Mom comforting son

5 Ways to Support Children Who Have Seen Domestic Violence

It’s estimated that 15.5 million children in the U.S. live in a household where partner violence occurs. Exposure to this kind of trauma and violence can lead to adverse health effects, such as depression and anxiety. Children need caring and compassionate relationships in order to thrive.

Here is what you can do to help children recover after witnessing domestic violence.

1. Make them feel safe.

Children can feel isolated after experiencing domestic violence. It’s important to build a connection, and even the simple pleasures in life can help with that. Read their favorite book, bake together, or go on a walk to the park. Assure them that they are safe with you. Lastly, consider leaving the abusive relationship sooner rather than later if you are still in it.

2. Listen to them.

Even though it is not their fault, kids often feel guilt or take on some blame for their parent being abused. Is your child expressing similar thoughts? Let them know that is not the case, and listen to what else they have to say. It’s important to encourage these kinds of discussions with your child in order to help them develop positive communication skills.

3. Be honest.

If your child has questions about the abuse taking place, answer honestly but in an age-appropriate manner. They don’t need to hear all the details, but a truthful response will help calm their worries about what happened. Often, their imagination can be worse than reality.

4. Seek support.

Support can come in many forms. Consider consulting with a therapist or mental health professional. These professionals are trained in helping individuals cope with stress in healthy ways and turn negative thoughts into positive ones. Another form of support that can help kids cope with their trauma is by finding a group of other children to let them know they are not alone in their experiences. Lastly, encourage them to seek out a new hobby, such as playing sports, painting, creative writing, or anything else that can help them reduce stress.

5. Don’t give up.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself. When you’re in the right place mentally, the better equipped you are to offer support and assistance. This journey won’t be easy, but kids are resilient, and they will eventually recover with your guidance.

If you are looking to leave your domestic violence situation, it’s imperative that you retain an experienced attorney. Our team at Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. will help you address these matters in court, obtain the appropriate protective orders, and act with your best interests and the children in mind.

Don’t wait another day to take action. Call our Chicago domestic violence attorneys at (312) 487-2795 to schedule your appointment.