What effect does Battered Woman Syndrome have on children? An authoritative study states that children who witness domestic violence but at not battered themselves show behavioral and emotional problems similar to those experienced by physically abused children and may also suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome later. One study states that witnessing violence between parents is a more predictor of future violence than being of victim of child abuse.

The children see that this behavior is acceptable by their most important role models. Boys learn that battering is a way to influence loved ones without being exposed to more constructive alternatives. As they grow up boys tend to identify with their fathers and lose respect for their mother or feel guilty for not being able to protect her.

Domestic violence becomes a factor in custody cases. Psychological studies have demonstrated three reasons why the battered woman is more likely to be a better custodial parent than her abusive spouse:

The abuser’s violence damages the emotional health of the children
Placing the children with the abuser perpetuates the cycle of violence
The mother’s parenting skills are probably better since she was likely to have been the primary parent.

We’ve all heard about cases where the battered mother did not protect her children from abuse by the batterer. In one case the expert described Battered Woman Syndrome as “a breaking down of a woman’s self confidence and self respect to a point where she no longer knows of she is crazy or not .” BWS was used to demonstrate that the mother did not have the ability protect her child from the father’s sexual abuse.

Once outside of the abusive relationship a woman can overcome the feelings of inadequacy and helplessness that were brainwashed into her while being in an abusive relationship. Courts have granted modified of a consent decree to change custody from father to mother when the mother later was able to demonstrate that the consent decree was signed under duress, that the father battered her during the marriage and used inappropriate discipline with the children.

Even when children are not physically harmed in domestic abuse, the negative effects are complicated and long lasting.

To read more on this subject please visit: Battered Woman Syndrome

Author's Bio: 

Su Ericksen is a first degree TaeKwonDo black belt and has taught self defense workshops. She lives in the Midwest with her family and works at a large medical center in the cardiology clinic. You may contact her through her website. Self Defense-4-Women.com