6 Terrible Effects of Witnessing Domestic Violence on Kids’ School Performance

The family is the basic unit of society and the most influential circle in the life of every person. It is where a child’s firsts in life begins before he or she steps out of the world beyond home. The way kids live their lives outside is shaped by how they are raised and how they learn inside. That is why it is of great importance that they are surrounded by a family that drives them to grow up well and to live a good life. 


What everyone wants is a lovely family that will always make the home feel and look home indeed. It’s definitely a treasure to have a family you can count on both in good times and bad times. They make you proud to call them yours. They make you happy to introduce them to people.


Sad to say, that is just a dream for some children — a seemingly impossible to achieve dream for them. A lot of kids, instead of being able to write a worth-keeping childhood, are living miserable lives because of their own family. And one of the major reasons is domestic violence.  


Domestic violence encompasses a wide range of violent behavior done by the culprit towards his/her partner and/or other family members. Commonly though, the victim is the partner. Of all its types, physical violence is the most common, with the most obvious signs and outcomes. However, domestic violence can also be verbal, psychological, emotional, sexual, social and financial. Loads of unimaginable sufferings are crushing every victim, yet it cannot be denied that the witnesses are also aching. 


There are tremendous damages on children who witness domestic violence. They may not be directly battered, punched, or yelled at by the abuser, but they can be as pained as the direct victims. One of the biggest, if not the biggest, aspect that is gravely affected is the kids’ education, their interest in it and their overall academic performance. Every child has the right to proper education, and that right is tainted and robbed from them by the existence of domestic violence at home.


To enlighten you about this serious matter, to correct you if you’re a perpetrator, and to encourage you to never tolerate when you see domestic violence, here are 6 terrible effects of witnessing domestic violence on kids’ school performance. Note that these points are not generalizing all of these children but only summing up what most of them experience. 


You know how bothersome and exhausting it is when images you hate to see keep on popping inside of your head. They steal your focus and disturb your clear thinking. Children who witness domestic violence experience this. Although some kids see schooling as a benefit to temporarily run away from the home’s catastrophe, some still can’t remove the stab of pain off their heads. 


Especially if they see grave domestic violence for the first time, they’ll be in walloping shock and distress. Nonetheless, even if it’s a daily scenario that they’re already used to, the horror is the same and is constantly tormenting them. They despise the film of violence they witnessed repeating in their minds, but they can’t help but be disquieted. 


Because of that, these kids lack concentration to do what they have to do in school. Their minds are far away from school and are actually still at home as they keep thinking of the oppression that they witnessed. They are hurt to know and see that one of their parents is abused and that the other parent is the abuser. Disappointment and frustration fill their thoughts and hearts. Instead of being able to focus on their tasks, these kids get distracted by the ordeal that they didn’t even choose to see.


Depression and extreme lack of motivation in life are two of the damaging things that kids experience when they’re witnesses of violence inside the family. Because of these, many of them are deliberately going late to their classes or are totally not attending school most of the time. 


Their intended tardiness might be because they don’t want to stay in school for long; they go late, so they’ll just need to wait for dismissal. They don’t have the enthusiasm to wake up early and to prepare for school because in the first place, they’re not looking forward to a better day when they know that their house is not even peaceful. Meanwhile, it can also be because their parents harshly fight and shout at each other, so they have to be there to stop them, or unfortunately, to unwillingly witness the violence. 


Some of these kids lose their whole interest in studying because they’re very much bruised by the sight of their family’s chaos. They stay at home, lock themselves up in their rooms and skip their classes. On the other hand, some may also leave the house for school but don’t really come to school. They just use the ‘going to school’ hours to flee from their home’s jagged reality, even for a while. 


If fictional and news-reported violence are already threatening to kids’ innocent minds, imagine how more troubling real-life violence in front of their eyes could be for them. Without a doubt, it incites trauma. 


