October is not only the month we celebrate Halloween; it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Trick or treat means little to Memphis children being raised in families with domestic violence. A cruel trick of birth has placed them in home environments where they must face the effects of anger, violence, and toxic stress.

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The season for candy, costumes, and trick-or-treating is upon us! While this is a time for imagination and tradition, if you have young children this holiday, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your standard Halloween expectations in order for the littlest ones in your crew to enjoy the experience, too.

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Witnessing verbal aggression between caregivers — like threats and hostile remarks — may be just as harmful to a child as witnessing physical violence. New research tells us that witnessing verbal aggression may be just as harmful to a child’s development. In fact, it might even be more destructive. If you think a child is safe because she hasn’t witnessed physical violence, think again.

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When children grow up witnessing domestic violence, they carry a lifelong burden. This early trauma may impact their development, emotional regulation, and mental health. But one of the saddest outcomes is that children who witness domestic violence grow up to have a greater risk of living in violent relationships

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