Shadow of domestic violence
Syed Tajamul Hussain
Child- a delicate, immature and blooming living being breathes innocence that needs our care, attention and love to let it prosper and live as healthy buds in our homes. Children are the only hopes to smile and cheer for every adult member of the family. They are able to produce moments of laughter and merry making atmosphere around, ceasing all the worries and depressed mindsets in the way just as if eraser erases wrong pencil sketches on paper. Even in the Covid era, though remaining suffocated with masks round the clock children make every effort to bring a smile back in the family.
Children need a safe and secure home that is free of all sorts of violence and distrust, helpful for their proper growth and development. Unfortunately, all the homes are not parallel and not in the way that they deserve to be. Some of the homes exhibit violent environment that derails and shatters the healthy life of blooming children.
Unhealthy home atmosphere destroys the tranquillity and peace in a child. Frequent violence and bullying at home could hamper a child to live under constant stress. Every year, millions of children are exposed to domestic violence at home and this has a powerful and profound impact on their lives and hopes for the future.
Some of the domestic violence cases go unreported and children may suffer in silence. Violence in the home is not limited by geography, ethnicity or status as it is a global phenomenon. Exposure to violence can harm a child’s emotional, psychological and even physical development.
Children who grew up in a violent home are more likely to be victims of child abuse. Infants and small children who are exposed to violence in the home experience so much added emotional stress that it can harm the development of their brains and impair cognitive and sensory growth.
Personality and behavioural problems among children exposed to violence in the home can take the forms of psychosomatic illness, depression, suicidal tendencies and bed-wetting. They are likely imparting odd behavioural problems such as regressing, exhibiting out of control behaviour and imitating behaviour. Many studies have noted that children from violent homes exhibit signs of more aggressive behaviour such as bullying and are up to three times more likely to be involved in fighting.
Violence in the home shatters a child’s basic right to feel safe and secure in the world. Children of any age can develop symptoms of what is called post- traumatic stress disorder. They may get nightmares; have headaches, tummy aches and physical pains. Some of the researchers assert that violence in homes can damage social development among the affected children.
The victims face difficulty in learning and have limited social skills, exhibit violent, risky or delinquent behaviour or show severe anxiety. Some feel socially isolated and unable to make friends as easily due to social discomfort or confusion over what is acceptable. Children exposed to domestic violence has considerable potential to be perceived as life threatening by those victimised and leave them with a sense of vulnerability, hopelessness, and psychological disorders and emotional threats that end up affecting their academic lives. Children can be highly influenced by what is going on in their environment.
Children exposed to violence in their homes, often have conflicting feelings towards their parents. The faults occurred in parenting process due to domestic violence can prove dangerous for the health of children. It demoralizes the positive spirits and hopes among the affected children.
They are bound to show grief, shame, despair and low self-esteem as their common emotions. They can suffer an immense amount of physical symptoms along with their emotional and behavioural state of despair. They may also appear nervous and have short attention spans. They also show symptoms of fatigue and constant tiredness. They may also feel problems of insomnia due to lack of adequate sound sleep at home. They also have tendency to partake in high-risk play activities, self-abuse and suicide.
The most probable causes or factors that led the seeds of domestic violence to germinate in homes such as failed marriages, poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism and lack of awareness. The unhappy couples find it unimportant to feed care and attention towards their children and are making their homes nest for violence. Some of the poor parents could not withstand the fire of poverty and indulge in abusive behaviours that led the child to suffer between the blades of poverty and violence. Alcoholism and drug abuse too led the homes to dwell in violence from dawn to dusk.
Someone has rightly said that if you want to build good and healthy world, go home and love your family. It depicts that we should impart good and positive relationship with our family including children too.
It is better to douse the flames of domestic violence than to watch the fire damaging the future of children as mute spectators. To bleed inks or deliver sermons on the matter of stopping violence in homes can only make castles in air. We need to stop violence in our practical outlook.
Children need extreme care from parents without whom they will suffer the most. The things that can help to keep children happy and healthy including feeling loved trusted, understood, valued and safe.
Praise them when they do well. Recognize their efforts as well as what they achieve. According to the journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology, the medicine to treat disruptive behaviour in children is parent behaviour therapy. Children need our time and space which we have not provided for their well-being. These blooming buds are always our pride and hope. Whatever and whenever we invest in them, show better results if they get their deserved and desired value and respect.
(The author is a post graduate in Environmental Science. He is a regular contributor to Kashmir Vision)