This traumatization causes anxiety to these youngsters. As an effect, they develop difficulty in trusting other people around them, including schoolmates and teachers in the learning community. Why? Because they’re scared that these strangers will hurt and wrong them, too, just like how someone in the family does. Some kids may still be young in age, but they already have the notion that if their family member can maltreat his/her family, it’s possible that these non-family individuals can bring harm to them too. It terrifies them.


They find it hard to communicate and connect with people in school. Being alone or being with one or two schoolmates they have known and trusted for a long time is what they prefer. They are reluctant to accept those who are trying to establish any kind of new relationship with them. 


Even their teachers and school advisers are not exempted. They are the ‘second parents’ in school, but then again, because their family itself displays violence through the parents, the kids are not open to trusting their educators. 


Trust issues are built around these kids because they never want to be a victim of the same violence that wrecks their family. 


Homes with domestic violence are filled with terror. They don’t feel safe and secure for anyone in the family, especially for kids. 


Discomfort and uneasiness is around when the kids know that the people in it constantly don’t have good relationships with each other, causing one to inflict pain and another to be in pain. This creates an unsettling atmosphere because of the thought that harm is just within the house. 


Kids cannot study well and cannot thoroughly accomplish take-home assignments in such an environment. With physical fights, war of words, pitiful cries and cruel attacks fencing off the home, who can?


Because zest diminishes from the lives of a lot of kids who witness domestic violence, they tend to hesitate or refuse to participate in school affairs. Some go to school half-heartedly and absent-mindedly and just for the sake of saying they go there. 


Reasons like the earlier mentioned points, which are lack of concentration and the difficulty in trusting their schoolmates and teachers, are also reasons why they don’t want to be involved in school endeavors, especially if it’s not required.


Movies and TV shows that display fighting scenes, such as punching, stabbing, gun shooting and cursing are not for kids. That is why these are parental guidance suggested or strict parental guidance rated. They are not suitable for young audiences because they’re not good examples to them. Kids are still learning about life, and if they pick up inappropriate content that isn’t carefully explained to them, they’ll learn wrong. 


The same applies when kids witness domestic violence. When they’re not enlightened about the wrongful situations they see at home, they might think that it’s fine to do the same crooked deeds. 


As a result, they’ll condone these acts and initiate their execution too. They end up becoming bullies who hurt and make other kids cry, who disrespect teachers, staff and other older adults in school, and who speak inaptly even to their own parents. 




Who young kids will be soon is guided by the principles that the family in general upholds. That’s why first and foremost, parents and other older members of the family should be good role models to them and not their bad influences. 


No family is perfect. Trials among relationships in the family may be hard but oftentimes, they keep the family stronger and closer together. There may be arguments and misunderstandings sometimes, yet at the end of the day, forgiveness, love and respect towards one another must be found. Violence, in whatever way, is never the answer. 


Domestic violence busts all the good things. It does not just ruin the family; it destroys lives. 


If you are a child reading this now, at the same time a witness of domestic violence, help your victimized parent by comforting and protecting them in whatever way you can, but beware of your safety too. Talk to him/her in private about what to do to stop the abuse. The law is with you, so encourage them to report this cruel crime to concerned authorities. If you’re big and capable enough to do it yourself, then do so, especially if that parent is quite afraid. 


Meanwhile, if you are a victim in an abusive relationship, know that you can escape that prison cell you do not deserve to be in. It may be difficult but not impossible. Especially with loved ones, various human rights institutions, family protection programs, police, legal help and lawyers willing to help, you can do it. There are psychiatrists ready to assist in your mental health needs related to domestic violence and the witness of violence. Know that you can always seek help.


Remember, your safety is for you and for your kids who also deserve to live a life worth-living. If you stand for your right, you stand for theirs too, and you teach them to always stand for what’s right.




Nicole Ann Pore is a writer, an events host, and a voice-over artist. She finds quality and well-researched writing as a worthwhile avenue to enlighten and delight others about things that matter. For her, it’s restoring and fulfilling to the heart and a great way to clear the mind while loading it up with fresh learning. Film critiquing and filmmaking are among her interests too. Giving all the glory to God, Nicole graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University-Manila, the Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.


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