Daycare abuse isn’t just a physical phenomenon. Sometimes the worst forms of abuse are not physical at all. Emotional and psychological abuse is a big problem in daycare centers, and can have serious detrimental effects on children. Here’s what to look for if you suspect emotional daycare abuse:
- Eating disorders, including obesity or anorexia.
- Speech disorders (stuttering, stammering).
- Developmental delays in the acquisition of speech or motor skills.
- Weight or height level substantially below norm.
- Nervous disorders (rashes, hives, facial tics, stomach aches).
- Habit disorders (biting, rocking, head-banging).
- Cruel behavior, seeming to get pleasure from hurting children, adults or animals; seeming to get pleasure from being mistreated.
- Age-inappropriate behaviors (bedwetting, thumb-sucking, soiling).
- Behavioral extremes, such as overly compliant/demanding; withdrawn/aggressive; listless/excitable.
Some of the daycare abuse warning signs that a psychiatrist or a psychologist may be able to identify can also be signs of other problems. This is why it’s important to have your child visit with an expert to make an accurate determination as to whether or not they are being emotionally abused.
For example, children sometimes do get depressed for reasons other than being abused. If this is happening, it’s important that the child’s problems are identified so that they can be given proper treatment and so that they can make a recovery. Abuse, however, oftentimes brings about signs of depression as well. A qualified mental health professional can take a look at the whole host of symptoms that a child may be exhibiting and determine whether or not they likely trace back to some sort of abuse.
For parents, it’s sometimes very difficult to get a child to open up about things about which they are embarrassed or frightened. In some cases, abusive individuals at daycare centers may threaten children to keep them quiet about what’s going on. This can make it very difficult for the child to open up and admit that they have been the victim of abuse. Talking to a counselor, a child may feel a little bit safer and may be able to open up and let the counselor know what was going on.
If you need to contact the authorities, they can also help you by conducting a thorough investigation of the situation. The people who work in child protective services and other related departments have the resources to interview children and to figure out what’s going on that’s causing them distress. Some parents may hesitate to do this because they fear being accused of being abusers themselves. Realize that, if you do not act on your instincts that your child is being abused somehow, you may be allowing the abuser to get away with this deplorable behavior and allowing other children to suffer the same fate.
If you suspect your child is being emotionally or mentally abused at daycare, contact a daycare abuse lawyer immediately to protect your and your child’s rights.