When there’s an immediate or abrupt change in the child’s personality – this is a sign that the abuse has just begun. Many people often over-look or dismiss a change of behavioral pattern as just ‘going through hormonal changes’ or ‘throwing a temper tantrum’ but the key word in this regard is ‘abrupt/drastic’ change in personality. For instance, your child may have been known to be consistently bubbly, joyful and outgoing but suddenly they are ‘consistently’ quiet, withdrawn and off to him or herself. The same would be true if the child was characteristically, quiet, withdrawn and shy but suddenly they are always agitated, outgoing, aggressive, temperamental and loud. Some children may even express what some may call having a ‘nasty attitude’ or being ‘smart out of the mouth’ -- these are manifestations are the intense emotional chaos occurring within the child.
If a child is being sexually abused – you can guarantee that he/she will act this out in some form or another. Behaving in a sexual and inappropriate way with another child within their age group. They may play with dolls in a sexually provocative way. Some may even witness their child or children play with pets and animals in a sexually peculiar way. All such disturbing behaviors should be viewed through the lens of potential abuse and be examined accordingly.
This sign may be a very hard pill for some to swallow but given that a great deal of sexual abuse with children occurs within family and associate circles – we must deal with this scenario as a very real and potential indicator of some type of abuse, not only or necessarily sexual however. If a child cries and pleads that she doesn’t want to be left with someone else (relative or not), you should inquire as to why? If they are not giving a solid reason or are ambiguous in their response – the child is most likely hiding the real truth, out of fear.
Although I didn’t grow up at a time when we had the world wide
web, that does not mean I am not in-tuned or intuitive enough to consider its
usage as being a tool for sexual abuse or an outlet in response to sexual abuse. This tip was added mostly due to a family friend’s
child; the child was being sexually abused by the mother’s boyfriend. A sign that lead to the aforementioned, was that the ‘prepubescent’
child was caught, sneaking onto social media to specifically watch adult sex
acts/pornographic material. I surmise that this behavior trait was
acquired from the abuser exposing porn to the child to stimulate, allure and
acclimatize the child to the abuse.
Although nightmares and night-terrors are not uncommon amongst children - we should pay particular attention to children who are having ‘ongoing’ situations in this regard. A parent or guardian may want to encourage the child to speak about the nightmare or dreams. If the child gives details about their dream – such as a dark figure or man chasing them in the dream OR something touching or crawling into bed with them - this could be a HUGE red flag of ‘adult to child’ abuse. This goes back to the ways in which abuse often acts itself out in the unconscious, which is very important to note.
I have spoken to some adults (who were abused as children), that
have admitted to acting out in the classroom, as a means ‘to get attention’ OR
better yet, as an unconscious ‘cry out for help!’ He/she may talk back to the
teacher; be combative and stubborn with other children and refuse to
participate in any activities. While most children have some disciplinary
issues during school, the clues are, again, as to whether they are abruptly out
If your child has NOT been diagnosed with some kind of hormonal imbalance; ex. bipolar, etc. – severe and constant mood swings can stem from internalized anger, shame and fear carrying around their dark secret of abuse. The child’s temperament and mood swings (usually overt sadness and anger) are often projected towards siblings, guardians or parents. However, this doesn’t signify that the targets of the ‘mood swings’ is/are the source of the potential abuse - it’s just that abused children tend to take their pain, confusion and frustrations out on those who are closest and most trusted because it feels safe to do so. If you find that a child is acting irrationally or unlike his/her character and you ask the child, “what’s the matter?” or, “what’s bothering you?” and they look away refusing to answer OR if say “nothing” in spite of showing strong emotions indicating otherwise – there’s valid reason to further investigate the matter. Do not let it slide! Continue Reading...