Child abuse is something that makes me absolutely furious. I just don’t understand how an adult can hurt a child. My best friend grew up in a very abusive home and has tried hard to give her children the best childhood ever. Working with kids, I’ve seen my share of child abuse cases. 8 signs of child abuse are listed below and remember that abuse is obvious not only with children, but with the adult involved as well.
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I know not all families are as close as mine, but most parents will at least hold their child’s hand for safety or give some sort of farewell sign; a pat on the head, a light rub on the back or shoulder. When I was in preschool, I would see parents arrive with their kids walking 10 to 20 feet behind them. As soon as the child was inside the door, the parent was gone. No hugs or kisses goodbye and not even one word was spoken. The little kids always seemed so sad too.
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I’ve worked in the school system in the past and seen some kids come to school completely filthy. I’m not talking the kinds of dirt that happens when kids get ornery and start playing around at the bus stop. I mean days and day’s worth of grime. I remember this one little kid that would arrive on Monday morning with the same clothes he had on when he left school on Friday. I understand that kids have their favorite outfits and sometimes the family can only afford a few outfits at a time, but the clothes on this kid were completely grimy. There were stains from Friday’s lunch, as well as from whatever he’d done outside over the weekend. His hands and face were also coated with layers of dirt and food. It sometimes took a good half an hour to get him cleaned up on Monday morning.
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When kids enter school, they are tested for learning disabilities at an early age. If testing has been completed and there wasn’t a physical or psychological barrier of any sort found, then learning problems can sometimes be attributed to child abuse. This isn’t always the case, but it must be ruled out before it is dismissed. Testing from outside sources are often brought in before a child abuse investigation is started, just to make sure that there isn’t some type of physical or psychological issue being overlooked.
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Most teachers notice this sign fairly quickly. When grades or attitude begin to decline, most adults around the child wonder why and take even more notice. Questions are asked and genuine concern is shown as to why this sudden drop has occurred. Sometimes there are other family issues are going on. I can recall one situation where a child began acting out in class and didn’t want to do any of her work. She was normally a well-behaved straight A student. After about a week, staff at the school finally found out her house had burned down, but the family didn’t want anyone to know.
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I know that kids often have so much fun playing with their friends that they state they don’t want to go home yet, but it’s also the way they say it that matters. I worked in an after-school program many years ago where there were a couple of kids that were very adamant about not wanting to go home. They would actually get tears in their eyes and stop playing when they heard it was almost time to leave. For the kids who lived outside of town, a bussing service was available. These two little kids would actually hide in the bathrooms when it was time to leave. After this happened a few times, authorities looked into the situation and the kids were eventually removed from their home.
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Parents are supposed to be caregivers to their children. I never understood how little kids could come to school with blood dripping down their arm and no one at home noticing. I know that rough housing does happen at the bus stop and on the school bus. It’s a different story when kids claim they got injured at home and no one did anything about it. Some parents just don’t seem to care what happens to their kids. This is considered abuse when a child is suffering on a daily basis from lack of care.
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There are observant children and then there are kids who seem to be waiting for a terrible event to happen. I’ve actually only seen this sign once in my lifetime. This one little boy would react this way whenever an adult walked nearby. He would stop what he was doing and stare out of the corner of his eye at the adult coming nearer. It’s almost as if he’d hold his breath. This was a little kid who was involved in a case of sever child abuse. Surprisingly, he’s grown up to be one well-adjusted young man and is doing fantastic in high school.
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Sometimes there is a fine line between passive and just plain quiet. I’ve known many kids who’ve kept to themselves and barely interacted with other children. They came from very loving homes and were just naturally like this. When a child becomes so withdrawn that he is in his own little world most of the time, then it might be time to speculate if child abuse is to blame. Most of the time, children not only become withdrawn, but they tend to flinch at sudden hand movements or a raised voice.
If you notice any of the above 8 signs of child abuse, then it’s your job to notify the proper authorities. There is a rule that says you won’t be named and think of the child or children you will be helping. Have you observed any of these signs of child abuse recently? What did you do? Please pass on these signs to those around you.
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