At least one in four children has been sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday. This is unacceptable, yet many parents don't know what to look for or how to handle the subject. Most children are molested by someone known to the parents or related to the family. Yet, most children are unable to tell anyone they are being abused and less than three percent of child molesters are ever caught and prosecuted.
Here are some of the most common signs that a child is being abused. Please note that some children may not show any of these signs and you have to trust your instinct.
- Reverting to younger behaviors. Some abused children will start bedwetting, sucking their thumbs, develop an intense fear of strangers or the dark and even experience memory problems as they try to block out the experience.
- Unexplained bruises and injuries. Some children are physically abused as well as sexually abused. If you are given wild or unbelievable explanations for their injuries, be suspicious!
- Changes in their behavior. The child may become aggressive towards others, become depressed, quiet and withdrawn.
- Changes in the way the child sleeps. Abused children typically have frequent and disturbing nightmares and may be afraid to go to sleep.
- School performance suffers. Most abused children have a hard time concentrating and may have excessive absences due to the abuser trying to hide their injuries or waiting for them to heal.
- Personal hygiene changes. Abused children will stop caring about their physical appearance and stop bathing on a regular basis. Sometimes they do this to discourage the molester from wanting to abuse them.
- Eating habits change. A child can become so anxious, stressed out or afraid about the abuse that they will not eat or eat too much.
- Become a risk taker. Children being abused may suddenly appear not to care about their physical safety or engage in activities such as drugs or joining a gang.
- Fear of a specific place. Abused children may start to be apprehensive about having to stay with particular people or not wanting to go specific places.
- Inappropriate behavior. If a child has been sexually abused, they may start to exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior or use inappropriate sexual language.
The important thing to remember in these situations is it is better to err on the side of caution, than to let a child live in an abusive situation. If your gut instinct is telling you something isn't right, take action. If you don't know what to do, talk to school officials or another authority about your suspicions. You may just save a child's life.
Remember - If you fail to plan, Plan to fail!
Until the next time...
For more child safety tips, go to https://www.childsafetytipsandprograms.com