The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children

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Exposure to domestic violence can impact the behavioral, social-emotional, and cognitive development of children. Children who are exposed to domestic violence tend to exhibit more aggressive behaviors with their peers, show signs of depression, and have a difficult time forming relationships (Brown & Bzostek, 2003). Cognitively, studies have shown that children exposed to domestic violence may have difficulties learning and concentrating in school, have difficulties with conflict resolution skills, and may believe in male privilege, (Brown & Bzostek, 2003). Concentration is difficult for children exposed to domestic violence because of how unsafe they may feel in their surroundings. They may be preoccupied with the violence that is occurring at home or may be fearful of what may come next. This causes many children to experience difficulties learning and concentrating at school. Children who witness domestic violence generally have difficulty sleeping, which may also directly affect their behavior and learning in the classroom. Difficulties with conflict resolution and belief in male privilege derive from seeing their father have control over their mother and can be detrimental to the child’s ability to form relationships. They witness violence and aggression as a means of conflict resolution and inherently learn that it is acceptable to be controlling in a relationship. In regards to gender, children exposed to domestic violence may exhibit differences in their behavior. Boys tend to exhibit externalized behaviors such as aggression and acting out, whereas girls tend to exhibit more internalized behaviors such as withdrawal and depression (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2009). In future relationships, studies have shown that...

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