Digital Access

Digital Access
Access saukvalley.com from all your digital devices and receive breaking news and updates from around the area.

Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, prep sports, Chicago sports, local and regional entertainment, business, home and lifestyle, food, classified and more! News you use every day! Daily, Daily including the e-Edition or e-Edition only.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Choose your news! Select the text alerts you want to receive: breaking news, prep sports scores, school closings, weather, and more. Text alerts are a free service from SaukValley.com, but text rates may apply.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
We'll deliver news & updates to your inbox. Sign up for free e-newsletters today.
Dear Abby

Curb child abuse by learning its symptoms

Dear Abby: Child abuse is epidemic in the United States. It occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural levels, within all religions and at all levels of education. Every year, more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the U.S. Without intervention, about 30 percent of those abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children.

With the proper skills, all parents can raise happy, healthy children. Treatment is necessary, but our communities also need to do a better job at prevention.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please ask your readers to learn about programs and activities in their communities that support parents and promote healthy families. – John E. Thoresen, director, Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Dear Mr. Thoresen: Thank you for your letter. Readers, the first step to curbing child abuse is recognizing it. These are the 10 most common indicators:

1. Unexplained injuries: Visible signs may include burns or bruises in the shape of objects. There may be unconvincing explanations for a child's injuries.

2. Changes in behavior: Abused children often appear scared, anxious, depressed, withdrawn or more aggressive.

3. Returning to earlier behavior: Abused children may display behaviors shown when they were younger, such as thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, fear of the dark or strangers. For some, loss of basic language or memory problems may occur.

4. Fear of going home: Abused children may express fear or anxiety about leaving school or going places with the abuser.

5. Changes in eating: The stress, fear and anxiety lead to changes in a child's eating behaviors, which may result in weight gain or weight loss.

6. Changes in sleep habits: The child may have frequent nightmares or have difficulty falling asleep, and appear tired or fatigued.

7. Changes in school performance or attendance: Children may demonstrate difficulty concentrating in school or experience excessive absences, sometimes because of adults trying to hide the children's injuries from authorities.

8. Lack of personal care or hygiene: The child may appear unkempt, be consistently dirty and have severe body odor, or lack sufficient clothing for the weather.

9. Risk-taking behaviors: The child may engage in high-risk activities such as using drugs or alcohol, or carrying a weapon.

10. Inappropriate sexual behavior: A sexually abused child may exhibit overly sexualized behavior or use explicit sexual language.

We can all support children and parents to reduce the stress that often leads to abuse and neglect. Be a friend to a parent or child you know. Volunteer your time or donate to programs that support child abuse treatment and prevention as well as those that build healthy families. Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact authorities.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Comments