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Throughout a child’s life time, they may experience or witness several negative and violent conflicts between their caregivers. This form of intimate partner violence may affect the child in different ways depending on the age and gender of the individual. When parents or legal guardians happen to be engaging in a fight that turns into an act of violence against one or both of the individuals, the children may be affected by observing, or being involved in these acts of violence in ways that may linger on throughout their lives. These experiences may traumatize a child which may cause negative reactions towards events or situations that they may find triggering due to their past experiences. They may express several symptoms of mental health issues or possibly anger and aggressive behaviours due to their past negative experiences. Whatever the violence that was experienced, a child may grow up to become like those who they grew up around or act certain ways that are reflective of the violence that was experienced (Wathen & MacMillan, 2013).
The problem to be further explored is intimate partner violence among caregivers of a child. Arguments are a natural and inevitable part of human life. However, when these arguments turn violent, this becomes a serious problem that can have long-lasting effects on a child. For instance, a child may develop mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD (Geffner et al., 2014). A child any even display aggressive behaviours and act out in inappropriate ways or at inappropriate moments (Geffner et al., 2014). That said, the effects of this particular problem may be mitigated by helping the child or children overcome the traumatic feelings that they may be experiencing, this may aid in these children having a healthier lifestyle as they grow up. As they have new life experiences outside of negativity and violence in their lives they may become healthy and positive individuals in the future (Wathen & MacMillan, 2013).
Understanding intimate partner violence may be a complex issue which can involve several factors. For instance, one cause may be due to alcoholism and drug use causing one to become violent with another individual, past traumatic experiences of individuals as well as intergenerational trauma which may be another cause or factor as to why intimate partner violence occurs. The issue of intimate partner violence may not specifically happen to any certain individual. It may happen due to reasons stemming from family issues, possibly arguments about finances, marital issues among intimate partners, or mental health issues or illnesses (Madsen & Gillespie, 2010).
Intergenerational trauma could be one factor said to contribute to intimate partner violence as trauma affects our mental health and how we behave in relationships, react to issues, or our behaviour. It may cause us to be more violent and aggressive in triggering heated situations. Individuals may have been abused and simply reflect how they were taught to solve problems. From this, I can see that we may view intimate partner violence as stemming from external causes that have an effect on how we behave in relationships and our aggression and tendencies toward violence (Madsen & Gillespie, 2010).
Children may experience traumatic events in their lives due to their parents or legal guardians having experienced negative, violent traumatizing experiences in their own lives while growing up. This may be considered intergenerational trauma. Intergenerational trauma may stem from a variety of issues or events that may have occurred in one’s life. Therefore, this trauma may carry on and be projected upon one’s children due to unresolved feelings based on the previously experienced traumatic events that occurred in the parent’s lives. Thus, resulting in violence towards spouses and children either being witnesses of the violence or directly being involved in the violence (Wathen & MacMillan,2013). The collective understanding that is being taken from this is that intimate partner violence may affect children in different ways, such as a heightened possibility of mental, social, emotional and ethical issues including feelings of anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug and alcohol use, as well as struggles in school among children and adolescents (Goddard & Bedi, 2010).
In highly traumatizing circumstances of intimate partner violence, children may be at a higher likelihood to experience greater physical, sexual or psychological harm (MacTavish et. al., 2016). The percentage of families that may be affected by intimate partner violence is at a high rate of 60-75% among families where the women are being abused. Among those 60-75% of women in abusive households, their children may be being abused as well in one form or another. Of the children who were abused, there may be a percentage who may become abusers themselves towards their own future children (Goddard & Bedi, 2010). The issue of intimate partner violence may occur among any cultures, religious background, socioeconomic status, gender and age of individuals (McTavish et. al., 2016). For example, it may cause depression, PTSD, eating problems, anxiety, aggressive behaviour which may impact the child developmentally, academically and socially. Children may also be affected in school by struggling in language skills and understanding abstract concepts (Huth-Bocks et al., 2001). Children may also have a lower reading ability and troubles with reading comprehension (Mathias et al., 1985). Children who experience intimate partner violence among their adult family members may also experience higher than normal psychological issues, although the effects of intimate partner violence may be different among everyone who has experienced these types of challenges in their lives (Skopp et al., 2005). Some children may not express symptoms of intimate partner violence as much as others may, the reactions among children may vary depending on the individual experiences of each child (Kantor and Little, 2003).
