When Your Child is Violent
Domestic violence affects children. When children are raised in a home that normalizes violent behavior, these children are at risk to develop violent habits as well. If a child or adolescent acts out through violent behaviors, a custodial parent might need to enlist the support of the legal system in order to protect those living with the violent child.
Steps a parent can take to mitigate violence in children:
- Intervene early – If a young child exhibits the trifecta of red-flag behaviors (bed-wetting, fire setting and cruelty to animals) seek professional mental health intervention immediately. Early and consistent therapy can help a violent child become a high-functioning, normal adult.
- Change the home environment – Studies show that exposure to violence increases violent behavior in children. Create a peaceful home environment by restricting violent TV, movies and video games, supervising play with other children and removing a violent adult from the home.
- Restrict access to weapons – If there are guns in the home, remove them. Secure hunting knives and other dangerous objects by locking out of sight.
- Address underlying issues – A violent child might be reacting to a frustrating or unhealthy situation at home, in school or with others. Make every effort to determine if the child is suffering from an undiagnosed learning disability, being abused by a friend or relative, using narcotics or expressing confusion over parent’s divorce, abandonment, imprisonment or another significant life change.
Social service agencies do not like to remove children from their homes, but there are times when this becomes necessary. Parents might need to consider placing a child in respite care – a temporary foster home – for a period. If you have exhausted your options and your child continues to display violent behavior, consult with a domestic violence attorney. Call the Buffalo, NY Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis and Associates at 716.886.9600 or contact us online.