I want to begin by telling you a little about myself, my name is Liz and I was an abused child, not only physically but also sexually and mentally. My parents divorced when I was 10 months old. I never knew my mother until I was 21. I grew up with 1 older sister and 1 older brother. My step-mother was the STEP in all StepMothers. She was absolutely the worse kind of human being.
There were days as a child that I had no idea if I would live to see another day. I was constantly being beat for things that were not my fault and sometimes for no reason at all, I was constantly being told that I was no good, a piece of garbage and nobody wanted me. She, the step-mother just would have a bad day and I was the closest one to hand. I was not only being beat with a hickory (a very limber and long twig from a tree), or she would use the buckle end of a belt, not the strap end, but the buckle itself, but afterwards when the skin had broken and blood was running down my body, she would then rub salt in the wounds, this would go on for a while and when my dad would get home from work, it started all over again from him. He would believe anything and everything my step-mother would tell him, no questions asked.
There were times when my day would rape me, without the knowledge of my step-mother. It was an awful time of my life. I just wanted to die and no longer be a part of society. This went on in my life for 16 years. I tried running away to no avail. I felt I was doomed. But, somehow I survived. By going through this experience, I have become stronger and a violent free person today. I am now 56 and happily married and do not have a mean streak in my body and no I am not bitter. I guess you could say I am an exception to the rule.
When I was old enough to be on my own, I would work odd jobs, like waiting tables in a restaurant for this was quick cash and a way to possibly meet someone who could sweep me off my feet and take me away from all this, but that did not happen either. I continued to prevail and I swore from the day I left the roof of my dad’s, that I would never hurt anyone intentionally and I knew I would not allow anyone to hurt me or someone I cared about ever again, if it was within my power.
What I have described above would be considered a form of child abuse. This is just a small sampling as to the many forms and faces of child abuse. Child abuse has no boundaries. It is done in so many ways, that some of them are so unthinkable, we as a society need to stand up and take an affirmative stand against any form of child abuse. A child is for the most part, defenceless and will learn to do or say whatever it takes to keep themselves safe out of harms way and no child should have to go through life like this. If a child is reared in an abusive household, they tend to become angry, withdrawn from society, even attempt or at least contemplate suicide. They become a part of the problem in life later rather than a solution. Why, because this has been what they were taught that life was supposed to be.
What is Child Abuse? To me one of the worst forms of abuse is Child Abuse. If you mistreat a child either physically, sexually or emotionally, then you are guilty of child abuse. Children being bullies are abusing another child. If you are the caretaker of a child and you are neglecting that child’s needs, then you are abusing that child. If you are a parent and you are not making sure that your child is being fed a proper meal, making that child do work that only an adult should be doing, then you are guilty of child abuse. Slapping a child on the face with an open hand or fist is child abuse.
I am not saying, don’t correct your child or don’t punish the child if they have done something that you don’t approve, just use your common sense. Spanking on the butt is one thing, but hitting a child for the sake of being frustrated at the world and the situation is not the way to handle things. Not telling a child that you love them and showing you love them in some small way, that too is considered child abuse. Not spending some quality time just you and your child together is also a form of child abuse. Not providing the child with a proper education and helping them to grow and learn is child abuse. Bringing up a child to be you and who you are and what you want them to be is child abuse.
A child needs love, attention, nourishment and safety to grow up and make their own mistakes in life. They don’t need the extra baggage of our mistakes, our broken promises and our needs and wants. They need to be able to be kids, to ask questions, to experiment life, to learn and to grow. They are the future. What kind of future do you think it will be if all they know is abuse? I for one don’t want to be around to find out because it will not be a pretty or a safe place to be.
I know in all our fast paced lives, we feel we don’t have time for ourselves, let alone for the children, but we must stop, slow down and make the time. I must stress that it works the other way too. Giving your child everything they want, not need, and there is a big difference, that is being abusive. The child will grow up knowing they got everything they ever wanted as a child, so they will expect the same when grown and because they will be unable to have this life that they have become accustomed to, then they become adult abusers.
They will feel like the world owes them, and why shouldn’t they feel this way, after all this was true as a child, all they had to do was pout, pitch a tantrum or simply tell you “I want” and poof there it was. You are the parent, be in control of the child, not the child in control of the parent, but do it with proper intentions, not just to shut the child up.
Take some time; get to really know your child. We all seem to think that we know what is best for the child and we as parents do what we feel is right, but have we stopped and really asked our children what they have to say? This then goes a step further, don’t just ask, but you must listen to them. It might be a little jumbled up at first, but if you really read between the lines and talk to your child, they will tell you their needs, their beliefs, their wishes, their hopes and their dreams.
I have a slogan I live by everyday of my life and that is: T.G.I.F. Not what you are thinking here, it is, T (teach), G (guide), I (inform) F (fun). Teach your child the proper and respectful things in life, Guide them into the proper direction, Inform them with information, their mind is like a sponge and will absorb everything in site and what’s not in site, but most of all let them have Fun. After all they are only a child for a short while and will have the duties of an adult life sooner than we think. Give the child a chance to make a better life, to learn the difference between what is right and what is not.