Is your behaviour affecting your children?
Even if your children haven’t seen you be abusive, they’ve almost certainly overheard things. Children are highly intuitive and can pick up on tension around them. It’s terrifying to hear a parent being abused. To know that someone they love is being harmed, and not knowing how it will end. To be powerless to stop it. Studies have shown that children suffer long-term harm if they live with violence and abuse, even if the abuse isn’t directed at them.
Your children might be physically hurt in the ‘cross-fire’, suffer sleep deprivation and be unable to concentrate at school. They may wet the bed, develop eating disorders, or endure panic attacks, stress and tension.
Your child will probably feel fear, anger and anxiety, be jumpy or unable to relax. They might struggle to trust you, or others, and develop low self-esteem and psychological problems.
Children learn from those around them. Your child could start to model themselves on your violent and abusive behaviour, and bully other children or expect and accept abuse. They might struggle with school work or skip school, steal or break the law, or turn to alcohol and drugs.
It’s easy to minimise your actions. Maybe you think what you’ve done ‘isn’t that bad’. Maybe you’re making excuses.
Or maybe you’re finding the strength, now, to face up to what you’ve done and the effect it’s having on people you care about. Maybe you’re feeling guilty or ashamed of how you’ve behaved.
It can hurt to admit that what you’ve done is not okay. But by doing so and choosing to change, you’re taking responsibility for your actions, and are on the road to change.
Help is available from:
- Hampton Trust COVID support line: 02380 009898 (Hampshire service)
- Hampshire Domestic Abuse Service Advice Line 03300 165 112, weekdays 9.30am-8pm
- Respect Phoneline: Freephone 0808 8024040 (national service)