You may be concerned about your children’s relationship with their abusive parent. You may think that when you call the police or get a restraining order, your children will have to be cut off from their abusive parent. However, the courts rarely cut off a parent from their children completely.
Remember, you are the children’s parent and they depend on you for their security. When children see their parent living in fear and humiliation, they will feel the same emotions. Even when the abuser doesn’t directly abuse the children, domestic violence seriously harms them. Research shows that children of all ages are aware of the violence. The younger the child is, the more serious the effect. Children who live in a home with domestic violence frequently have learning, emotional, and behavioral problems, which can continue throughout their adult lives.
On the other hand, when children see their parent receiving help and getting to safety, they are not only rescued from immediate danger, but also learn they have a right to stop abuse in their own lives.
As you start to break free of domestic violence, tell the children that separation doesn’t mean that the abuser doesn’t love them. Tell them directly that no one should tolerate abuse. Some of the abusive parent’s behavior was harmful and criminal, so the abusive parent needs some time away. Tell the children it wasn’t their fault, it’s okay to be sad, and it’s okay to miss, love, or be angry at their abusive parent.