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Effects of Homelessness on Mothers and Children

Impacts of homelessness and living in shelters are diverse depending on the cause of that situation to survivors. Shelters are mostly formed of individuals who have suffered from some kind of domestic violence. Domestic violence has become very common in the current world, hence leading to the need for creating more shelters and care programs. The research indicates that survivors of domestic violence need more care and medical attention to ensure that the effects of violence do not transcend to long term or generational problems. Homecare programs run by governments or charitable organizations have a mandate to ensure that these victims live in a better environment, conducive enough to achieve developmental changes necessary for growth.

Reasons for Domestic Violence on Women and Children

Domestic violence is not gender-based, but on most occasions, mothers and children are usually affected by these occurrences. This is due to the fact that women are likely to suffer from their male counterparts’ actions more than men from the hands of women. However, the fact that men can also be victims of domestic violence in one way or the other, either in the hands of their female counterparts or other men is not disputable. Children are known to suffer most in these situations in many ways, considering their level of understanding things and their emotional stand at dealing with confusing conditions.

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A child’s level of domestic involvement determines the impacts they undergo and the levels of adjustments to the normal life they will need. The two different levels of child involvement to domestic violence include first-hand witness or experience and second-hand witness. First-hand witnessing is when a child witnesses directly as somebody in their family suffers from rape, beating, or even death. Children with such firsthand experience need more counseling and adjustments to fit in the real world situation. Again, children themselves suffer violence meant for the other person, probably a mother. These two experiences of domestic violence have similar implications on children’s’ development ability as well as the power to lead a normal life.

Second-hand witness, on the other hand, is when a child overhears arguments, quarrels fight between their parents, or sees the aftermath of the violence such as bruises, death, or mental health problems. This category of domestic violence needs different care from the one mentioned above in order to help kids to cope with life and grow up mentally healthy. Without understanding this clear difference between survivors of domestic violence, especially children, it is hard for any support program to reach maximum results with their clients. Consequently, the current paper purposely points out some of the issues that affect children staying in orphanages, as well as the parenting ability of mothers who have experienced domestic violence. The current paper also gives consequences of poor parenting, resulting from domestic violence and how that can be handled efficiently in support program centers and shelters.

Mothers with domestic violence past have many problems rising up their children as compared to other mothers. This is because domestic problems have a significant effect on mothers themselves concerning their maternal ability. One common problem with mothers in shelters is the fact that they have to build stress from their experiences, which on most occasions is concealed from the rest of the world. This kind of stress manifests itself on children and the way a mother manages the life of her little ones. The imbalance in emotions and mental capacity of a mother affects her relationship with kids in that, she is not in a position to offer love to her kids since in her world love matters arouse a painful memory.

Effect of Love to Children

Without child-parent love, it is hard for children to establish any bond with their parents, something that is ideal for their future development in terms of behavioral and other relationships with the rest of the world. Children who are in a close relationship with their mothers, especially the girls, are bound to have better moral standards, as compared to those who have strained relationships with their mothers. As a result of this difficult relationship between mothers and their children, kids opt to look for emotional support from other places and oftentimes might find it in drugs, having multiple sex partners and other criminal activities. Thus, domestic violence and homelessness become a generational pattern that affects many lives.

Effect of Mental/ Emotional Stability

Maternal stress and depression is another possible problem faced by mothers in shelter programs. Mothers translate this kind of behavior directly or indirectly to their young ones. For instance, a stressed up mom will always raise concerns for her children, regardless of their ages. Children have higher abilities to sense issues with adults even when their minds cannot relate quite clearly to the real problem. Additionally, mothers are usually the first people that children get in contact with and that makes their relationship a close one, hence enabling children to sense stress and distraction with their mothers.

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As mentioned above, children are bound to look for emotional support elsewhere in case their mothers are not able to offer them such support. Stress and depression if harbored for so long in a mother’s life result in post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, and anxiety. A mother with her children feels like they are not worthy of anything good, therefore, she might choose to neglect her children with the belief that they are bound to turn out just like her, hence no need for efforts to make their lives better.

