Essay on The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children

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Traditional research to ascertain the effects of living with domestic violence on children conducted psychological test to measure children’s competency and development. Development psychologists experimented on children in laboratory settings, if the level of competency demonstrated by a child was below average for their age and stage of development, witnessing domestic violence was deemed to be the cause. To know whether a child has been harmed by their experiences we need to how ‘normal’ children function and develop (Archard 197). But there is no universally agreed timeless norm of children’s health and development. Some psychologists believe domestic violence effects the way that children think and can cause ‘pre-mature’…show more content…
Children also develop psychological coping mechanisms such as; blocking out the violence or on the contrary, monitoring it closely as a means of feeling in control; children may also talk about their experiences to a person, pet or object (McGee 2000). Very young children can only show their distress through their health and behaviour, for example: Sleep disturbances, eating problems, unnatural quietness and clinginess. Professionals disregard some of the complex and diverse coping mechanisms children possess by labelling them as psychosomatic disorders, personality defects or the beginnings of an addiction to violence. Based on studies of child development in what Jaffe et al (1990) call ‘normal’ families, a range of adjustment difficulties can be identified. Difficulties include: increased anxiety, psychosomatic illness including headaches, abdominal complaints, asthma, ulcers, stuttering, depression, sadness, withdrawal, fear, a reduction in understanding social situations including thoughts and feelings of other people (Saunders 1995:10). Behaviours such as: excessive cruelty to animals, teenage boys beating their girlfriends, disobedience, destructiveness, aggression, nervous demeanour and children running away from home. This research was produced within the rigid ethnocentric framework of children’s cognitive development
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