How domestic violence affects children
Did you know that children can be deeply impacted by violence? When a child is exposed to fighting, screaming and yelling is it traumatizing and leaves emotional, mental, spiritual wounds. When family violence is taking place in a home environment it makes a child's world feel hopeless and helpless. Their hearts are broken and need healing.
IMAGINE seeing someone you love hit, kicked, punched, strangled and stomped by a person you love and thought loved your family member. Family violence is confusing for a child and it makes them feel "unsafe" "unloved" "scared" "anxious" "depressed" "overly compliant". It causes a child to have nightmares, stomach aches, poor eating habits. Bed wetting, problems in school, difficulty with learning and concentration due to worrying about loved ones. Children exposed to domestic violence have difficulty making friends or keeping friends. They tend to run away or stay away from home, get involved with drugs, alcohol, gangs, unhealthy sexual relationships and risk pregnancy early.
They struggle with feelings of rejection and isolation. The violence is often expressed in their artwork, writings and music. They tend to have a history of disciplinary problems, expulsions, and chronic school absences. Sometimes they have trouble sleeping at night and have a hard time staying awake in class during the day. Sometimes they have a love/hate relationship with the parent that perpetrates the violence and the parent that tolerates the abuse.
Sometimes a child will blame himself or herself for the violence taking place. Nevertheless, children learn from what they are exposed to. If they see it or hear it they are being trained to believe it's the right thing to do. Parents, siblings, and other family members are the first examples. For example, if a boy is repeatedly exposed to his father, step-father, brother, uncles or boyfriend beating his mom he will think it's OK. He is at risk of physically abusing his sister. When his mom beats him for hitting his sister he will become angry and confused. He learned how to engage in violence, aggression, uncontrolled anger and victimization while witnessing the abuse of his mother.
It's never too late to break the cycle of domestic and family violence. It's never just the victim of abuse that's impacted. Exposure to violence, neglect, abuse by someone you know, love and should have been able to trust leaves emotional, spiritual, physical, social, financial, sexual wounds. While we can't undo anything that took place in our past we can work to right the wrongs. We can learn to listen. We can make help restore lives. We can make a difference.
If you or your child is in need of anger management, behavioral health, addiction or divorce recovery support contact us for a consultation. Please fill out the contact form and Customer Care will be in touch. Thank you.
Building a Healthy Marriage
The key to having a healthy and happy family is a healthy marriage. Today as we look at the state of marriages we wonder if having a healthy and happy family is possible. Let's explore first-time marriages.
Studies reveal the average age for men is 26 and the average age for women is 24. According to Dr. H. Norman Wright, almost half of first-time marriages fail. Let's look at four principle reasons why some first-time marriages
fail. One reason is that some people do not understand stages in their individual development and are therefore less likely to think about how this can impact a marital relationship.
The second reason is that not every person had an adequate basis upon which to build their personal identity. In other words if personal identity, development and beliefs are unhealthy, negative or key relationships were problematic this creates the risk for later in life problems.
A third reason some marriages fail is because some people enter marriage with unresolved issues such as growing up in a dysfunctional family, traumatic childhood experiences, foster care and child welfare, alcoholism and substance abuse issues, undiagnosed mental illness, and marriage problems of their parents or caretakers.
Lastly, some marriages were dissolved because the couple were unprepared for the marriage and their expectations of each other, marriage and family were unrealistic. Today, marriage and family counseling and support is available.
Studies show about 80% of married couples struggle with the inability to communicate. One of the most important investments some couples make for their marriage is pre-marital counseling, couples coaching and biblical mentoring.
What topics are explored? Understand the purpose of marriage, effective communication, conflict resolution, healing childhood hurts, boundaries, overcoming your parents divorce, financial crisis intervention, sexuality, parenting and spiritual wholeness can be explored in pre-marital counseling as well as ongoing marriage coaching.
As author and speaker, Dr. Gary Smalley notes in, Love Is A Decision, by Gary Smalley and John Trent, "Deep-seated problems don't vanish instantly without consistent work by the couple and relying on God's strength for daily endurance". Having a healthy and happy marriage takes work. A healthy marriage is the key to a healthy family.
