Behavioral Changes in Children That Could Signal They're Being Abused

No one wants to believe his or her child may be the victim of abuse. However, if you're beginning to research this topic online, your parent's intuition may be kicking in and signaling to you that something just isn't quite right. It is key to remember that not every child who is being abused will show the same signs as another abused child; like adults, kids have a variety of personalities and will handle things differently.

Aside from obvious physical signs— like bruises or cuts—that your child has been hurt, there may be several different behavioral changes that take place. Signs your child may be the victim of abuse include:

  • Regressing. If a child has been abused, he may start to engage in behaviors that happened when he was younger. For example, some children will become afraid of the dark, start sucking their thumbs again, or begin wetting the bed.
  • Changes in School Performance. Not every child loves school, but there could still be noticeable changes that occur. Abused children may start having excessive missed assignments, lower test scores, and more behavioral problems that result in disciplinary actions. Older children may skip school altogether.
  • Personality Changes. A child who is being abused may start to show signs of depression, anxiety, or increased fear. A previously social child could become withdrawn, or a child who is normally pretty even-tempered may start to act out and become aggressive.
  • Different Sleeping or Eating Habits. If your son or daughter normally sleeps pretty well, but has begun to have nightmares or appears extremely tired in the morning, this change could be the result of abuse. Likewise, changes to eating—either overeating or under-eating—may also be a red flag.

If you believe your child has been the victim of abuse, the first step is to talk to him. Many of these signs of abuse are cries for help, and your child may be relieved that you noticed. You may not know how to bring the subject up with your son or daughter, so be sure to speak to a therapist or do a little more research before bringing up such a sensitive topic with your youngster.

Want to learn more about your rights as the parent of an abused child? Call the Law Offices of Tom Hall today at 817-831-6100.