How to Identify Child Abuse Ages 13-18

| Age 13-18, Parent Resources
Do you notice some of the following signs in children you know?
Nightmares, fear of the dark, or other sleeping problems.
Spacing out at odd times.
Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, anger, or withdrawal.
An older child behaving like a younger child, such as bed-wetting or thumb sucking.
Fear of certain people or place (e.g., a child may not wan to be left alone with a baby-sitter, a friend, a relative, or some other child or adult; or a child who is usually talkative and cheery may become quiet and distant when around a certain person).
Sexual activities with toys or other children, such as simulating sex with dolls or asking other children/sibling to have sexually.
Refusing to talk about a “secret” he/she has with an adult or older child.
Talking about a new older friend.
Suddenly having money.
Stomach illness al the time with no identifiable reason.
Loss of appetite, or trouble eating or swallowing.
Cutting or burning herself or himself as an adolescent.
Pain in or around the genital area.
Unexplained bruised, redness, or bleeding of the genitals, anus, or mouth.
Child Abuse Includes: Common Signs:
Physical Abuse:

This occurs when someone such as a child parents or day care provider hits or otherwise hurts a child.

  • Come home with unexplained bruises, abrasions, burns, broken bones, black eyes, cuts, bite marks, or other injuries. Repeated
    injuries of any type can be a warning sign.
  • Changes in their normal behavior, like becoming very quiet and sad, or very angry, or may seem afraid of their parents or other adults.
Sexual Abuse:

This happens when someone performs a sexual act on the child or forces a child to perform one
on them. This includes touching a child in “private” areas such as the vagina, breast or penis.

  • Have pain, itching, bleeding, or bruises in or around the genital area.
  • Have difficulty walking or sitting, possibly because of genital or anal pain.
  • Suffer from urinary tract infections
  • Be reluctant to take off his coat or sweater, even on a hot day, or insist on wearing multiple undergarments.
Emotional Abuse:

This occurs when a parent treats a child in ways that make the child feel unwanted, or like a bad person – so much that the child’s normal development, learning or behavior suffers. This may include harshly criticizing or frequently blaming the child or making the child feel unwanted.

  • Display behavioral problems or changes such as shunning a parent’s affections – or, alternately, becoming excessively clingy – or acting angry or depressed. Abused children often show extremes in behavior: A normally outgoing and assertive child may become unusually compliant and passive, while a generally mild child may act in a demanding and aggressive manner.
  • Become less talkative or stop communicating almost completely, or display signs of a speech disorder such as stuttering.
  • Act inappropriately adult or infantile.
  • Complain of headaches or stomachaches that have no medical cause.
How should I react if my child tells me that he or she has been abused?
Your child needs to know that he or she is not to blame.
Make it clear that you believe what he or she says.
Allow your child to talk about what has happened, but don’t force him or her to do so.
Tell your child that he or she has done the right thing in telling you. Don’t blame him or her if the abuse occurred because he or she disobeyed your instructions. (For example, going out without permission)
You may feel very confused, particularly if the abuser is a relative. You may want help in coping with powerful and conflicting emotions about the abuse. These could include shock, anger, disbelief, self-blame and fear.