In one case there is a family with two children, one male who is 14 years old and a female who is 10 years old. The parents do not have a healthy relationship. The mother has mental illnesses and the father is quite controlling of his wife, the husband may sometimes get upset with his wife because she acts out in certain ways due to her mental illnesses, which she constantly tries to manage with skills she has learned as well as medication she takes daily for her mental illness. Her husband may say upsetting things or things that cause his wife to act out negatively towards him. From what I have been told, the children have seen fights and the wife says we should not be doing this in front of the children, which the husband replies, “no they need to see that parents do have fights.” The children seeing and hearing the fighting of their parents may be emotionally and psychologically damaging for them.
There are several things that the husband says that the wife is not allowed to do and has expectations of her which he does not always tell her what those expectations are, he may just assume that she knows them without him having to tell her. For example, the wife has her own hairdressing business in her home. Her clients vary from all ages and genders. Her husband does not allow her to cut the hair of men because he thinks she may do inappropriate things with them while they are in her home. From personal observations there seems to be major problems with trust in this relationship. Another aspect that has been observed is that when the wife is talking about things that are of interest to her, the husband does not respond in a way that shows that he cares about what his wife is talking about. The wife has expressed that she loves her husband but is not in love with him, which seems like an issue when in an intimate relationship with someone who you are married to and have been for 12 years. The husband’s attitude and outward demeanour towards his wife seems to be lacking. There may not be physical violence occurring, but it seems there may be emotional or psychological harm being done. The children in this family may be affected because they are not being shown what a healthy and loving intimate relationship looks like. The effects of this may cause negative reactions or feelings from the children now and as they grow up into adulthood.
The first relevant concept is helping through personal life stories which appears in Chapter 2 where it talks about Collaborative Helping and a Focus on Life Stories in the textbook Collaborative Helping. This concept describes how individuals may tell stories to describe how they may be feeling about a situation. They may also tell a story about themselves and indirectly how this story relates directly to themselves or possibly family members that they may be related to. They may tell stories in a narrative manner which explains the situation and what is or has been experienced by individuals without giving away the identity of those who may be involved in the situations that may be occurring (Madsen & Gillespie, 2014). Sometimes narratives can be used to explore a child’s experiences feelings and experiences of intimate partner violence within the home (Madsen & Gillespie, 2014).
The second concept is Relational Connection—The How of Helping. It is relevant to intimate partner violence because it is important to speak to all individuals who are involved in the situation and try to understand each individual’s perspective, by acknowledging their feelings in a strength-based approach one may be able to help resolve each individual’s situation within their family unit. The strength-based approach that one may take may be to not put fault on any one individual and approach each issue with talking about the issues not as blaming individuals for their actions but to ask questions to find out why certain actions occurred and then help the individual find ways to resolve the issues in a more positive way (Madsen & Gillespie, 2014).
Lastly, the third concept is Experience and Stories—The Why of Helping in the textbook Collaborative Helping which describes stories of how individuals live their every day lives. As a CYC it is important to know why situations have occurred and how to help resolve the issues so that there may be stability in the family. A CYC may gather information through what they are being told which may be able to help them find the most accurate and useful resources for each individual in the family, the CYC would help guide each individual to the resources that best fit their needs and ones that would be the most beneficial to each individual (Madsen & Gillespie, 2014).
In the case of a CYC being involved in the situation in the case study, a CYC may be there to help and support or show a healthy relationship among individual family members as needed, which may depend on the needs of everyone within the family (Madsen & Gillespie, 2014). Working with families may be a complex challenge for a CYC which also depends on the situation at hand. However, the CYC needs to develop a positive relationship with everyone involved in the situation and collaborate with the family to help them come up with a plan to improve their lives. They may also need to act as an intermediary for the family so that there may be a positive outcome within the family unit (Madsen & Gillespie, 2014).
One way in which a CYC may aid in building a relationship is listening to the narratives or unique story that every member of the household has. This is important as it aids in finding out the issues and by knowing the issues, the CYC may be able to help resolve the issues and conflicts more effectively. By using narratives, a CYC may be able to get more information from the individuals which may give the CYC a better understanding of each issue and situation. This will help intimate partner violence cases because it may give the CYC information without asking questions which may make an individual uncomfortable. As a CYC I may use a strength-based approach because it shows that there is no judgment on any individual and it may bring a more positive aspect to the conversations which helps in building a relationship with each individual (Madsen & Gillespie, 2014).
As one may see, intimate partner violence may come in several different forms and effect several individuals no matter the age, gender or socioeconomic status of a family. The effects may cause a lifetime of negative issues if one does not seek treatment or help to resolve the problems. The factors involved in intimate partner violence may be complex. However, it may still be possible to help individuals through these situations. The effects it has on children may be traumatic and cause some challenges, but with professional help and guidance one may be able to overcome these challenges and obstacles, then seeing a greater outcome and getting past their challenges that they have faced in their lives.
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