Talking to Your Children When There has been Violence in the Home
• Talk about it when they are ready. Offer to discuss the abuse whenever they are ready, or answer their questions.
• Listen to them without interrupting.
• Talk about their feelings.
• Show understanding and empathy.
• Tell them it’s not their fault.
• Tell them you love them.
• Tell them you will try and keep them safe and intend to act in a way that is safe for everyone.
• Let them know that violence is never okay.
• Talk about how hard it must be to talk about it right now.
• Always act in a way that is not violent or abusive with your children.
• Take them for counselling if needed.
• If your child acts violently, talk about it right away. Set limits and discuss ow confusing this must be.
• Be patient – it might take a while for your child to respond.
• Take care of yourself and manage your own guilt and regret.
How YOUR Denial Impacts Your Children
• Violence/abuse appears “normal”
• Your child may be afraid to talk about the abuse because it seems okay to everyone else.
• Your child may not understand what is happening and experience confusion.
• Children usually blame themselves
• Because no on talks about what is happening, children learn to deny their own thoughts and feelings. They do not learn how to discuss and resolve important things.
• Children may feel crazy
• They may feel lonely and isolated from their friends
Based on Helping Children Who Witness Domestic Violence: A Guide for Parents (Instructor’s Manual) by Meg Crager and Lily Anderson. (1997)
Adapted from http://www.lfcc.on.ca/ece-us.PDF