Protect children! Learn how to recognize child abuse

by | Oct 23, 2012

Anonymous said…

“Then the day my husband lost it with our son I couldn’t take anymore. I had to call the police & have him removed from our house, I was advised by the police to get an order of protection against my husband. I went to a local women’s shelter to get the OP. BUT before I went in I spent 20 minutes on the phone again with his commander. I wanted to make sure the OP was in no way going to hurt my husbands military career. The commander said no as long as he was not convicted of anything. He strongly agreed that getting the OP was the right thing to do. That I needed to keep our boys & myself safe. He said he would do everything in his power to get my husband help before something happened that would ruin all our lives.”

While feeling blessed with my life at age 66, I can’t shake the baggage connected with my toxic childhood living with a parent who suffered for many years following WWII with severe emotional challenges and complex PTSD as we define it.  Dad served in combat for all of WWII then more combat duty during the Korean War.  He did not take ownership for getting help until later in his life.  My family struggled with PTSD for decades, including being affected ourselves as siblings with secondary PTSD.  My mother to this day at age 94 still has flashbacks of the nighmare of trying to help Dad for so many years, and protect us as best she knew how.  But to take action, as in the above quote from an anonymous military spouse, would have ruined Dad’s career in the US Navy and post military professional life working for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for the rest of his career.

Although I now understand the circumstances of moral injury and PTSD, and no longer have any anger connected with my childhood, the pain and sadness is still there, lingering each day, with terrible memories.  No child should have to grow up in this kind of insane household and suffer in silence while parents try their best to address their own challenges.  We must figure out a way to protect children to give them the best chance to grow into happy, healthy and productive adults.  My work today is to make a difference by helping others become more aware of the tragedy connected with moral injury and on families as a whole.   It is healing for me each day to write blog postings like this one, but still painful to think about the countless number of children in past wars and today living with the scary and uncertain behaviors demonstrated by a parent affected by moral injury as a combat veteran or even under different types of severe traumatic events in life.  It is often invisible by day, but at night at home the anger is unleashed on family members and loved ones.  The kids in particular demonstrate behaviors at school and away from home that should be recognized and appropriately observed and if necessary reported.  Please review the above website and study the following symptoms of children who live with abuse at home.  Please do your part in helping friends and family become more aware.  You may save a kid from a life of sadness and pain…

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

Recognizing Child Abuse

The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect.

The Child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The Parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child
  • Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home
  • Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The Parent and Child:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each other

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
View all posts by stevesparks →

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