Violence is learned. Witnessing violence has a devastating effect on children. Children living in violent homes are usually themselves physically abused or neglected.
These children are anxious and worried about when the violence will strike again.
They are afraid that a parent will die or be injured.
They feel guilty, thinking it is their fault, or that they can stop it. They are confused by their mixed feelings of love and anger towards both parents.
They are depressed, and at times suicidal.
They are often violent themselves, at home, in school or at play.
They have difficulty in relationships as children, and later as adults. Some are eager to please all the time - others are always combative. Sometimes they will alternate between the two.
Some children unfairly become the caretakers of the family at an early age. They often want to stay home, thinking they can monitor or control the abuse.
They are often delayed in their development - as babies they may fail to thrive.
Stress from an abusive home may result in speech disorders, headaches, stomachaches and general malaise. They are accident prone and may wet the bed.
They are often themselves victims of abuse.
The majority of boys aged 11-20 who have been incarcerated for homicide, killed the abuser of their mother.