The Impact Of Domestic Violence On Preschoolers

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The Impact of Domestic Violence on Preschoolers Amy Zaroor Psychology 331 Dr. Watkins 7 December, 2009 Abstract Witnessing domestic violence has a negative effect on the development of preschool children. There is a discrepancy between exposed and non-exposed children in cognitive ability as well as externalizing and internalizing behavior problems. When a child witnesses this violence, their trust is broken and they often show symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. There is a chance for children to show resilience in the face of witnessing this violence. Positive parenting, re-establishing trust, and being attuned to children’s emotions can play a big role in diminishing the harmful effects of this trauma. The parent-child relationship must be focused on in order to help a child come through this disturbance. The Impact of Domestic Violence on Preschoolers It is a sad fact that 30-43% of children in the United States have witnessed some form of physical violence between their parents. This violence can have a profound effect on preschoolers development cognitively and emotionally. Studies suggest that younger children may be more vulnerable to the effects of witnessing domestic violence than older children (Johnson and Lieberman, 2007) so it is very disturbing to recognize that young children are more likely to witness incidents of violence than older children (Ybarra, Wilkens, & Lieberman, 2007). Witnessing these acts of violence has a detrimental effect on the cognitive development as well as emotion regulation and internalizing and externalizing behaviors in preschoolers (Lieberman, 2007; Ybarra, Wilkens, & Lieberman). Studies show that dysfunctional development can be deterred through a positive relationship with mother and child, and that resilience is possible if a nurturing relationship exists in which the mother is attuned to her
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