Violence is just plain scary. Whether it happens on a Florida street or in a school setting like the one the world witnessed in Parkland earlier this year, violence can invoke in you an overwhelming fear that is a kind of trauma all on its own.
What happens, though, when brutality moves from sidewalks to sofas and invades your home needlessly? Not unlike shootings on school campuses that endanger young lives, domestic violence imperils the tiniest little ones in some of their most vulnerable years.
What can you do if it is your children at risk in an abusive home? The National Network to End Domestic Violence offers some suggestions. It is really important for kids to know whatever brutality they may witness is not their fault, so be sure to tell them. Since children will naturally go to the defense of a parent in trouble, it is also good to assure them they do not have to protect you. Instead, create a plan for what to do if a family member or houseguest becomes violent.
The plan should include things like a code word to use with one another that signals it is time to act on the plan. Details of where the kids should go – whether to a neighbor’s house or to a safe hiding place in the home – should be in place so no one has to guess what to do. Be sure you practice the plan with your children when the abuser is not around.
Note this information should serve only to educate about domestic violence and not to provide legal advice.