What does domestic violence teach children?


Domestic violence is a private matter that has been brought into the public eye much in part to the NFL and the poor decisions of some football players. Many of us have heard the story about Ray Rice's wife and about their troubled marriage. Much of the talk about domestic violence is usually spent discussing what the parents are experiencing and although this is important, I ask "what about the kids?" Many people do not realize how domestic violence impacts a child's physical, mental and emotional development. 

By witnessing domestic violence a child can learn.....   

that hitting or yelling at others is an appropriate way of communicating 
hitting or yelling equals respect 
by hitting or yelling other people listen to you
physical strength is more important than anything else
to have difficulty trusting other adults and parents
to fight peers at school and break things at home
that a foundation for a relationship is fighting 
in all relationships someone must be submissive
physical strength is emotional strength
that all men or women are violent (depending on who is the abuser) 
the poor ability to cope with stress or anxiety 
the poor ability to resolve problems without fighting or arguing 
to have low self esteem related to self blame for the domestic violence
to be afraid when other people are yelling around the 
to hide their problems in the face of fear 
to not trust mom and dad since they can barely trust themselves 
to be insecure with themselves and others 
and that all adults are violent people  

Domestic violence is violence against a family unit, everyone is impacted. Children are very much affected by what they see and hear at home. A simple verbal argument among adults can start a downward spiral in their young minds. If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence relationship, I ask that you please find help, maybe not for yourself but definitely for your children. 

Does spanking work?

Spanking a child teaches them fear and increases violence, it does not increase obedience. The fear instilled in children after spanking does not mean your child will respect you or listen to you anymore than before. In fact fear creates insecurities, has a negative impact on child development and children begin to question their self worth. This eventually can lead to low self esteem and possible depression, not just in childhood years but later on during adolescence. 

I am a strong believer in using behavioral methods and praise to increase a child's positive behavior. The best way to teach children to listen and be respectful is by reinforcing positive behaviors, praising good behavior and giving attention to your child for the behavior you want to see. By giving your child love and attention, they will want to please you and they will reciprocate the positive emotions. This teaches self control, positive social skills and emotional regulation. 

Parents who believe in spanking are choosing this method for a variety of reasons including: it was done to them, they believe it is a form of teaching, they are not aware of the negative effects on child development due to spanking and they simply feel behavioral techniques do not work for their child. All of the above reasons are excuses, educate yourself and realize that spanking only teaches children to hit and be violent. The last thing we should want for our children is for them to grow up thinking that hitting and hurting equals respect or love.