What happens to a child when: Mom hits Dad or Dad hits Mom?

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In honor of this month, I want to make a plea to the parents who abuse their spouses or signifcant others. Please stop, because your children are watching and they think that everything that you do is right.

Many parents have found it amusing when they saw their children engaging in pretend play and they were imitating them. I thought I was going to fall over when my then 3-year old was pretending to be a part-time accountant. Children idolize their parents and they want to be just like them. When children are young, what they see in their home is what they deem to be normal. Most children who grow up in a two parent home, think that every home has a mommy and a daddy until they are exposed to something different.

When it comes to domestic violence, children are seeing the abuse in their home when no one else is around. Unless a child spends a lot of time with other families in their homes, they won't necessarily understand that this is not the norm unless they are told by their parents. If you are a man who is abusing his wife, you are teaching your son that it ok to hit a woman and your daughter is being taught that it's ok to be hit by a man. If you are a woman who is abusing her husband you are teaching your son that it's ok to be hit by a woman and your daughter is being taught that it's ok to hit a man. No one has the right to put their hands on another human being.

According to Childwelfare.gov children who are exposed to domestic violence may have various problems in life such as behavioral, emotional, social, cognitive, attitudinal and other long term problems. These problems translate to poor performance in school, stress, anxiety, fear and poor behavior in school.

Parents, you owe it to your children to get out of an abusive relationship. While your abuser in only targeting you, that could change and your child could become abused if you don't leave. Some children who witness abuse grow up to be abusers themselves. Help your child break the cycle of abuse by getting help and leaving your abusive relationship. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help. Don't feel like you don't have options. Leaving may take some time because you may not be financially stable. There are people who can help you make a plan to leave. Here are some valuable resources that can help you.

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-7233
Help For Abused Women
Help For Abused Men
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Thanks for reading!

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