One of the biggest problems a child may face during their childhood is abuse. Knowing the signs is the easiest ways to recognize abuse, especially physical abuse. Because abuse often thrives in privacy it is important to teach children the differences between good secrets and bad secrets. It is also important to know the differences between abuse and poverty, which can often look similar. Even afterwords the effects of abuse can last a lifetime through memories, but it does not control how a child will act when they become an adult.
The signs of physical abuse are not always as obvious as a black eye or a broken arm. As plainly stated by Patricia Rushford in her book It Shouldn't Hurt to Be a Kid, “The actual injury is not as important as the way it came about.”1 (Rushford, 10) Every child gets injuries, it is a part of growing up and children learn from them. When a child is hurt intentionally, when nothing is done when an injury has occurred, or nothing done to stop a preventable injury (in cases of neglect) is when it becomes abuse. Though obvious injuries often tell the world about abuse it is often hidden in areas that are easy to cover up such as the stomach or chest. A child who worries about adult-like problems is another instance where abuse might be taking place. An example of this is a child who is obsessively protective/motherly towards their younger siblings.
Very few abused children will tell the truth about what their life is like. Often they are told, even forced, to lie when asked about injuries. They will lie to protect the people that they love, even if they are the ones hurting them. There are also cases where a child has tried to tell others about abuse but the people that they told did not take them seriously.
A family that lives in poverty does not mean that it is an abusive family. Poverty is not a choice that parents choose for their children, neglect is a choice. Often the main difference is cleanliness. If a child comes to school in the same clothes everyday, but they are clean, it is likely that they live in poverty. Their parents take care of what they have and provide what they can, even if it is not much. In cases of neglect however, a child may come to school in the same clothes, but they are dirty, even though the family has the means to wash them. Every case is different, but cleanliness is often the big difference between poverty and abuse.
Because abuse is done in secret it is important for parents and teachers to teach children about good secrets and bad secrets. Good secrets will always make you feel happy. An example of this would be a surprise birthday party. A good secret like this will not make people upset and it will be told when the time right... on their birthday. Bad secrets make you feel bad or uneasy when it is kept. It is important to teach children to never keep a bad secret, and to always tell someone they trust if they are told to keep a bad secret.2 (Garbarino, pg...