Why Does My Child Need Support Group?

Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

  • Childhood problems associated with exposure to domestic violence fall into three primary categories:
  • Behavioral, social, and emotional problems: higher levels of aggression, anger, hostility, oppositional behavior, and disobedience; fear, anxiety, withdrawal, and depression; poor peer, sibling, and social relationships; and low self-esteem.
  • Cognitive and attitudinal problems: lower cognitive functioning, poor school performance, lack of conflict resolution skills, limited problem solving skills, pro-violence attitudes, and belief in rigid gender stereotypes and male privilege.
  • Long-term problems: higher levels of adult depression and trauma symptoms and increased tolerance for and use of violence in adult relationships.

Children laying on the grass

Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

  • sleeplessness, fears of going to sleep, nightmares, dreams of danger;
  • physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches;
  • ultra sensitivity to danger or being hurt;
  • fighting with others, hurting other children or animals;
  • temper tantrums or defiant behavior;
  • withdrawal from people or typical activities;
  • listlessness, depression, low energy;
  • feelings of loneliness and isolation;
  • current or subsequent substance abuse;
  • poor school performance
  • difficulties concentrating and paying attention
  • feeling that his or her best is not good enough;
  • taking on adult or parental responsibilities;
  • excessive worrying;
  • Bed-wetting or regression to earlier developmental stages (baby talk, thumb sucking, whining, etc.)
  • Dissociation
  • Identifying with or mirroring behaviors of the abuser

So what will my child do at support group?

  • 12 week cyclical sessions
  • Cover topics of self-esteem, anger, feelings, assertiveness, boundary setting, communication, safety, anxiety, and peer relationships (in a child friendly layout!)
  • Talk with the children’s advocate and other members about their experiences.
  • Encounter a secure and very accepting environment that will provide knowledge and understanding about domestic violence.
  • If needed, referrals to other helpful program and case management

The Overlooked Victims

Many times in cases of domestic violence there are children present. Often, unless the children are physically or sexually abused, the trauma they have experienced is overlooked. It is sometimes assumed children haven’t seen or heard anything. However, we know from countless cases this is just not true. Children sense the pain of the parents and usually experience loss of time with one or both parents. Children are unable to deal with the stress and emotions they are experiencing without someone to help them work through it. If you and your child have been in a domestic violence situation, please consider their attendance at support group on Thursday nights 5:30 to 8. They will be in a safe environment where they can express themselves and work through their emotions. Case management with appropriate referrals to valuable services for your child will also be available by Angela even if the child doesn’t go through the shelter.

Please Contact Angela Manivong Children’s Advocate, for more information at 615-895-0185. For updates, visit Angela’s blog site at DVP for kids

Parents, whether staying in or leaving a violent relationship, have the responsibility to get counseling for their children.

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