telling abuse related behaviors from age-related behaviors

11 12 2009

One of the hardest things for me to do is to tell the difference between behaviors that the children have because of the abuse they went through and just their natural personality and age based behaviors.  There are some things that are pretty obvious.

Climbing the counters to steal candy off the top of the fridge – age related behavior.

Grabbing a kid’s crotch at school – abuse related behavior.

Breaking toys when mad – age related.

Smearing poo on the walls – abuse related.

But what about the other stuff?  Things like acting out for attention, being a know-it-all, and competing with siblings and other family members for attention.  It could be related to an attachment or anxiety disorder or it could just be that’s how they are naturally.  (I know plenty of grown-ups who are know-it-all attention whores and I’m sure they were born that way.)

It’s hardest with Alyssa because she is so much like me but also so much unlike me.  She considers herself a small grown-up who has what it takes to take care of other people and who believes that grown-ups need to earn her respect.  That’s all just like I was as a child.

Then she also refuses to do her work at school or learn things just for the fun of it.  She’d rather make friends and play at school than do her part.  That is so unlike me – I always wanted to please adults and impress them with my mad knowledge skills.  I took control by exceeding all expectations.  She takes control by manipulation then acts out when people don’t comply.  I’m a perfectionist and hardest on myself.  She seems to believe that people should just give her stuff because she’s adorable and smart.  If I wanted something, I would figure out how to get it.  If she wants something, she just takes it.

So how do you tell?


Article: Mother loses custody for allowing son to become morbidly obese

21 07 2009

From this article.

Reading it, I believe they focused too much on “giving your child too much” as opposed to neglect by starvation.  It’s like the author had more to say about socio-economic status than the valid medical problems that come from obesity.

Here’s a point that was not mentioned at all:  morbid childhood obesity is MEDICAL neglect by refusing the child access to licensed medical care.  If the child is receiving regular doctor’s visits and the doctor has not raised concerns or contacted child services for assistance, then the doctor needs to be disciplined as well.

Eating disorders are not only mental health issues (and every child has access to mental health treatment through the public school system) but physical health issues.   Eating disorders aren’t about just liking food.  In children who are sneaking food or cannot stop, they should be receiving the same care a child who is self-mutilating does.  Early intervention is not only responsible, it’s necessary.

We all know the issues that come with obesity:  high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol.  For children, it’s worse.  Their bones and teeth are brittle from too much stress and not enough nutrients.  They have poor hygiene and get yeast infections easily.  They don’t grow correctly because of the pressure and stress on their heart and joints.  Low levels of B and D vitamins cause depression.

This article is comparing the 700 lb child with the chunky, large boned child.  There’s a huge difference and it’s not like child services is coming down on everyone who has a plus-sized child.

All of my children were removed due to medical neglect and abuse.  Ethan was 36 lbs at 9 months old.  He was so fat he could not make a fist.  Alyssa was 48 lbs at 20 months old and her teeth had already rotted.  LJ was close to 70 lbs at 5 years old and could not walk or talk and was not potty trained.  He needed extensive dental restorations and had chronic infections in his jaw up until last year.  He still has gastro-intestinal problems.  Those are SERIOUS medical issues.  It was so bad that after two years of care in another home, when they moved in with us we had no problem at all getting a reference to Emory to have them genetically tested.  A former pediatrician said “it’s Prader-Willi Syndrome” but never sent for the confirmation test.  If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s not PWS.  It was neglect and medical idiocy on the doctor’s part.

Ethan is now 48 lbs and almost 5 years old.  He’s taller than Alyssa by two inches.

Alyssa is 56 lbs at 5 years old and grew 4 inches taller in the year she moved in with us.  We’re still working on weight with her because she does not feel when she’s full.

LJ is 70 lbs at 9 years old and is 4’5″ and wears a larger shoe than I do.  He knows that a belt is to keep your pants up, not to get a whooping with.

The oldest two receive therapy, psychiatric help, and have regular doctor’s visits and monthly health screenings.  All of it is state and federally sponsored.  We (as a household) eat high protein, high calcium, and low carb diets.  We drink whole milk and get our fat from dairy products and peanut butter.  (There are some studies that show dairy fat actually clogs up fat cells so that they can’t absorb other kinds of fat and whole milk causes less allergy issues.)  As we’ve gotten fitter and taller, I’ve eased up on the dietary restrictions.  Now, if we go out to eat, they can have Sprite instead of lemonade.  They get ZERO caffeine and get a 30 oz water bottle every morning to use thru-out the day – tap water because it has flouride in it.  Because anti-depressants are linked to lower blood levels of B, folic acid and D vitamins, they take extra supplements with breakfast.

It is a parent’s responsibility to ensure their children have the care they need.  If you have issues with money or finding medical or psychiatric care, call the Department of Human Resources.  If you don’t understand the paperwork, ask for a CASA – a court appointed advocate who is a volunteer whose goal is to keep families together and make sure they recieve the help they qualify for.  If you have a pre-school aged child who is showing signs of a disability – whether it’s a developmental delay or a physical disability – go to any elementary school and they can help you get set up with early intervention programs.  Elementary schools also have nutrition counselors on staff.  If you have problems with transportation, there are programs for that.

If you’re online reading this, then you have everything you need to find information and help.  Be honest, forget your personal pride, and just do it.