Protecting Your Child from An Abusive Home

Childs hand in fathers hand

Child abuse can come in many forms, some of which are unnoticeable at first. For example, a couple going through divorce may be too stressed to notice that they have consistently failed to provide food and proper supervision for their child, which does count as neglect. If tensions are high at home, it can lead to verbal abuse. Of course, there are also intentional forms of abuse to worry about, such as physical abuse, which need more drastic interventions.

But you don’t — and shouldn’t — need to wait for things to get serious from a partner before you take action. After all, abuse has a long-term physical and mental effect on children. They are more at risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety as a result of neglect or trauma. With that said, immediately take measures to protect your child in the following ways:

Spot the signs of abuse
Noticing that your child is experiencing abuse is the first step to protecting them. While children do get hurt sometimes when playing, these are usually in spots like the knees and elbows. If your child has cuts, burns, or bruises on their head and torso, these can be taken as signs of physical abuse. On the other hand, extreme behaviors like excessive crying can mean emotional and mental abuse.

To protect your child, check in with them often so you notice their physical and behavioral changes. If you spot the signs early on, you can prevent further abuse from happening.

Teach your child their rights
Many people justify their abuse by saying that they’re only disciplining their child. Parents tell children that they are “disciplining” them for their own good. And because they’re children, they will likely believe this.

Consequently, children should be made aware of the actions that shouldn’t be done to them. Inform them that acts of physical, emotional, and sexual violence done to them are wrong and should not be tolerated. Educate them regarding the signs of these types of abuse — like hitting and name-calling. Lastly, make sure to tell them to come to you when they suspect abuse. When children themselves are aware of their own abuse it is much easier for you to catch it and report it.

Get the abuser to seek therapy
Not every type of abuse is intentional. As mentioned early on, abuse can come in the form of child neglect. A parent that does not realize that they’re abusing their child should receive professional help.

As such, convince the abuser to see a specialist in psychology, such as a specialized counselor in behavior disorders. These professionals are educated and trained to comprehend people’s emotions. They can identify a person’s patterns in order to offer them support. This support can come in the form of listening to them and giving them advice on how to change their lifestyle. Through this, they are able to help the abuser overcome their bad habits and behaviors.

Seek help from the authorities
However, it’s no secret that you can only do so much to protect your child on your own if your partner is abusive. There can be instances where you could also become a victim, or the abuse only worsens. In these cases, it’s best to seek help from the proper authorities. As such, contact your state’s branch of Child Protective Services (CPS) as soon as you can. Their caseworkers will work with law enforcement agents to register a report and begin an investigation. Afterwards, they will decide on the best-case scenario for you and your child. This can include but is not limited to case management, medical care, and counseling.

Abuse can cause significant physical and mental damage to a child. Therefore, immediate measures must be taken in order to protect them. These actions should help you keep your child safe from any abuse.

Written by Rosie Jimena

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