Potty/Toilet Training Information Sheet Page 1 of 3 Revised 2/14/2008

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1 Potty/Toilet Training Information Sheet Page 1 of 3 Revised 2/14/2008 CHILD DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION & TIPS SHEET: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Disclaimer: The following information was compiled for First 5 LA Parent Helpline from reliable sources. It is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. The information does not cover everything related to the topic and may not apply to all individuals. WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE? Domestic violence is abuse by a caregiver, parent, spouse or an intimate partner. It can take many forms: Physical abuse is the use of physical force, and includes acts like hitting, biting, kicking, punching, throwing, restraining. Sexual abuse means any forced sexual activity or sexual exposure. Emotional abuse includes name calling, threats, constant criticism and put-downs. Psychological abuse includes threats to harm the victim or loved ones, forced isolation of the victim from friends and families, extreme jealousy, damaging property, or harassment at work or school. Controlling access to money and controlling activities (when, where, and with whom the victim can go out) are other abusive behaviors. Abuse often follows a cycle of violence. Tension builds, the person becomes violent, and then there is a honeymoon phase as the person tries to woo back their partner or make up for the abuse by being loving and gentle again. The violence begins again later, and often, gets worse each time. Other facts about domestic violence: Violence against a partner or a child is a crime in all states. Abuse happens to people of all races, ages, incomes, education levels and religions. Abuse happens to both women and men, married or not. People who are hurt by their partners, parents or guardians do not cause the abuse. Alcohol and drugs do not cause abuse, although they can make the violence worse. Abuse can begin, continue and sometimes increase during pregnancy. (See next section on domestic violence and pregnancy). DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DURING PREGNANCY Pregnancy can cause stress in any relationship and it is a common trigger of domestic violence. A partner who was abusive before may initially seem happy about a pregnancy and begin acting in caring ways. However, this partner can turn violent again later in the pregnancy or after the baby is born, as child abuse often follows from partner abuse. Domestic violence during pregnancy is associated with increased complications for the pregnancy, such as an increased risk of miscarriage, low birth weight babies, injury to the baby or even death. Violence in the home can significantly affect the health and development of infants, as children exposed to violence may not develop the bonds to their caretakers that are critical to their development.

2 Potty/Toilet Training Information Sheet Page 2 of 3 Revised 2/14/2008 THE EFFECTS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN Domestic violence affects every member of the family, including children. Even when parents believe that they are hiding the violence from their children, most children are aware of the violence and live in fear. Children who see and hear violence in the home are more likely to develop social, emotional, physical, cognitive (intellectual) and/or behavioral problems than those who are not exposed to violence. The trauma they experience can affect their development and can continue into adulthood. Children who witness violence between their parents or caretakers are at higher risk for becoming violent themselves or entering into a violent relationship when they grow up. These children are also more likely to have serious and dangerous behaviors when they are teenagers and young adults, such as alcohol and drug abuse, gang involvement, or school drop out. Below is a list of reactions that often occur when children have been a victim of or witnessed violence in their home. These reactions can occur in children of all ages, and do not always mean that the child is suffering from the effects of violence. However, if you observe more than one or two of the reactions below, and they last more than just a short time, contact your child s doctor or health care professional to discuss your concerns. In addition, see other sections below on how to help your child if violence is occurring in your home. Emotional Frequently sad, depressed, irritable or moody. Frequent bouts of anger. Having many fears, especially of being alone or abandoned. Frequently nervous, anxious, or jumpy (easily startled). Feeling helpless and powerless. Low self-esteem; not feeling good or loved. Behavioral Tantrums, acting out, being aggressive toward caretakers, siblings, or peers. Withdrawing or being passive. Refusing to go to school, or being clingy and dependent. Extreme separation anxiety. Care-taking: the child takes care of the parent. Seeming out of it or somewhere else, unfocused; difficulty concentrating. Difficulty sleeping (going to sleep or staying asleep), bedwetting, and nightmares. Regression in development (acts younger than actual age), and/or developmental delays. Physical Many physical complaints, such as headaches, stomachaches, diarrhea, or being frequently ill (e.g., asthma, allergies, flu). Frequent injuries. Tired, not wanting to get out of bed. Little appetite. High-risk play (doing dangerous things where the child is likely to get hurt). Self abuse (hurts self on purpose). Social Does not make or keep friends easily. Difficulty in trusting, especially adults. Child may not seem attached to either parent. Frequently being either the bully or the victim with peers.

