12 Signs an Adult may be Abusing a Child

It is appalling that majority of children are abused within the safe confines of their home. When a child is abused by an known adult it not just the sexual assault the child suffers from. There is an overwhelming sense of betrayal and a complete loss of security. The fear and insecurity that emerges is hard to deal with. Feeling of safety is the most basic need of any living being. We are genetically programmed to strive to survive and this is where feeling of safety stems from. A child who is unable to feel safe cannot grow emotionally as well as physically. The dilemma a child faces in such situation is beyond imagination.

One of the hardest things for parents to discover is that their child has been sexually harmed or abused by someone they know. In this situation, denial, shock and anger are normal reactions. If it is not responded to quickly and sensitively, the effect on the whole family can be devastating. As parents it is our job and foremost duty to provide safe environment to our children. But that does not mean we helicopter our children all the time. Instead, what we need to do is to recognize the tell tale signs of an abuser. The signs that an adult might use his/her relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious but if parents are vigilant enough, an potential abuser can be identified way before the abuse happens. An adult most likely to abuse a child, will definitely show some of these traits:

1. Favoring a child, being overly affectionate and creating reasons for them to be alone.

2. Insisting on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child says no.

3. Always volunteers to babysit without even been requested.

4. Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions and in a private area like their room.

5. Spend lot time with children and little time with people of their own age.

6. Regularly offer to take children on overnight outings or movies alone.

7. Treat children with expensive gifts or give them money or take them toy/candy shopping for no apparent reason.

8. Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.

9. Often encourages physical play like wrestling or roughhousing with the child.

10. Always sits next to the child maintaining physical proximity.

11. Favor the child in front of parents and instruct parents in front of the child to show command.

12. Shows keen interest in the sexual development of a child or teenager.

If a parent feels any adult is going over the top and being super nice, he/she should always be alert around that adult and monitor his interaction with the child. Discussing it with the partner or trusted family member also helps. Remember, Child abuse is can be prevented.

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