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Domestic Violence and Child’s Brain Development Essay


Domestic violence is a problem for many families. It can be physical or moral, and it affects all the members of the family. If the parents are conflicting parts, they believe that small children are too young to understand anything. However, the researchers believe that even observation of domestic violence without being its direct victim has a destructive influence on a children’s brain which may have unpredictable consequences as the child is growing. The video “First Impressions: Exposure to Violence and a Child’s Developing Brain” answers some questions of the dependence of exposure to domestic violence and the development of brain structures of children.

At the beginning of the film, the image of a rollercoaster refers to the way the brain works. Although children have no conscious memory at an early age, the first strong impressions and experiences are stored in the brain. These experiences may be bright such as rollercoaster ride, or scary such as exposure to domestic violence. It is because a child’s brain is like a sponge. It absorbs the information from the environment. It explains the ability of young children to learn quickly. However, this peculiarity makes children more vulnerable to negative experiences.

The representative of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project spoke about the rides to families where domestic violence was observed. The first visit revealed the situation in which three children were neglected by their parents. Although there was no evidence of physical harm, the emotional condition of children was disastrous. A six-year-old girl was sure she was guilty of the situation. The brightest proof of parents’ neglect and continuous violence was the boy’s behavior. He was just sitting in the corner, numb and zoned out.

The children exposed to domestic violence for a long time develop specific behavior. The boy in the video was experiencing night terrors at an early age. Later he was reported to demonstrate violent outbursts. Another boy could bully his younger brother to make him cry or show destructive behavior in the classroom.

Exposure to violence in childhood may have distant consequences. Despite the fact that children seem not to understand what is going on, their brain is influenced, and it may result in deviant behavior later. For example, the children who witnessed domestic violence can demonstrate physical violence themselves. They abuse younger or smaller or more vulnerable individuals. Another development of observing violence in early childhood may be suicidal behavior.

Some things may be helpful for children who observe domestic violence. They need to see the healthy relationships of adults to have the image of a normal family. The positive experience of friends’ or neighbors’ families can have a good influence. The picture of a family that spends time together, with dinners at home, people living in love and peace create a pattern to follow in adulthood. Teachers and counselors can also be helpful. They give children the attention they need and explain to them the perspectives in life. Besides, they may provide some psychological support since often the children exposed to domestic violence have nobody to talk to.

The video mentions school as the place that makes a difference for children exposed to domestic violence. Passionate teachers cannot replace parents or their love. However, they can give attention and support which is crucial for children. The teachers have the power and instruments to make a child believe he or she is a worthy person and can reach something in life. The desire to be different from the parents can be observed in adult life among the people who experienced violence in the family. It happens when they have their own children.

The development of the brain is a complicated issue. It was interesting to learn that the earliest experiences also influence the future life of a person. The images from early childhood may remain in memory despite the fact that it is unconscious and has an impact on some perceptions or fears. I liked the comparison of the brain to a sponge and a mirror. Childs’ brain is absorbing everything it is exposed to, positive or negative. If the child is well-cared and educated, he absorbs love and knowledge. In case there is violence in the family, the child absorbs this negative experience. It is impossible to predict the exact consequences of this fact, but they are sure to be negative. Being a mirror, a child’s brain reflects the environment around it. If the child grows in a caring family, in love, and with enough attention, he or she does not cry much, is rather good in self-regulation or self-soothing. The opposite situation is when the parents conflict with each other and do not pay much attention to a child. It may cause various mental disorders and deviant behavior.

On the whole, it is worth remembering that constant stress and anxiety which are the result of conflict situations are harmful to the brain. Thus, parents should control their behavior. This way they can give their children a chance for a happy and successful life with a proper family model.

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IvyPanda. (2020, November 5). Domestic Violence and Child's Brain Development. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/domestic-violence-and-childs-brain-development/

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1. IvyPanda. "Domestic Violence and Child's Brain Development." November 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/domestic-violence-and-childs-brain-development/.


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IvyPanda. "Domestic Violence and Child's Brain Development." November 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/domestic-violence-and-childs-brain-development/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Domestic Violence and Child's Brain Development." November 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/domestic-violence-and-childs-brain-development/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Domestic Violence and Child's Brain Development'. 5 November.

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