Preschool Essay on Domestic Violence


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Preschooler's Exposure to Domestic Violence: Effects and Trauma Responses

Preschool Essay on Domestic Violence: Introduction

All over the world, preschool-aged children ranging from two to five years old are exposed to domestic violence continuously. According to estimations, 3.3 to 10 million young children experience domestic violence, generally directed at their mother (DeVoe and Smith, 2002, p. 1075). Despite their young age, these children will likely experience trauma with all its effects and consequences. As with any mental disorders and problems, trauma takes years to recognize and recover. This paper will analyze how domestic violence might affect a preschooler, respond to the trauma, and how the short and long-term consequences might be. It is easy to say that this kind of trauma will affect a child for a significant portion of his/her life, and parents should know that they must avoid it.

Body Paragraphs

First, we have to discuss how exposure to domestic violence might affect a preschooler physiologically. For example, a child might develop eating disorders and insomnia. They may suffer from continuing headaches, impairing his/her daily life. Children might even harm themselves as a result of exposure. There is a risk of having seizures, getting shaky and nervous when exposed to any domestic violence. Also, these kids are just about to go to school or kindergarten, and violence exposure this early will probably have adverse effects on their school life. Most of these children will act as they see in their home, bullying or the opposite, being a victim of bullying and thinking that it is normal. This risks their physical well-being in school. They might not even get an appropriate education; most of the women who seek help at accommodation programs are domestic violence victims; they usually take their child with them. This also affects the child physically, making him/her homeless and inadequately provided. Finally, research deducted in the US suggested that violence-exposed children are more likely to use healthcare services than those not (Campo, 2015, p. 7). It is evident that children suffer the physical effects of domestic violence.

However, the effects leading to trauma are also psychological. Seeing their caregivers as victims of violence (mostly their mothers) increases the risk of kids' traumatization (DeVoe and Smith, 2002, p. 1076). Witnessing fighting or cursing in their home makes the child feel unprotected and unsafe, naturally affecting his/her self-esteem. If exposure happens for an extended period, the child might develop behavioral problems even when there is not an act of violence. This might include the fear of expressing their emotions or aggressiveness. Studies show that behavioral disorders might also affect a child's cognitive development (Campo, 2015, p. 6). He/she will be more vulnerable to language delay. Also, lower IQ levels are highly associated with traumatic experiences (McLean, 2016, p. 6). Besides, in some cases, the child's sense of protectiveness of his/her mother might result in parental authority loss (DeVoe and Smith, 2002, p. 1089). This lack of authority creates the risk of a lack of sufficient parental guidance when it matters the most in the pre-school era. Parents should hastily react and respond to these physiological and psychological trauma-indicator behaviors as soon as they are evident.

There are different steps to take when alleviating the impact of the trauma. One of the first steps is that the parents should be conscientious not to make him/her re-live that experience after recognizing the child's trauma. Secondly, to avoid further physical and psychological harm and achieve cognitive development, parents should provide the child with a happy home, school, and social environment (McLean, 2016, p. 9). Parents should also go to therapy with the child to get professional help; accurate interventions help both the child and his/her parents to recover from a traumatic experience. Right now, to reduce the impact of trauma, the best option seems to be the Trauma-Focused CBT approach (McLean, 2016, p. 10). Providing loving and respectful is crucial as they might lower the symptoms discussed earlier. Also, a domestic violence victim's mother said that she played with her preschool-aged child, told him that he is safe now and that exposure will not ever happen again in the process of alleviating the impacts of the violence (Devoe and Smith, 2002, p. 1090). These pieces of advice might be enough to recover or at least decrease the effects. However, there will be short and long-term consequences of the trauma.

The first example will be the difficulty in the child's normal functioning to start with the short-term consequences. As children learn the most in the pre-school era how to act in different environments, the trauma will hinder this ability. This means that the child might have difficulty communicating with peers or parents (DeVoe and Smith, 2002, p. 1076). Lack of communication with their friends might make them feel alone, alienated, or and left-off for a specific time. Also, the trauma affects the child's academic outcome negatively in the short-term as they won't be able to focus on their lessons. These are all serious hazards, but the most important consequences will be long-term.

The first and the foremost long-term effect is, of course, the risk of PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). If the child was exposed to domestic violence during his/her pre-school age, the trauma could rouse itself when triggered by something in later life. Physical long-term effects of PTSD also include lesser brain activation when doing a memory task (McLean, 2016, p. 6). Plus, the child might develop stress hormone dysregulation; his/her stress response system might be either chronically over-activated or under-responsive, according to studies (McLean, 2016, p. 5). Aside from PTSD, the child might suffer from speaking disorders if it first happens at the exposure time. This is hard to overcome as language develops the most in the 2–5-year-old range.

Moreover, the child might not find themselves in a healthy romantic relationship further in life because of the fear of or the tendency to domestic violence. Not just romantic relationships, though, when they saw something that will make them remember the violence in their friendships, they might want to be alone rather than recalling the trauma of their early age. Also, social relationship failures may result in self-harm, self-hate, lack of identity, or lack of valuation. Last but not least, depression and anxiety will likely be a significant part of his/her life if the person is exposed to domestic violence. Traumas can relapse with stimuli, and traumas cause depression, which is also a long-term mental disorder and can recur. People exposed to domestic violence in their childhood will conceivably have to use antidepressants for a long time to overcome their trauma. It is known that these pills are addictive, meaning that an event that happened in the first stage of their life might impact their way of living and all-around abilities for life.

Preschool Essay: Conclusion

After all, even if it's not directed at them, preschool-aged kids suffer and are affected by domestic violence exposure worldwide. It is the exact time of their life to develop physically and psychologically. Domestic violence exposure hinders them both. It harms them in school and prevents them from communicating with their peers or elders. It also increases the risk of trauma. There are some methods and treatments to reduce the effects of the trauma in the early stages. They can be helpful as they alleviate the symptoms. Most likely, no matter what, there will be short and long-term consequences affecting the child even when he/she grows up. For all the reasons discussed, it is evident that this type of trauma will impact a child for a remarkable period, and parents should avoid domestic violence for their child's sake.


Campo, M. (2015b, December 8). Children’s exposure to domestic and family violence. Child Family Community Australia.

Devoe, E. R., & Smith, E. L. (2002, October). (PDF) The Impact of Domestic Violence on Urban Preschool ChildrenBattered Mothers’ Perspectives. ResearchGate.

McLean, S. (2016, June 21). The effect of trauma on the brain development of children. Child Family Community Australia.

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