Consequently, children may translate this kind of behavior in their own lives, especially those that had firsthand experience with domestic violence and start living recklessly. In most cases, mothers implant this psychic behavior to their children through words. This is because children, as much as they are important to a mother, remind her of painful memories with possibly her abusive partner or a poor family relationship that resulted in her being placed in a shelter.

Effects on the Security of the Mother and the Child

Children in shelters grow up with the fear of adults and, especially, the closest adults to them who in this case are their mothers. Due to the instabilities mentioned earlier, a mother might become violent to her own children because this is the usual way for her to solve problems. Most of these mothers are brutal to their children, just as they were brutally handled by their counterparts. It can be a purely psychological problem or payback to a father in cases where their sexual partners who happen to be a father to children assault women. That creates fear of life to children, something that hinders their normal development transition values such as building trust. It is difficult for a child to develop trust towards people if he/ she has never experienced it at home.

Children who went through domestic violence will always treat every other person as an enemy, especially those individuals trying to pull themselves closer to them for one reason or another. Due to that, many of these children are more easily convinced to become terrorists or members of illegal organizations, mostly because renowned terrorists prefer working with people suffering from an inferiority complex. These children join illegal courses with the hope of getting a better payback on life and in pursuit of hope and peace. Others turn to drug use simply because their mothers do not really care about what they do with their lives or mothers are drug abusers too and cannot prevent children from doing it.

Involvement in Substance Abuse

Research indicates that most women in shelters have a problem with substance abuse, either had it in the past or still do. Drug addicts, even men, tend to neglect their families on most occasions. Therefore, a drug-addicted mother will in no way fulfill the duties of her family, as well as a mother who is not involved with substance abuse. The use of drugs clouds judgment and puts an individual in a compromising situation when it comes to decision making. That is a very dangerous move for a mother in terms of her parenting ability.

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Raising the Child

Parenting is all about making decisions, weighing out options on what is good or bad for ones’ children at a particular stage in life. Without that clear judgment, children tend to suffer in the hands of other people, those who can make decisions clearly not in favor of children but in their favor. Additionally, stress and depression make mothers lose the ability to exercise control and develop authority. The kind of control a mother is supposed to exercise on her children is quite different for the one exercised on prisoners in police custody.

For domestic violence survivors, it becomes hard to exercise the right authority over children, which mostly results in rebellion and poor behavioral developments. On the other hand, a mother can become too reluctant to even bother with what her children are engaged in which is a more dangerous path. Other than disobedience, children end up becoming victims of all kinds of abuse, including sex, just because they are used to living in a world free from rules and regulations.

According to national laws in many nations, the custody of children below the age of eighteen is given to a mother. As a result, most of these children grow up with single parents who are their full responsibilities, although at times some fathers still maintain contact with their separated families. This can be good or bad for children, depending on how well they can handle the situation.

A father can try to turn children against their mother or vice versa which puts kids in a more confusing situation, as they are used to hurt each other in many ways. Children in such a situation are more delicate than the rest in the shelters because instead of undergoing the healing process, they continue being victims of domestic violence and in turn lose hope in life. Mothers in that situation too require more counseling and mental care to ensure their safety as well as adaptation ability to normal life that is free from bitterness.

Effect on Family Savings

Additionally, mothers who have shelter experience have issues saving money for their families. This is because too much dependence on support programs has adverse impacts on them in terms of responsibilities and other issues. Most of the support programs provide most of the basic needs of mothers, therefore, robbing them of the chance to practice being the source of everything in their lives. Mothers in these centers need to be educated on their responsibilities, starting with medical bills for their family, which is essential for the healing process and the normal development of children. Learning their responsibilities early will enable them to learn how to save for their families once they are out of the shelter.


There are many issues that affect children whose mothers have a shelter experience but these negative impacts can be resolved with the right knowledge and information. Support programs have been doing a great job to help survivors of domestic violence but times are advancing and so are the needs of these victims; therefore, there is a need for improvement in the strategies used to help shelter clients. As proven in this paper, children are most affected in these situations; therefore, there is a need to create a program that deals exclusively with children whose mothers are benefactors of a support program or survivors of domestic violence.