What happens when a man is abusive to a wife but not his children?
A man may think his explosive temper has nothing to do with his fitness as a parent. He may in fact not be angry with the children. But anger in the home environment spreads like an oil spill.
Children suffer emotional – and often physical – harm from living in violent homes. Domestic violence is extremely relevant to parental fitness.
The sad fact is that domestic violence often indicates that the abusing parent physically or emotionally abused the child or children as well as the other parent. Additionally, those who are violent often use children as pawns to control the other parent. A violent man may also not be aware that by being angry with the children’s mother – by attempting to control and manipulate her and her behavior – he undermines her ability to be a good parent, because she is focused on him and his anger and her safety rather than her children. Courts can and should and do consider the effects of domestic violence and abusive behavior on children when determining any custody and visitation arrangements.