Did you know that almost five children die every day as a result of child abuse? Did you know that child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education? Did you know that children who experience child abuse & neglect are 59% more likely to be arrested as a juvenile, 28% more likely to be arrested as an adult, and 30% more likely to commit violent crime?
I shared these statistics with you because I wanted to stress the fact that such environments produce stressed children. These types of children react to their environment in different ways, and reactions can vary depending on the child’s gender and age. Children exposed to family violence of any sort are more likely to develop social, emotional, psychological and or behavioral problems than those who are not. Recent research indicates that children who witness domestic violence show more anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, anger and temperament problems than children who do not witness violence in the home. The trauma they experience can show up in emotional, behavioral, social and physical disturbances that effect their development and can continue into adulthood.
Sadly many children find themselves being abused, living in an abusive home, and or neglected. You may know someone or this person may have been you. Our children face these children every day in school and most of the time they look like one another. They play rope, kickball, and hide and go seek together. There is no physical difference between them. However, emotionally they are very different. Being abused, neglected or living in a violent home are some of the things children face every day. Parents or adults that come in contact with these children wonder why the children behave the way they do. Almost all the time there is an underlying reason. Children are not “bad” because they want to be. They live what they learn. I recall a comment someone made about a 4 year old little girl. The person said, “She is so bad, she’s well known at the daycare because of her behavior.” I reminded that person that this little 4 year old girl witnesses domestic violence in her home on a daily basis. This could be one of the reasons why she behaves negatively.
There is almost always an underlying reason or reasons why children and teens conduct themselves the way they do. Before you pre-judge a book by its cover think to yourself, what’s really going on with this child? I remember growing up and being told I shouldn’t play with certain children in my neighborhood. Looking back they all had issues inside their homes. When I say issues I’m not talking about every day issues children and teens face. They were dealing with domestic violence, neglect, and low self-esteem that came from their mother always putting them down among others. And this is why they conducted themselves the way they did. We have to pray for and with our children every day before they walk out of the door. You never know what they encounter on a daily basis. I admonish you to take it a step further and pray for the children in your community, neighborhood, and all over the world. You often hear “children are our future”, I beg to differ, and will say children are our today. Children are impacted and influenced by their environments whether they are negative or positive. They live what they learn.
Below you will find a list of signs that may indicate that a child is being abused, neglected, or witnessing violence in the home. Please pay close attention and reach out to the child if you notice any of these signs. You could save a life.
- Acting out or withdrawing.
- Aggressive or passive.
- Refusing to go to school.
- Care taking; acting as a parent substitute.
- Lying to avoid confrontation.
- Rigid defenses.
- Excessive attention seeking.
- Bedwetting and nightmares.
- Out of control behavior.
- Reduced intellectual competency.
- Manipulation, dependency, mood swings.
- Isolation from friends and relatives.
- Stormy relationships.
- Difficulty in trusting, especially adults.
- Poor anger management and problem solving skills.
- Excessive social involvement to avoid home.
- Passivity with peers or bullying.
- Engaged in exploitative relationships as perpetrator or victim.
- Somatic complaints, headaches and stomachaches.
- Nervous, anxious, short attention span.
- Tired and lethargic.
- Frequently ill.
- Poor personal hygiene.
- Regression in development.
- High risk play.
- Self abuse
I hope this article helps us to seek to understand why some children are acting out. They may be crying for help.
Elaine Broaster-White is the mother of three wonderful, intelligent children and the wife of the most perfect husband, whose absolutely perfect for her. But most importantly she is a child of the King, the most High God, Jesus Christ. She is studying to get her degree in Social Work so she can help those without a voice and continue to be an eve stronger force in her community.
© 2015, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Author| Speaker| Life And Business Coach. All rights reserved.