal attitudes and actions.
Children may also respond to an initial trauma with minimal distress. You may not notice a significant change in how your child acts or functions each day.
Of course, some children do have problems functioning in some areas following trauma. For instance, a child might struggle to pay attention at school or have a hard time with peer relationships.
2. Children do better with good self-esteem
You’ve likely worked hard on building your child’s self-esteem. Having good self-esteem affects how a child reacts to trauma. Possessing positive talents and having outlets to express emotions helps, too. For example, a child who does well on a swim team can expend pent-up energy and anxiety by swimming, which is a healthy outlet for any traumatic memories or anxieties he or she has.
3. Providing a strong support system matters
When you leave a violent situation, the support system you give your child matters. You may not feel strong yourself, but having a primary care provider, teachers, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends or others who support you and your child is healthy and ben eficial. Your child needs the support of others to know that he or she is valuable and that his or her feelings have merit. Being surrounded by healthy relationships helps put a negative situation into perspective, which encourages your child to be resilient and to move past the traumatic incident that occurred.
Domestic violence is a horrible situation, and if you’ve been injured, you have a right to seek a protection order and to keep your child safe. Your attorney can help you make sure you never have to put your child in harm’s way again.