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Interparental Violence—Effects on Children

Effects On Parent-child Relationships

Parental well-being and parenting practices could constitute protective factors for exposed children. E. Mark Cummings and Patrick Davies (1996) speculate that the negative effects of parental conflict result from challenges to children's sense of emotional security. These seem likely in violent families, because poverty, emotional distress, parenting stress, and negative life events are generally greater for battered than nonbattered mothers (e.g., Holden et al. 1998). Battered mothers report being less emotionally available to their children than do nonbattered mothers (Holden et al. 1998). However, battered mothers do not report greater corporal punishment, but are less proactive in avoiding power struggles (Holden et al. 1998). Battered mothers do report being less consistent in their discipline (Holden and Ritchie 1991), and endorse a mixture of parenting practices that are internally inconsistent (Rossman and Rea 2001), likely being impacted by their partner's violence. Nonetheless, observations of battered mothers' warmth and authority-control were predictive of children's prosocial behaviors (Levendosky and Graham-Bermann 2000), suggesting that warmth and consistency in parenting may act as a protective factor for children.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaPregnancy & ParenthoodInterparental Violence—Effects on Children - The Impact Of Exposure, Effects On Parent-child Relationships, Longer-term Effects, Cultural Diversity