A child’s life is one that is supposed to be filled with laughter and good times as they advance from babies to youth to adolescence and onward to join us as adults. Sometimes, however, children find themselves subjected to lifestyles that are not of their own making and that are much less than desirable for how a child should live, particularly at home. Home life, for many children is a scenario where there is domestic violence involved and often times this violence plays out in their school life as well.
Any child who has witnessed domestic violence whether they are directly involved or not, has most certainly has been traumatized. There is a broad misconception that the child who is not directly victimized is not harmed. This is the furthest thing from true, particularly for children who witness a parent or sibling being hurt. Young children in particular, who are not able to fully understand what is happening, may tend to internalize their feelings and take on an aggressive role at school; sometimes showing the same violence they have witnessed at home against their fellow students.
Older children and teens may be able to articulate their feelings to others but may be plagued by uncertainty about “putting their business in the street” or be afraid of putting themselves at risk of being attacked at home for “snitching” or trying to get help for the family member who is being victimized. These children and teens may exhibit violent tendencies at school that are coupled with periods of depression, anxiety, anti-social behavior and poor performance in school.
If you or someone you know is being victimized by domestic violence and there are children directly or indirectly involved, do what you can to get help for yourself or the person you know by getting out of the situation. Even when you can end a domestic violence scenario, children still need someone to talk to and help in dealing with feelings that may be causing them to have nightmares or other troubles in school such as interaction with their peers.
Although domestic violence cannot be credited with being the source of the majority of school violence problems that arise, it is one such source that should be eliminated. Children who experience domestic violence at home are often unable to study properly due to lack of sleep and inability to pay attention. These children often display problem behavior in school that is a result of them playing out the violence they have been forced to witness at home.
Every child should have a home that is a safe haven where they are made to feel loved and secure. This is an integral part of growing up well balanced and becoming a productive part of society.