3 Potty/Toilet Training Information Sheet Page 3 of 3 Revised 2/14/2008 WHAT CAN I DO IF MY CHILDREN OR I AM ABUSED? Domestic violence is extremely difficult to deal with as an adult, but becoming aware how much it also affects your children can help you take action to protect your children and end the cycle of violence. Here is what you can do: First and most importantly, make sure you and your children are safe. Take your children to a safe place, such as the home of a friend or a relative or an emergency shelter. If you fear that your partner is about to hurt you, call 911 or the local police immediately. The police can help if you think you can't leave home safely, or if you want to bring charges against your abuser. If possible, take house keys, money and important papers with you. Do not use drugs or alcohol at this time because you need to be alert in a crisis. The National Domestic Violence Hotline ( SAFE, or ) can provide crisis intervention, counseling, and referrals to local resources like emergency shelters. (You do not have to give your name or other identifying information when you call). If you are not in immediate danger and have time, call an emergency shelter to find out about staying there, and ask about counseling and support groups for you and your children. The staff members at emergency shelters can help you file for a court order of protection. Get the counseling and support that you and your children need. Let your healthcare provider and your children s healthcare providers know your situation. Nurses, social workers and other counseling professionals can also help you. Professional help will be important for your children, particularly if you have seen any of the behaviors listed in the previous section. The additional organizations listed below can provide information, education, assistance, and links to local resources. If you visit these websites at home, be sure to clear the memory and history files in your computer so your partner won t be able to trace what you are doing online (the first Hotline website listed below explains in detail how to do this): National Domestic Violence Hotline s Website (http://www.ndvh.org) lists questions to ask yourself about abuse, important safety planning tips, and numbers to call in each state for services. The Safety Zone: Violence Against Women Online Resources: National Sexual Assault Hotline: HOPE, or National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: HOW DO I CARE FOR MY CHILD IF THERE IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN MY HOME? The most important thing you can do to care for your children when there is domestic violence happening at home is to end their exposure to violence and make sure they are permanently safe (see resources above). Until that time, there are other things you can do to care for yourself and your children. Most likely you will not be able to do all of the following things, but doing as many as you can goes a long way toward protecting your children and showing your love and concern for them: Provide physical security in as many ways as you can: provide healthy food, shelter and appropriate clothing. Maintain a family routine. Provide consistent discipline: Ensure that rules are appropriate to age and development of the child. Be clear about limits and expectations. Use discipline to teach, not to punish.

4 Potty/Toilet Training Information Sheet Page 4 of 3 Revised 2/14/2008 Give time: Participate in your children's lives, in their activities, school, sports, special events, celebrations and friends. Be dependable. Encourage and support your children. Be affirming. Encourage children to follow their interests. Teach new skills. Let them make mistakes. Recognize improvement. Give affection: express verbal and physical affection. Be affectionate when your children are physically or emotionally hurt. Care for yourself: Give yourself personal time. Keep yourself healthy. Maintain friendships if possible. Accept caring from those around you who offer it. Find other trusted adults who can spend time with your children and show them love and care. If you are the victim in an abusive relationship, it may be very hard for you to meet your children s needs until you are permanently out of danger. Finding other trusted adults to spend time with your children can be a very important way to help them. (See next section). HOW CAN OTHER ADULTS HELP? The most important buffer against the harmful effects of a child s exposure to violence is a relationship with a caring and dependable adult. Children who have witnessed or experienced violence need a safe place with an adult they can trust to begin healing. This section offers suggestions for caring adults who want to help a child who has witnessed domestic violence: Build trust. Children exposed to domestic violence need to learn that adults can be trusted. Ask the child what makes her/him feel comfortable and uncomfortable with adults. Let children know you care about them, and that you are interested in their opinions, thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Allow children to have their own feelings, allow for privacy if they don t want to share, and respect their feelings (including their positive feelings) for the abuser. Talk and act so children feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves. Be gentle. Listen to children and tell them often that you care. Use books, art, music, drama, and play to help children express themselves. Connect children to professional counselors, as needed. Connect children to organizations in the community that work with youth, as appropriate. Help children develop age-appropriate and realistic safety plans (see below).

5 Potty/Toilet Training Information Sheet Page 5 of 3 Revised 2/14/2008 SAFETY PLAN A child s safety plan answers the question: What can I do to be as safe as possible when violence is happening in my home? For very young children, this may mean going to (or under) their bed or crib when violence is occurring. For slightly older children, it may mean going to the neighbor upstairs who is usually home and welcomes them in. A parent or caring adult can plan and rehearse some basic safety precautions with even young children to help them feel less powerless (and be in less physical and emotional danger) when violence does occur. See this website (www.acadv.org/childplan.html) for a printable sample safety plan including these questions: When I get scared I can think about. When I get scared I can go to. When I am feeling sad or afraid I can talk to. These are the safe exits from my house. In an emergency I can.

6 Potty/Toilet Training Information Sheet Page 6 of 3 Revised 2/14/2008 SOURCES The following reliable sources were used in the creation of this tip sheet. Use of these resources by 211 LA County and by First Five LA does not constitute a recommendation. Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence (n.d.). The Effects of DV on Children; and A Child s Own Safety Plan. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence web site: Familydoctor.org editorial staff (February 2008). Domestic Violence: Protecting Yourself and Your Children. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from American Academy of Family Physicians web site: Family Violence Prevention Fund (n.d.). The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from Family Violence Prevention Fund web site: Family Violence Prevention Fund (n.d.). The Facts on Children and Domestic Violence. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from Family Violence Prevention Fund web site: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (n.d.) Children and Domestic Violence. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence web site: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (n.d.) Psychological Abuse. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence web site: The Future of Children (1999). Domestic Violence and Children, Executive summary. Retrieved May 7, 2008, from Future of Children web site: [CRA USE ONLY: Search Terms] Case/Care Management *Children of Battered Women/Men (PH-100) *(YJ ) Domestic Violence Support Groups *Children of Battered Women/Men (PH ) *(YJ ) Specialized Information and Referral *Domestic Violence Issues (TJ ) *(YZ-175) Domestic Violence Hotlines (RP )

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