Children who are living in an environment where Family Violence is occurring are also at a high risk to experience violence and/or abuse either directly or indirectly. Witnessing or experiencing Family Violence has an extreme negative impact on children that can result in emotional and psychological trauma.
Children exposed to Family Violence can develop behavioral difficulties, for example:
Increased levels of anxiety
Repressed feelings of fear, anger, guilt and confusion
Sleeping problems, such as nightmares, difficulties falling asleep etc.
Fear of being touched or close to someone
Lack of trust
Fear of making mistakes
Inability to form stable relationships
Eating problems, such as increased or decreased appetite
Stress-related physical symptoms, such as bed wetting, headaches, stomach aches etc.
Poor school performance
Difficulties to concentrate
Decreased cognitive abilities
Lack of social competence
Self-harming tendencies, such as hair pulling, nail biting, etc.
Alcohol and drug abuse
Children often feel responsible for the violence and do not understand that it is a problem between adults. They might feel that parents are fighting because their school performance, fighting with siblings etc. The egocentric view of being the center of the world increases this view and their fear of being the cause for the violence and abuse.
In particular older children feel the need of protecting the ones that are being hurt, such as the victim of abuse and/or younger siblings. This might bring the child in dangerous situation with an increasing chance of getting hurt directly.
2 Timothy 3:1-8
English Standard Version (ESV)
Godlessness in the Last Days
3 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith.
The Bible condemns spouse abuse by demanding a lifestyle of love and compassion, which rules out the violence in the home. Whether abuse is mental, physical, or verbal, abuse does not fit with the Christian lifestyle. No member of the home has a right to hurt other family members.
Paul tells husbands, ‘Love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it … So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church’ (Ephesians 5:25, Ephesians 5:28-29). If a husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church, he will not consider abusing his wife. Christ gave Himself for the church, and loves and nourishes it. As they follow His example, husbands will love and nourish their wives.
Abuse denies love and diminishes the wife. As Adam received Eve, his wife, God said, ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). A man who abuses his wife acts as if he hates his own flesh, because he and his wife share this ‘one flesh’ relationship.
Paul wrote, ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing’ (Ephesians 5:22-24). Some men have, unfortunately, taken their position as head of the household as license to abuse wives and children. Submission does not give permission for abuse.
In the verse preceding his admonition to wives to ‘submit yourselves unto your own husbands,’ Paul wrote of ‘submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God’ (Ephesians 5:21). Neither the husband nor the wife is to ‘lord’ authority over the other, but both are to mutually submit to one another in love. Submission does not allow or condone abuse, or protect an abuser from the consequences of his actions.
Peter amplifies the proper view of submission. ‘Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear’ (1 Peter 3:1-2). He adds that the Christian woman who adorns herself with a meek (strength under control) and quiet spirit may win her non-Christian husband (1 Peter 3:3-6). ‘Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered’ (1 Peter 3:7). The godly husband who properly honors his wife will dwell with her in peace and love, and would never consider hurting her. The church must help families learn to live in love and peace, without violence.
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