Children when small, are like sponges. They absorb everything that they see happening around them and use their limited understanding to develop notions. They are more aware than you think. Even if you are doing your best to shield them from unpleasant things, they will know it if there is turmoil in the home.
Different children may have a different response to family turmoil. They may withdraw, or they might act out. They may pretend it is not a big deal, or they may show signs of trauma, anxiety, sleep disruption, behavioral inconsistencies, social fitment issues, etc. They may have mixed feelings, both toward the aggressor and the receiver of the aggression (verbal or physical). Two children in the same house witnessing the same situation may process the situation differently. While everyone knows that aggression, mental or physical abuse or any such negative behavior has no place in a family unit, and should not be done, that would be an insufficient analysis of the situation.
Children will start believing that aggression, disrespect to women, physical abuse, etc. are OK if they see all these things being accepted in the family. While family situations may not allow for the person on the receiving side of all this behavior to protest or defend themselves (doesn’t make it right, but it does happen), children must know that it’s not OK to do or to accept these things. You need to talk to them so their sense of right-wrong is balanced.
Please share your experiences and views in the comment section below.