The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children Essay

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Studies indicate that 30-43% of children in the United States have witnessed some form of physical violence between their parents. This violence can have a profound effect on preschoolers cognitive and emotional development. Studies suggest that younger children may be more vulnerable to the effects of witnessing domestic violence than older children (Johnson and Lieberman, 2011) so it is very disturbing to recognize that young children are more likely to witness incidents of violence than older children (Ybarra, Wilkens, & Lieberman, 2011). Witnessing these acts of violence has a detrimental effect on the cognitive development as well as emotion regulation and internalizing and externalizing behaviors in preschoolers (Lieberman, …show more content…
A setback in school readiness could have a large effect when the child faces their psychosocial crises of autonomy vs. inferiority and initiative vs. guilt (Newman & Newman, 2012). These children do not have as much opportunity to feel that they are successful when they work through these crises. This discrepancy may be from the psychopathology present in a mother following a violent relationship, directly impeding her ability to stimulate cognitive development. The mother’s intellectual functioning may also have been diminished as a direct result of the violence which leaves the child less stimulated (Ybarra, Wilkens, & Lieberman).
A positive correlation has been found between externalizing (aggression) and internalizing (lowered self esteem, depression, anxiety) and domestic violence exposed children. Children exposed to domestic violence have been found to be four times more likely to develop internalizing or externalizing behavior problems than children who are not exposed to violence. The disruption of the development of basic competencies harms the child’s ability to manage emotions effectively and increases internalizing and externalizing behaviors (Martinez-Torteya et. al., 2012). This is particularly problematic for preschool children as younger children display more intense externalizing and internalizing behavioral responses to parental conflict than do older children (Ybarra, Wilkens, & Lieberman). These responses are due
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