Warning signs to watch for suspected child abuse

Resources for parents, educators and adults to protect West Michigan children

Sad and depressed boy in corner

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  (WOTV)-  April is Child Abuse and Prevention month and WOTV 4 Women is committed to connecting you to resources to help protect children in West Michigan.  One way you can help is by understand and recognizing the warning signs associated with different forms of child abuse.  Sometimes physical signs of abuse are obvious and other times you have to trust your gut instinct and dip deeper for patterns of abuse.  Helpguide.orgoffers these insightful suggestions for parents, educators and adults.

Warning signs of child abuse and neglect

Warning signs of emotional abuse in children

•Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious about doing something wrong.
•Shows extremes in behavior (extremely compliant or extremely demanding; extremely passive or extremely aggressive).
•Doesn’t seem to be attached to the parent or caregiver.
•Acts either inappropriately adult (taking care of other children) or inappropriately infantile (rocking, thumb-sucking, throwing tantrums).

Warning signs of physical abuse in children

•Frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts.
•Is always watchful and “on alert,” as if waiting for something bad to happen.
•Injuries appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt.
•Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
•Wears inappropriate clothing to cover up injuries, such as long-sleeved shirts on hot days.

Warning signs of neglect in children

•Clothes are ill-fitting, filthy, or inappropriate for the weather.
•Hygiene is consistently bad (unbathed, matted and unwashed hair, noticeable body odor).
•Untreated illnesses and physical injuries.
•Is frequently unsupervised or left alone or allowed to play in unsafe situations and environments.
•Is frequently late or missing from school.

Warning signs of sexual abuse in children

•Trouble walking or sitting.
•Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior.
•Makes strong efforts to avoid a specific person, without an obvious reason.
•Doesn’t want to change clothes in front of others or participate in physical activities.
•An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14.
•Runs away from home.

©Helpguide.org. All rights reserved. Helpguide.org is a trusted non-profit guide to mental health and well-being.

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