Will my children grow up to be abusive?
- If your children witness your partner’s abuse, you are probably concerned about what they are learning. You may worry that your son will grow up to be an abuser or that your daughter will think that abuse is ‘normal’ and marry an abusive partner. While it is true that your partner’s abuse is having a negative impact on your children, it is not true that they will live in abusive relationships as adults.
- You may consider leaving. Attempting to limit the children’s exposure to abuse is a way to minimize the negative impact your partner is having on them.
- Consider nurturing relationships with other people who are positive role models for your children. Do you know men who treat others in respectful, loving ways? Perhaps your children have a grandfather, uncle or family friend who could spend time with your children? Hopefully teachers and coaches will also serve as good role models. We realize your partner may try to sabotage efforts to provide your children with good role models and isolate you and your children from people outside your home.
- Talk to your children about abusive and respectful behaviour. As much as possible, teach your children the vocabulary necessary to describe what is acceptable and appropriate versus disrespectful and abusive.
Remember, people who are raised in homes with an abusive dad can still choos to live in a different way as adults. Recent research suggests that living with a mother who has protected them from harm, even if they have seen and heard the abuse, will protect children from long-term effects of abuse. You can do a number of things to help your children learn about respectful relationships.