I don’t think there is one child who has made it to 5 years old without some kind of unexplained bruise, cut or bump. It’s inevitable and laughable to think that we can have eyes on our children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are times where your child can be up under your the majority of the day; you go to pee and the next thing you know, there’s blood and a toe on the floor.
Ok, well, maybe not a toe, (super graphic) but you get where I’m going. I promise to be less dramatic, in my own dramatic way.
There was this one time that Daniel came home with a knot on his head almost as large as my palm and NO ONE at the school knew how it happened. He didn’t even know it was there and definitely couldn’t tell me what happened to it. He had injured his little fingers and probably hit his head at the same time, but was overcome with the pain from his fingers that he forgot all about his head. I was MORTIFIED!! There were so many emotions running through my body at that moment. I was pissed, I was worried, I was angry, I was fearful. I wanted to rip that entire school to shreds. When they finally got a hold of the teacher, she was shocked and hurt to hear that Daniel has suffered a head injury and regrettably admitted she was unaware.
Since the mechanism of injury was unknown, we got it checked out at the ER. No concussion, all is well.
Listen, Linda, it happens.
As parents, educators, camp counselors, tutors ALL THAT, we literally cannot maintain positive eye contact with these kids every single second of every single minute. We had a similar experience recently at home.
Daniel was cleaning his room. He was merrily cleaning his room at that! Back and forth to the trash can and wherever else in between, but cleaning nonetheless. At one point, he knocked his head into the doorknob on his bedroom door. Did I see it? No. Did he tell me what happened? Yes!
We doctored his little “Chocolate Chip” – that’s what we’ve been calling it because it left quite a mark on his head – and we laid down for a bit. I gave him a little Tylenol for the pain and I let him rest (one hour following the incident-not sooner).
My point in all of this is: teach your children to talk through what they are going through. This could have been a disaster. He could clearly tell me what happened to his head, therefor I knew the mechanism of injury and how to quickly treat it. Moreover, he would in turn be able to clearly explain what happened to any and everyone who asked him. Therefore, if was being abused at home, there would be no question.
Being assertive is the opposite of “seen and not heard”. Being assertive, I think, can keep CPS (or whatever its called in your area) off your back. In a recent conversation, a friend of mine who processes these cases was telling me that if the child had only spoke up and told what happened to him, the child would have never been separated from the mother. We are talking children older than mine.
I encourage the use of expressive language with my child. I encourage him to talk about what he sees, ask questions, explain how he feels and why he feels that way and explore all kinds of new words and their meanings. But most of all, I encourage him to speak up for himself.
It could save his life one day, maybe mine too.