Dad hits mom - how does it affect the child? 

If you are a victim of violence and your child witnesses it, it can be just as damaging for them to witness as it is uncomfortable for you to be in. Violence against children can be experienced in many ways. It can be physical in the form of hitting, pushing or choking attempts, and it can be psychological in the form of threats, belittling behavior, isolation or ignoring and cold behavior. You can read more about this on our page on violence against children and also find our contact details if you need help.  

In this article, we dive into how it affects your child if they witness you being hit by an abusive partner. This can have very detrimental effects on their mental health. This article is for those who want a deeper insight into the topic, and for those who want advice and guidance if you and your children are living in an abusive home. At Ellestedet Crisis Center, we are here to help women and their children break the cycle of violence. Our methods are caring and educational, and we meet you and your child where you are in your situation.

The harmful effects of witnessing dad hitting mom

If a child is exposed to domestic violence for a prolonged period of time, it can, in the worst cases, develop into mental disorders such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Children may experience a lot of trouble sleeping due to severe nightmares or experience sudden flashbacks if a familiar situation triggers them. This is as a result of too many traumatic experiences that have not been dealt with professionally. 

Will the child become violent if dad hits mom? 

Children are impressionable souls, and they often mirror their parents' behavior. There is no direct link between a child becoming violent if they see their father hitting their mother, but it can give them a false and misguided idea that this is how you should treat each other in a relationship. It is therefore important to break the violent spiral quickly so that the child learns and understands that there are many other ways to deal with a conflict than becoming violent. In the worst case scenario, some children will develop aggressive behavior as a form of defense mechanism, as they may have difficulty managing their emotions and are used to seeing dad get violent if he gets angry. 

Can the child show signs of dad hitting mom?

There are a number of signs that a child may unknowingly show if they witness their father hitting their mother in an unsafe home environment. These signs to look out for can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Violent nightmares 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Uncontrollable emotional outbursts 

What do you do if your child tells you that daddy hits mummy? 

As a professional or ordinary citizen, you have a duty to report if you have a strong suspicion that a child needs special support or help in one way or another. 

This can be based on a number of signals that paint a picture of a chaotic home situation or it can be if the child directly tells you that they are either a victim of or have witnessed domestic violence. You can read more about the duty to report on the website of the National Social Appeals Board. As a starting point, you must notify the child's municipality, after which they will take the necessary measures to help the child in the best possible way. 

We can help you and your child

Ellested Women's Crisis Center works with children who have been exposed to domestic violence, offering professional support and therapy to help them process their trauma and achieve a healthier future. We are ready to help you and your child break the cycle of violence. Contact us today and let's have a no-obligation conversation about how we can help you, your child or advise you if you are unsure if a child is experiencing violence. 

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