Parents typically want to do whatever they can to protect their children. Unfortunately, as well as they try, their children can still fall victim to serious physical or emotional harm. One of the most harrowing situations a parent could consider their child facing is sexual abuse. Sadly, this type of abuse can and does happen often, and New Mexico parents may want to recognize some of the signs that could raise concerns.
Though most parents feel that they should have seen the signs of abuse earlier or did more to protect their children, it is not easy to spot abusive behavior. Some adults may seem trustworthy and be in positions of authority and shock others by carrying out abusive behavior. They are also often master manipulators who can convince children to stay quiet or that what is happening is not wrong.
If parents notice any changes in their child’s emotional state or behavior, it may be cause for concern. Some signs that parents may want to look into if they notice them in their child include the following:
- Changes in eating habits, whether that is eating more or less than normal
- Sleeping problems or having nightmares
- Changes in mood, such as sudden anger or intense reactions to seemingly minor issues
- Becoming clingy to a parent
- Not wanting to be left alone with a particular person
- Showing signs of anxiety
Though children’s behavior and emotions do go through changes even when nothing is wrong, if parents are concerned, they may want to talk with their child about how he or she is feeling. In many cases, sexual abuse victims feel afraid to talk about what is happening and cannot or do not want to talk about it. Reassuring children that they are safe could help them open up. If New Mexico parents do learn that their child has been abused, looking into holding abusers legally accountable may be wise.