It’s “Back to School” time; store shelves are filled with notebooks, pens and backpacks. Kids may be excited to see their friends and meet their teachers, or they may be excited to get away from their stressful home life. Children who are sullen, withdrawn or have angry outbursts at school may be reacting to problems between their parents at home. Sometimes a child’s problems at school will motivate a woman to call SHALVA for help.
“Our clients will often say that ‘he is a good father’, but a good father would never abuse the mother of his children,” says Barbara Siegel, SHALVA clinical director. “Children are the silent witnesses to the abuse, and they are dramatically affected by what they see and hear. Parents may think they hide the abuse, but kids are keenly aware of what is happening in their home.”
So how do we recognize trauma in children?
Signs in preschoolers include aggression, behavior problems, frequent bed wetting, isolating themselves from peers, feeling unsafe, suffering separation anxiety, bad dreams, self-blame, and lower verbal skills.
Grade school aged children may show aggression, frequent outbursts, bullying others, frequent bed-wetting, poor quality peer relations, emotionally withdrawn, fear, emotional responses not matching situation, and lower verbal skills and reading levels.
SHALVA is working with religious schools and school social workers to bring greater awareness of the effects of domestic abuse on the classroom and SHALVA’s free and confidential counseling services. If you would like SHALVA to do a presentation at your school, please contact Anita Pildes at apildes[email protected].
SHALVA was thrilled to participate in the Chicago Center for Torah and Chesed’s Health and Safety Fair. Families had the opportunity to explore ambulances, talk with firefighters and police officers and play on slides and inflatable bounce houses. At our “Planting the Seeds for Healthy Relationships” table, SHALVA staff offered children the opportunity to plant sunflower seeds while their parents learned how to teach their children to have healthy relationships.
Securing SHALVA’s Future
SHALVA is honored to be part of the Jewish United Fund’s Create a Jewish Legacy Program. By joining our Legacy Circle, you will help Jewish survivors of domestic abuse get the support and services they need for generations to come.
Please contact Carol Ruderman, Executive Director to learn more: (773)583-4673 or email [email protected]. If you have already included a legacy gift in your will or estate plans, kindly notify SHALVA so we can thank you.