The Generational Cycle of Violence
Children growing up in violent homes can be affected in a variety of ways by the violence they witness or experience. If you are in an abusive situation, it is very important to recognize this in children.
If you are hesitant to leave the abusive situation because of the children, please be aware of the following:
1) Children are often victims of and participants in "pecking order" violence. This describes a situation in which father abuses mother. mother abuses children and children abuse each other. As children grow older. they are very likely to begin directing the violent behavior they have learned toward their parents. The message that has been received in this household is that violence is ok. In fact. love and violence may soon be viewed as having a direct relationship.
2) As secondary victims. children often show the same signs of depression and low self-esteem characteristic of primary victims. They are also at high risk for alcohol/drug problems. sexual promiscuity and running away from home.
3) Statistics show that 80% of violent family situations. the batterer has either been a victim of or to abuse during childhood. She or he has learned that no one has the right to reject her/him without being punished. The victim has learned that violence is normal or at least something to be accepted.
Chances are good, therefore. that children witnessing the abuse of their mother will grow up to perpetuate the cycle of violence as the next generation of victims and abusers.
Knowing the effects of violence on children may provide you with the motivation that you need to change your situation either by leaving or seeking professional help. Even if you continue to suffer physical and emotional beatings yourself, it is not likely that you want the same future for your children.