Sunday, 10 June 2012

A child's perspective on living with abuse and trauma

A child's view and interpretation of living in a home where there is abuse and violence is a complex one as they are having to deal with a multitude of experiences, sensations and feelings without the ability to understand or process them. 

Children thrive best when life is essentially fairly predictable, they feel loved unconditionally and they have opportunities to learn, make mistakes and have fun.  In a home life where at any given time there can be physical violence, threats, shouting, intimidation, high levels of criticism and sarcasm, taunting, ridiculing, scapegoating, one scary parent and one scared parent then life becomes about survival.

If most days a child goes to bed sleeps uninterrupted by arguing, fighting, being torn from their bed to talk to Dad at 2 a.m., the Police coming round or having to get up and go to Nan's in the middle of the night then they will generally eventually develop a good sleep pattern and will wake refreshed to face the new day.

If most days a child has a parent to spend some time with them, check in that they are OK, be available if they are not, remember their lunch money, have a clean uniform for them and to generally make sure that life ticks along, then they are free to concentrate on being a child.  They can focus on making and keeping friends, learning in and out of school, having fun and getting the most from life.

If most days a child has one parent they are scared of and another is generally unavailable to them either practically or emotionally because she is trying to do everything 'right' to keep the scary one happy then they will not be able to build a strong relationship with either care giver and consequently struggle to develop lasting relationships with others as they have no template for them. 

If a child has one parent who they are terrified off but who they keep hoping that this is the day they will change and be like the other Dad's, or who they believe that if they do what ever he asks then he is kinder to everyone, like Mum does, or who they fear they might be like as they sometimes lash out at others, then this will shape the way they view life and themselves.

So much more to cover on this, I will try to cover a variety of aspect so behaviour and parenting which are affected by living through trauma in my follow up Blogs.

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