If you are a survivor of a domestic abuse situation, you have probably tried to shield your children from what has been happening. Talking to them can help remove their feelings of powerlessness, confusion and anger. We have drafted some helpful information below on ways you may be able engage with and help your children.
How to help your children understand
Talk to your children
Most children will appreciate an opportunity to acknowledge the abuse and to talk about how they are feeling.
Try not to scare them. When the time is right, reassure them that the abuse is not their fault and that they are not responsible for adult behaviour.
Make it clear
Abuse is wrong! And no one deserves to be treated this way. Remember, your children will naturally trust you – be as open as you feel is appropriate.
Help your children to talk about how they feel
Children sometimes struggle to talk about their feelings, especially if they are younger children or in an environment they don’t know / trust. Activities are a great way to help your children talk about their feelings and help them feel at ease. One activity we recommend for smaller children is drawing. Ask them to draw / write about how they feel about what’s going on. Teachers at your child’s school or nursery may be able to help you with this.
Teach them how to get emergency help
Explain how to call 999 and who to ask for, but also make sure they understand that they aren’t responsible for protecting you if something was to happen.
Ask for help
Demonstrate that asking for help is a good thing and you don’t always need to be tough, people are here to help. If you do it yourself, your children see that there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
You may think that the best place to raise a child is in a family environment with the security of a home and a partner. However, children will feel more secure and safer living with one parent in a stable living environment than with two parents in and unstable abusive one.