Parents...Know the Warning Signs of Abuse

@bethmt (419)
United States
March 27, 2007 5:58pm CST
Okay, a lot of us have seen the stories on television concerning child molestation and how us parents can help keep our children safe. But I don't know how many times I've seen a parent interviewed, either on a news show like 20/20 or on Oprah, etc., who've said that they would know if someone was abusing their child (or children) because they have such open and honest communication with them. I've heard parents say, "My child would always come to me if someone was abusing them or being inappropriate with them" and personally this makes me inwardly cringe. I'm not being critical of that parent at all but I know from personal experience that this is not always the case. The majority of children who are molested, are abused by either a family member or friend of the family. Pedophiles are master manipulators and will groom a child to trust them well before the actual abuse begins. They will then often tell the child such things as "this is our special secret" or "I do this to you because I love you so much". They often imply that the child will be punished or get in trouble if the "secret" is revealed. They also may say other things to frighten the child such as that their family will abandon them if the child tells anyone. Pedophiles do no want to get caught in their deplorable behavior so they'll do everything they can to make the child think it is somehow their fault. How do I know all of this? Because it happened to me for years when I was a child and I never, ever told my mom even though she and I were able to talk about so many things. To her dying day she never knew what happened, that's how engrained the threats and messages were in my mind. I'm a parent of sons and I always knew that even though we have great communication, I also needed to be aware of the possible warning signs. These signs can include: Developing frequent urinary tract infections Vague health problems such as headaches or stomach aches Regressive behavior such as thumb sucking or temper tantrums Indicating a reluctance to be with a certain person Bed wetting, nightmares, a sudden onset of behavioral problems These are just some warning signs,but it's also important to know that these signs don't ALWAYS mean that abuse is going on. They should be taken seriously though. You can go to Protect Kids.com at http://www.protectkids.com/abuse/abusesigns.htm to read more about this. Thanks for listening :)
3 people like this
4 responses
@Ravenladyj (22993)
• United States
30 Mar 07
Great thread adn yes its very important and I'd like to add to it if I may.... Parents/Caregivers also PLEASE always ALWAYS take what your child says at face value....My sister and I went to our mom when it came back to me at 13 and to this day (I'm amost 37) my mother says I'm nothing but a trouble maker and making it all up EVEN THOUGH I started "acting out and became a hard to handle child" when I was 5 yrs old which is when the abuse started.....If your child comes to you and tells you a "secret" PLEASE believe them until you can prove otherwise.....
2 people like this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
1 Apr 07
Thanks so much Ravenlady for making that good point. When children say things like that it should always be taken seriously and I'm so sorry to hear that your mother didn't listen to you and your sister.
1 person likes this
@Willowlady (10666)
• United States
28 Mar 07
I have always taught my kids no secret is a good one. Also since I homeschool there are no others to take a chance on. We would be ones to expose any we knew of also. We know people pretty well and it would be dealt with quickly. Thanks for sharing this information that just might save someone else the heart ache.
2 people like this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
28 Mar 07
Thank you for replying Willowlady
1 person likes this
@soccermom (3202)
• United States
28 Mar 07
Thanks for starting such a great discussion bethmt! Parents should be aware of the warning signs. In the case with my child there were no warning signs at all, everything was fine with her. But in hindsight there were a couple of phrases she used that definately were not normal for a 3 or 4 year old girl. You were right to point out how manipulative child predators are, most of the time they are the person you think your child would be safest with! They are not only good at manipulating kids, they are good at manipulating the childs parents too. Child predators are sick, and do anything they can to get to their "goal". Thanks again bethmt, I appreciate you providing more information to parents.
@bethmt (419)
• United States
28 Mar 07
I'm sorry to hear that this happened with your child and it's very true that there can be no warning signs at all. You also made a very good point in saying that child predators can manipulate the child's parents too; it's all so very sad. Thanks for replying soccermom.
2 people like this
@kitkat1 (1227)
• Canada
18 Apr 07
You are so right you need to keep alert to your children and know who they are around alot and try to stay on top of the types of bonds they seem too have as well. I have had what i call the talk with all my kids. I told them about what could happen and that it is not alright for no one to touch them in a way they dont want to be touched and that no matter what they told them or threatened with to come and tell me cause it is wrong and should not be done to them. I just keep stressing the fact that i am there unconditionally all to many times it does not get stopped because the child feared telling the parent because they thought they were at fault and would get into trouble. And you know i am very sorry you went through what you did it must have been so hard and probably still is cause those kind of scars run deep. I do pity help the one who every touched one of my babies because they will be sorry.
1 person likes this
@bethmt (419)
• United States
23 Apr 07
Thanks kitkat, it's good to hear that you have such a good and close relationship with your kids.
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