Change in Behavior

by Ashley

Question: My 5 year old stepson was molested by his uncle (his mother's brother) 2 years ago. He hasn't seen his uncle since the incident occurred that we know of. His father and I have temporary custody of him.

He recently doesn't want to sleep in his room. He also started wetting and soiling his pants, but usually has legitimate excuses as to why. He didn't make it, there wasn't any toilet paper so he ran to the upstairs bathroom etc. Is this a cause for concern?

Answer: Generally these can be indicators of sexual abuse, but they can also simply be indicators of stress in other areas of life. Has he recently had a new person or friend over to play in his room?

If so, you may want to investigate what types of play they have been doing. Maybe using a hidden video monitor, if you are really concerned, to observe their play.

Is there anyone at school that may be bullying him? This type of aggression may stir up similar feelings of helplessness that the previous abuse did.

He could also just be your typical 5 year old that has decided sleeping with parents is way more fun and stopping play in time to make it to the bathroom is a low priority.

If it continues for longer than 1-2 months despite efforts to appropriately redirect his behavior, then I would be very concerned and be sure to investigate more.

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Sexual abuse?

Question: Hi, I need help. A friend's child is displaying some behavior that seems consistent with sexual abuse. The mother does not see it, how I do.

I have a therapist and will be talking to him about this tomorrow. The child stays up all night and sleeps all day. She hoards food she likes, but refuses to eat anything she does not like. I have caught her throwing up after meals, I have heard her call herself a fat pig.

Recently, she discovered one of her mom's sex toys and destroyed it into many different pieces.
They asked why the child did this, and the child said they did not like it, and they punished him/her by making him/her have to pay back the money the toy cost.

I just found that out 2 days ago. I am losing sleep over this. I also am a survivor of sex abuse, and my fear right now is that much of that history is clouding my judgement. However, at the pit of my soul I know someone has harmed this child.

It seems like it is not an unusual thing for kids to snoop through their parent belongings, but wouldn't most kids who found a sex toy, laugh or be like oh gross, but put it back so the parents would not know they had been snooping?

It seems like for this child to destroy it into many pieces and not care that they would be punished for it, is a cry for help. I know CPS has been called in the past, but I think case is closed.

Is it possible that their is another explanation for this behavior. Please rest assured that no matter what this turns out to be I will do whatever I have to do to be sure this child gets help. Right now I need some support.

Answer: It's really hard to say without observing the child and knowing more information, such as the age and whom you are suspecting is abusing her. Is she old enough to know what the toy was?

I do find it strange that parents would punish a child for breaking the toy and bulimia symptoms are a huge indicator that there is something going on with the child. They can also be symptoms of sexual abuse along with sleep disturbances, but this does not necessarily indicate sexual abuse.

If the parents are aware that the child is throwing up after meals and they are not doing anything to help her, this could be considered neglect and is worth reporting itself.

Abuse may come out as the cause as she receives help for this problem through therapy. However, without having direct evidence, I would focus on getting her help for what you have witnessed to be a problem and hope that the cause will present itself.

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