I want to thank you for your program. It has been very helpful. I work as Parent-Child Advocate in a Crisis Center here in _____, Texas and I am a new mother of a 10-month-old little girl.
Your book covers a multitude of topics and I trust that by putting the concepts into practice we will see significant improvements. Do you have any special suggestions for single moms who have been victims of domestic violence with 7 or more children who are also victims of domestic violence and are all very angry and out of control?
It is difficult for the moms to give each child individual attention, and they many times resort to "blanketed punishments" that also punish the children who are not acting out at the time... the child who acts up the most ends up getting the attention, and even if the mom tries to actively ignore the child(ren) who are acting out and continue paying attention to those who are not, the child's behavior escalates to the point of disrupting and hurting all of the other children and "punishing" those who are not acting out, and then those children also begin acting out, and so on.
Many times the child(ren)'s relationship with mom is very damaged because she has not been able to meet their needs because of her own problems... they do not trust her; they do not respect her... She wants to change and is seeking help but does not know where to start because she is dealing extreme aggression and she has so many to deal with.
Thanks again for everything. Your program is excellent!
You have multiple issues here …I wish I had time to address them all:
1. Mother is a victim of domestic violence
2. Children who are victims of domestic violence
3. Childhood anger management issues
4. Single mothers parenting a large family
5. Lack of parenting skills
6. Parent-child trust/bonding issues
7. Mother’s personal problems
Re: Do you have any special suggestions for single moms who have been victims of domestic violence with 7 or more children who are also victims of domestic violence and are all very angry and out of control?
Survivors of domestic violence recount stories of put-downs, public humiliation, name-calling, mind games and manipulations by the abuser. Psychological scars left by emotional and verbal abuse are often more difficult to recover from than physical injuries. They often have lasting effects even after the relationship has ended. The survivor’s self-esteem is trampled in the course of being told repeatedly that she is worthless, stupid, untrustworthy, ugly or despised.
The American Psychiatric Association has identified a specific type of mental distress common to survivors of trauma called posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Common reactions to trauma include:
· Fear and anxiety — While normal responses to dangerous situations, fear and anxiety can become a permanent emotional state without professional help. Memories of the trauma can trigger intense anxiety and immobilize the survivor. Children may express their fears by becoming hyperactive, aggressive, develop phobias or revert to infantile behavior.
· Nightmares and flashbacks — Because the trauma is so shocking and different from normal everyday experiences, the mind cannot rid itself of unwanted and intrusive thoughts and images. Nightmares are especially common in children.
· Being in “danger mode” — Jitteriness, being easily startled or distracted, concentration problems, impatience and irritability are all common to being in a “heightened state of alert” and are part of one’s survival instinct. Children’s reactions tend to be expressed physically because they are less able to verbalize their feelings.
· Guilt, shame and blame — Survivors often blame themselves for allowing the abuse to occur and continue for as long as it did. Survivors feel guilty for allowing their children to be victimized. Sometimes others blame the survivors for allowing themselves to be victims. These emotions increase the survivor’s negative self-image and distrustful view of the world.
· Grief and depression — Feelings of loss, sadness and hopelessness are signs of depression. Crying spells, social withdrawal and suicidal thoughts are common when grieving over the loss and disappointment of a disastrous relationship.
To recover from domestic violence, the mother must stop blaming herself for what has happened, reconnect with people in order to build a support network, learn how to understand and express herself (with your help Jennifer), join a survivors’ support group (if you have one), and develop anger management skills so she does not repeat the cycle of abuse toward her children.