This week we have been discussing how to talk to kids about domestic violence—especially if the children have witnessed domestic violence or if one or both of their parents has been the victim of abuse. It can be extremely difficult to navigate such a conversation with a child. Earlier this week, we shared five good things to say to kids when discussing domestic abuse. Here are three things that you should try hard to avoid saying:
- “It’s not something we talk about.” One of the reasons that domestic abuse continues to be such an insidious issue in our society is that it is still a taboo topic in many households. Never make a child feel as if he or she cannot speak about domestic violence—it is dangerous and it simply obscures the problem. Instead, be sure to say that the child is being brave for talking about such a painful and difficult topic.
- “Maybe if you did something differently…” Children are never, ever to blame for domestic violence. And yet many children feel guilty when their parents fight. Kids can’t be expected to solve the problems of abuse that exist in their household and they certainly shouldn’t feel that they have caused those problems.
- “I don’t believe you.” It takes huge amounts of courage for a child to come forward and talk about private family issues—especially physical and verbal abuse. Even if you believe that the child may be exaggerating or lying, this is not the time to say so. Listen to the child and respond to him by offering love, support, and resources. Later, you may need to investigate the situation further and take further action.
Domestic violence doesn’t just affect couples, it affects entire families. If you need the assistance of a Seattle domestic violence attorney, call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550. We’re standing by to help.