Does having good relationships take work? Yes, and there are couples doing their interpersonal and marriage work.
Every relationship experiences some conflict. Dr. Wright shares10 key strategies for coping with conflict.
1. Don't avoid conflict with the silent treatment.
2. Don't save emotional trading stamps.
3. If possible, prepare the setting for the disagreement.
4. Attack the problem, not each other.
5. Don't throw feelings like stones.
6. Stay on the subject.
7. Offer solutions with your criticisms.
8. Never say, "You never.."
9. Don't manipulate your mate.
10. Be humble; you could be wrong.
Larry and Nordis Christenson in their book, The Christian Couple, offers this insight: "Healing does not come from the outside. It comes from within the one who has been hurt. A doctor may set a broken arm and put it in a cast, but the power to mend the bone is released from within the person's own body".
By diligently seeking to learn how to improve conflict -resolution skills, fertile soil is plowed that will ultimately provide a seed bed for effective, healing communication in a marriage. These communication skills can also serve as tools to greatly enhance the couple's parenting skills and abilities. If you're interested exploring how to have a happy and healthy marriage through pre-marital counseling, couple's bible study or marriage coaching contact us today!
Healing Beyond Childhood Trauma
Did you know that most people in the US have at least one ACE? ACE's are adverse childhood experiences that not only causes harm to the brain of children it changes they way they respond to the stresses of life, compromises their immune systems and causes other chronic health conditions over their lifetime. According to a CDC Kaiser Permanente ACE Study childhood trauma and ACE places people at risk for depression, chronic diseases, mental illness, financial problems, social problems and becoming a victim of violence and sexual crimes.
Other ACE surveys have expanded the types of ACE's and those findings while not surprising are also noted below. Below are traumatic experiences linked to social, financial, mental, emotional and physical problems.
1. A family member who is diagnosed with a mental illness or depressed.
2. Witnessing a mother being abused.
3.A family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.
4. Physical, sexual and verbal abuse.
5. A family member who is in prison.
6. Parental separation or divorce.
7. Physical or emotional neglect.
8. Living in an unsafe neighborhood.
9. Experiencing or witnessing racism.
10. Witnessing violence outside of the home.
11. Involvement with the foster care system.
12. Losing a family member due to deportation.
13. Witnessing a father being abused by a mother.
14.Living in a war zone.
15.Being bullied by a peer or adult.
If you have one or more ACE's you are not alone. Research shows that nearly two-third of adults have at least one. Additionally, the scores are even more revealing. For example people with an ACE score of 4 are twice as likely to smoke and seven times more likely to struggle with alcoholism addiction. Additionally, a score of 4 or more is likely to increase the risk of chronic diseases such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis by 400 percent, while also increasing the risk for attempted suicide by 1200. ACE's is also linked to chronic workplace absenteeism, ER visits, mental illness, criminal justice involvement and increased healthcare costs.
The higher the ACE score the more likely it is that people with these scores have more marriages, violence, drug prescriptions, increased risk for broken bones, greater struggles with depression and autoimmune diseases. Studies show that the life span of individuals with an ACE score 6 or higher are at risk for being shortened by 20 years.
The impact of childhood traumatic experiences doesn't just go away as people age. Rather, what a person has lived through directly or indirectly leaves bits and pieces. Harmful traces of the past that keeps showing up has the ability to be passed down from one generation to the next causing generational cycles of unhealed trauma and strongholds.
While the brain does not know the difference between one kind of traumatic experienced and toxic stress from the other we are not stuck with stressed out brains, painful memories, chronic diseases, mental illness or substance abuse.
It's essential that people receive an effective diagnosis from an effective team of caring medical professionals who can create qualified treatment plan so the journey to healing and recovery can begin.
Wishing you health and wellness,
Patrina M Torres, Founder, Totally Healed International
NCCA Certified Temperament Counselor, Certified Instructor
School of Counseling, S.A.C.C. Certified Academic Institution