Discipling Children After Domestic Violence

I have been thinking how Christians who have gone through domestic violence are handling their children’s spiritual lives🤔.

Are we still able to sell our God to them?

I am not a very patient mother but my daughter has given me no option. So I have had to enjoy engaging them in devotions. Like talking about joy for a whole 20mins and having to sing “the joy of the Lord is my strength….” packaged with facial expressions boosted with a whole dance !🤗🤗🤗 .The things mothers do.

The best lesson I ever enjoyed teaching my children was the “Fruits of the Holy spirit” This one we did for a whole 3 months. Ella has a way of questioning everything, creating allegories and stretching it all. One night when learning about peace, some motorbike guys were creating chaos along the road. Then she says “mummy Hawa watu wa motorbike are fighting and making noise because they don’t have peace”😊. Kael negated. He believes in giving people 1000 chances before having a conclusion on them. But his sister was adamant, her opinion on those guys was right. I had to wait for each to explain their own perception of peace as the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

So how do we still display our Jesus to our children after they’ve witnessed domestic violence in our homes?

Honestly, I didn’t know. Currently am learning.

I struggled to even pray in their hearing.

I was ashamed of the Jesus we had displayed to them as their parents. We distorted their perception of God, about love…

Most nights I’d tell them “Go to bed now, I love you, I’ll pray for you later” It was confusing to keep buzzing about Jesus around them.

I didn’t engage them in devotions for quite along time. Because how would I even teach them about the fruits of the Holy Spirit?

One night they both ganged up and asked me why I forgot about love as the fruit of the Holy Spirit because I couldn’t forgive daddy and get back together as a family! They cornered me; I wasn’t ready for such discussion. I mumbled some things that I don’t remember.

I went complaining to our leader for the Holistic Healing well group on how am struggling to pray together with my children and even read the word.

So she gave me this statement ” Tell them, if their dear friend that they love so much keeps hurting them even after forgiving them several times, how are they supposed to treat that friend? Will they keep playing with them because they love them? Even if they love them, they’re to cut associations with them so that they protect themselves from being hurt and let that friend make a choice of mending their ways or not. “And so I went giving my babies that analogy. And there have been peace, once in a while they throw statements like “mummy anaogopa daddy”😊 but I don’t say a thing.

Engaging children spiritually may be quite hard if the parents were religious. I came to learn I was a very religious Christian.

Telling the children how it is a sin to be angry and it’s good to accommodate everyone. Then the children influenced by domestic violence would be frothing from inside and when they explode it’s a disaster.

There are life circumstances that open one to the awareness of the truth of who God is and what His words says and same circumstances may give one a very bad perception of God irregardless of how long one has been in church. Domestic violence is one of them. It’s quite sad if children are involved.

I have learnt to teach my children about anger, forgiveness and even love. I have had to let them know that being angry is ok, crying is ok, saying am hurting is ok. Upholding another’s pain while demeaning their own is being selfish to themselves. God is a father and a father doesn’t only have one side. I used to get so irritated when my daughter would throw tantrums and cry for ages, today I remind her to cry if she feels hurt and then talk about it. My son is still learning how to say “I’m feeling hurt by what you say to me ” Recently I engaged him into speaking up when he’s hurt and for the first time he made my heart skip kidogo, he said “mummy I feel hurt when you don’t believe me, you keep thinking am lying yet am telling the truth” 😯😯😯

I wanted it and I got it.

I have learnt to seek their forgiveness and even say I was wrong, it has helped me address our humanness first before we engage into our spiritual lives.

I have been thinking on asking their opinions currently about God. It scares me though.

You see after domestic violence, the kids are watching the two parents, so confused, torn between daddy’s God and mummy’s God. Some never want to be associated with either, some will pretend but only for some time. My son on Some Sundays in 2021 blatantly said “Am not going to church today” I learnt to respect and ask why later without a pinch of anger and feeling of a failed parenting. The days he wake up and says “am not going with daddy or mummy” I say it’s ok. Our God is not a dictator.  Domestic abuse have given me character development when it comes to motherhood..Wueeh

Before you spit your judgment on how the children from abusive homes are behaving, be yee warned. It is not easy. It is a walk of love and grace. Alot of times I have hidden and cried because of a feeling of being defeated because the whole 3 of us would be projecting our anger in different ways and at such times I may fail to be the adult.

Preaching Jesus to the children after domestic abuse more so if they witnessed it, is very hard.

To make it a little easier, I have decided to allow all of us to learn together, express our feelings about God together. Applaud their opinions about the things of God together.

And finally be exposed to the truths of God having walked through the journey of reintroduction.

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