How to Tell if Abuse is Occurring

FamilyKids & Teens

  • Author Linda Straley
  • Published May 26, 2011
  • Word count 347

How to Tell if Abuse is Occurring

Parents, teachers and caregivers should be asking how they can tell if some form of abuse is occurring. The abuse could be happening in the lunchroom, school yard, anywhere; it can be molestation, kicking, biting, intimidation, bullying – abuse can take many forms.

Watching and observing them around particular people and situations is one sure way to spot something that may not be normal and is causing the child to act differently.

Behavior is always the key; whether they suddenly become aggressive or compulsive about something it’s an indication that they are looking for some sort of control because something else which is not in their control is affecting him/her.

For example, girls who are being or have been sexually molested or abused often become anorexic and/or bulimic. It’s because that is the one thing they can control; albeit not a healthy way to control but to that person it’s logical.

So always look to behavior as the #1 indicator that everything is all right or that something may be going on that is affecting your child.

It would be wise to instruct your child that grownups don’t need help from young children to find missing puppies, kittens or balls, or anything else. If a grownup needs help he/she should ask another grownup.

Teach your children to model safe behavior by modeling safe behavior yourself; be aware of your surroundings and people near you. Do a "self" check and teach your child to do that. Ask yourself if you feel uneasy, "ishy", or "funny" and teach your child to do the same.

And if your child feels any of the above he/she will know and tell them that it’s OK to scream "get away", "don’t touch me" or "help" at the person he/she doesn’t trust.

If you’d like to order the book Boundaries and receive the free pamphlet I’ve written "The A to Zs of teaching young children" please go to and click on Boundaries.

Linda Straley has worked with preschool children, taught elementary and junior high children for over thirty five years. She has always striven to see the world through their eyes, to celebrate the joys of childhood and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. Her latest book, Boundaries, to celebrate the joy of childhood and protect the children, can be found at, Barnes & Noble or you can order a signed copy from her web site at

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