Dear Adults–These Are Possible Signs of Child Abuse

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Dear Parents,

I’d like to share with you some signs of early child abuse. Some can be signs of sexual abuse. All require your immediate attention and the attention of a medical professional, including a child psychologist.

Do you have two or more children? Is one bullying another to the point that the bullied sibling is afraid, or even has injuries? Are there multiple bullies? Does this go on regularly in your household? Do you think that the bullied sibling just needs to “toughen up?”

You’re wrong.

You are raising bullies and a victim. The victimized child can be the oldest. Age doesn’t matter. Let me guess . . . one child is an introvert and the bully is “normal.” Ignoring the bullying and expecting your introverted child to fight back is, well, perverse, and enabling the abuse. The abuse may end when your kids grow up and separate, or it may end in an ER with you explaining to a social worker why one of your children has so many injuries.

Do you have a young daughter who has repeated bladder infections? Have you eliminated bubble bath and scented laundry soaps? Do you take your daughter to the pediatrician every couple of months for a bladder infection? Does your child avoid your partner, lock the bathroom door, do you find your partner coming out of your child’s room late at night? WAKE UP. I don’t care how many younger children you have to mind. MIND YOUR FIRST CHILD. Talk to your pediatrician about unusual childhood infections.

Do you have an older teen dating and a younger teen who seems uncomfortable around their partner? Is there a lot of “horseplay” that your younger teen . . . or child . . . seems to dislike? Why in the world would an 18-year-old be touching, hugging, kissing your younger child, maneuvering them into “private” situations?

You need to sit down and talk to your children, separately. “But Older Child will be upset” is not an excuse. IT’S THE PROBLEM. “But my partner would leave me and then how would I pay the bills?” YOU’LL FIGURE SOMETHING OUT.

Nothing is worse the immediate and lifelong effects of child abuse. You can get help for your abusive child. You can separate a child from an abusive partner. YOU can separate from an abusive partner.

Or you can curse your child to a lifetime of physical, mental, and emotional pain, addiction, self-harm, and repetition of the abusive childhood.

For God’s sake, think about someone besides yourself.

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