Did you know that children from violent homes often display a variety of behavioral characteristics as a result of living in an unpredictable environment? Many of these characteristics are similar to those exhibited by children who have been abused in other ways.

Recent studies show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18 years, and that in homes where domestic violence is present, 50% of children living in those homes are abused physically and/or emotionally.

Characteristics of Children from Violent Homes

Children often have the following characteristics as a result of living in a violent and unpredictable environment. Many of these characteristics are similar to those of children who have been physically or sexually abused. In fact, many children who grow up in homes in which a parent is abused are abused themselves.

Feelings children most commonly feel:

  • Worthless and powerless
  • Guilt, feel responsible for the problem
  • Depressed
  • Lonely, shy, and fearful
  • Suicidal or have homicidal thoughts towards their parent(s)
  • Fear, disgust, and rage toward either parent
  • The need to be “perfect” to keep everyone happy
  • Embarrassment and humiliation

Behaviors most children exhibit:

  • Aggressive behaviors and nightmares
  • Isolate themselves from other children
  • Short attention span
  • Acting anxious and/having nervous disorders
  • Bullying other children, acting abusive, or being violent towards others
  • High risk for alcohol and drug abuse
  • Have a record of poor school attendance and difficulties in learning
  • May say that they HATE their abusive parent OR side with the abusive parent in BLAMING the other parent
  • Accepting and expecting violence in their present or future relationships
  • Using violence to express frustration, anger, and stress

Physical clues:

  • Physically or sexually abused
  • Emotionally and physically neglected
  • Injured, accidentally or intentionally, while intervening
  • Bed-wetting, headaches, and stomach-aches
  • Self-abusive
  • Frequent illness
  • Poor school attendance 


More Information

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