Step 1: Learn
Sometimes it’s hard to be certain that a child or teen is experiencing violence in their home. Some may act very “normal” or be extremely quiet, while others may be highly aggressive. A child’s or teen’s response varies for many reasons, but they often share many of the same feelings, including: Fear, Worry, Helplessness, Shame, Guilt, Sadness, and Anger.
- UNDERSTANDING HOW VIOLENCE INFLUENCES CHILDREN AND TEENS
In order to keep children and teens safe, it is important to understand how violence in the home influences the way they see themselves, interact with others, and see the world around them.
- A child or teen has very little power within their home life. Decisions are often made for them by adults without their participation or understanding of why.
- A child or teen may falsely believe they can control the violence by trying to appease the abuser or acting out in order to deflect violence away from the person being hurt.
- A child or teen may feel helpless, unloved, scared, depressed, angry, guilty, and worthless because of the violence they are experiencing at home.
For these reasons, children and teens act in many different ways to regain power or control situations outside their homes.
- SOME CAUTIONS
If you suspect a child or teen in your life is experiencing violence in their home, there are many ways you can help and make a difference. However, there are some important considerations you should be aware of before trying to help a child:
- Confronting a person who abuses their partner could be potentially dangerous, both for you and others involved, including the child or teen.
- You may not be able to end the violence. However, you CAN still help a child or teen find a new path.