ADELE BUTLER – Women of Spirit: “Please, Mommy, don’t…”

 

Suspect Abuse of a Child  ~  Take Action!

 

 

Last week Saturday, my two year and I were in the car while his Daddy was in the supermarket. I was sitting at the back of the car with him while he played. Things were going well for a while until he started to get into mischief. I warned him that if he continued to misbehave I would put him back into his car-seat. He didn’t listen. He thought that I was joking so when he misbehaved again, I lifted him and put him back into the car-seat. He began to struggle, wailing, “No, Mommy, no.” Tears were running down his cheeks but I kept my resolve and strapped him in.

As I snapped the belt into place, I reminded him that I had warned him several times not to misbehave and of what would happen if he did. I asked him if he understood why he was in his car-seat and he nodded and gave the reason. Then, he cried, “I want hug.” He could tell that I was upset with him so he wanted a hug. I hugged him. Shortly after, he said, “I feel better now.” He wasn’t crying anymore and he settled into his seat. I guess he resigned himself to the fact that he was going to stay there until we got home. At least he understood why he was there.

Early this morning, I lay awake wondering how many children out there are saying, “No, Mommy, no” for completely different reasons? How many of them beg, “Please, Mommy don’t hit me” as they back away in terror or cower in a corner as their drunk or angry mothers loom above them, hands or belts or whatever are handy are raised, ready to strike blows on little bodies that were still covered with fresh bruises? Or “Please, Mommy, don’t hurt me” as they pull the sheets up to their chins as protective shields, hoping that their Moms would leave their rooms and not climb into their beds with them? Or “Please, Mommy, don’t lock me in the closet. I promise I will be good.”

I admit that whenever I heard about child abuse, I always assumed that the abuser was a male. I never imagined that women would abuse children, let alone their own. As a mother I cannot even conceive of the idea that another mother would deliberately harm her own child. Motherhood is a gift that should never be abused. Children are gifts from God and should be cherished. They were entrusted into our care. They should feel loved and safe around us. We are supposed to protect them from the nasty world outside. Yet, in some households, children are living with mothers who have turned into monsters. They are unloved, neglected or worse—physically, emotionally or sexually abused. And many of them suffer in silence. They are afraid to tell someone—they probably think, “Who will believe me?”

What about the infants who are crying because they are hungry or need changing or just want to be held? They are either ignored or they are picked up and shaken because their mothers want them to stop crying. I read of a 17 year old mother who was charged for the death of her two month old daughter. The child died after being on life support for three days (http://www.kvia.com/news/25751630/detail.html#). She was a victim of Baby Shaken Syndrome. Why did her mother shake her so hard that she became unresponsive? Was she doing what babies normally do? Cry when they need something? I also read about a Florida woman who killed her three month old baby when his crying interrupted her work on FarmVille (http://www.examiner.com/farmville-in-national/farmville-playing-mother-sentenced-death-of-baby). Imagine! A game is more important than a helpless baby who depended on his mother to take care of him. Why didn’t she stop what she was doing, tend to the baby and while he was sleeping, go back to playing her game? Instead, she became enraged and shook the baby to shut him up. What a senseless and horrible tragedy.

Why would any mother harm her child? This is a question that keeps playing over and over in my mind. The reasons I found were that they themselves were abused; they have mental, health issues or disorders (http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=8482&cn=2); cracked under pressure; are young and poor.

Mothers can be verbally abusive. I have heard remarks like, “You can’t do anything right”; “You are a disappointment to your father and me”; “You will never amount to anything”; “I wish you were never born”. They put their kids and teens down in front of everybody, including their friends. They yell and swear at them. They belittle and threaten them. Words hurt! They can cause emotional and psychological harm.

I once attended a seminar on abusive relationships and learned that emotional scars take much longer to heal than physical ones. If the mother did not feel adequately loved, safe, secure, protected, appreciated, valued, accepted and respected before giving birth, she will, in all likelihood, attempt to use the child (and later the teen) to fill these needs. If she did not feel adequately in control of her own life as a child and teen, she can be expected to try to control her son or daughter as compensation. This is the recipe for emotional abuse. She punishes her children by giving them the silent treatment, rejecting and abandoning them (http://eqi.org/eam1.htm#Why%20mothers?).

What about the fathers? Why don’t they do something? I remember listening to one of Stormie Omartian’s CDs about her early life. Her mother was emotionally and verbally abusive towards her. She was suffering from mental illness. She used to lock Stormie in a closet (http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product_slideshow/1177283429?sku=67034&actual_sku=67034&slide=7). She never showed her any love. Stormie felt all alone. Her father didn’t stop her mother or do anything to help her. Years later, Stormie realized that she had been harboring bitterness and unforgiveness towards her father which she had to let go of. The father she never had, she found in God who helped her to forgive both parents. When Stormie became a mother, she poured out the love she never had on her daughter. She was the kind of mother to her daughter that her own mother had never been to her.

Husbands, fathers, DO something. Protect your child. Take the child out of the house if you have to. Put a restraining order on the mother. Be a husband by getting her the help she needs. Stop the cycle before it’s too late. Be a father to your child. Make sure that he or she is never left alone with the abuser.

Abuse affects everyone. It’s not somebody else’s problem. It’s a problem we as a society need to deal with. Watch out for the signs. Signs of physical abuse are cuts, bruises, welts, burns and unexplained injuries (http://www.child-abuse-effects.com/signs-of-physical-abuse.html).

Signs of sexual abuse include bruises on breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen, thighs, genital and/or rectal areas; complaints of pain or itching in genital or anal areas; difficulty walking or sitting; pain or discomfort on urination; frequent sore throats; difficulty swallowing; choking to name a few. See other signs at: http://www.child-abuse-effects.com/sexual-abuse-signs.html.

Emotional signs of abuse manifested in boys are aggression, temper tantrums, bullying tactics, destructive behaviors, frustrates easily, disobedience, withdrawn. Girls are withdrawn, passive, clingy, too dependent, constantly seeks approval (http://www.child-abuse-effects.com/emotional-abuse-signs.html).

Signs of possible child neglect are: difficulty concentrating, difficulty learning, low self-esteem, withdrawal, depression, frequent absences from school, poor health, child unusually small for his/her age, child is very thin and always hungry, child is rifling through garbage for food, child is stealing food and/or lunch money from others (http://www.child-abuse-effects.com/signs-of-child-neglect.html).         

 

~ Adele Butler, 2011.

 

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