Effects on Children 

Children who witness resentment, anger, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, or physical violence walk on eggshells. The usual symptoms are:

  •  Depression (looks like chronic boredom with little interest in things that usually interest kids)
  •  Anxiety (worry, especially about things kids don't usually worry about)
  •  School problems
  •  Aggressiveness
  •  Hyperactivity (can't sit still)
  •  Low self-esteem (don't feel as good as other kids)
  •  Over emotionality (anger, excitability or crying) that sometimes comes out of nowhere
  •  No emotions at all

They feel:

  •  Disregarded
  •  Untrusting
  •  Powerless, inadequate, or unlovable
  •  Like burdens to their parents

Living in a household where they walk on eggshells makes a child 10 times more likely to become either an abuser or a victim of abuse. As adults, they are at increased risk of:

  • Alcoholism
  • Drug abuse
  • Criminality
  • Mental health problems
  • Poverty

Witnessing a parent victimized is usually more psychologically damaging to children than injuries from direct child abuse. Seeing a parent abused is child abuse.

The best thing you can do for your children is have a compassionate marriage. Parents model for children how to regulate their own emotions and how to participate in relationships. By watching us, they learn how to:

  •  Cheer themselves up and calm themselves down
  •  Deal with anger – use respectful negotiation instead of bickering, cold shoulders, stonewalling, etc.
  •  Be in an adult relationship

When parents stop walking on eggshells, their children develop:

  •   Resourcefulness
  •   Responsibility
  •   Respect
  •   Relationship skills
  •   Regulation of impulses and emotions

Even if your partner does not cooperate with making your marriage more compassionate, you can change your kids' lives for the better with compassionate parenting:

  • Learn from your children

    • Understand their experience of the world
    • Understand your emotional responses to them
  • Enjoy them
  • Value them
  • Empower them to come up with solutions to their problems – don't do everything for them
  • Allow them to be themselves

Unless your child's symptoms are severe, our experience has been that doing the work in the Boot Camps, as outlined in Love without Hurt, eliminates most of the symptoms. Children learn by modeling -- by watching how their parents regulate their emotions. When you are less reactive, more authentic, and more compassionate, they will be, too.

Help is available in the Love without Hurt Boot Camps and in: