Any thoughts about this...?

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janetlee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1986
   Posted 6/6/2010 6:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I was wondering if anyone could relate to my experience and give me any advice on this situation. What it is: there's this little 6 year old girl "Haley" that has recently started coming to the Sunday meetings (religious service) that I attend. She comes with her stepdad Aaron and and mom Molly. They are also raising her 5 year old cousin "Kendra" who also comes with them. Now Kendra is an extrovert and LOVES attention! She loves hugs and seems to be crazy about Aaron. However, Haley is the exact opposite. She is very introverted. She mostly keeps her head down or keeps her eyes looking at the ground. She likes me because I've made a point to speak to her every meeting, telling her that I'm her friend, and asking her if she will be my friend. She always nods "yes". I give her and Kendra little gifts and drawings occassionally. She never speaks to anyone, but a few weeks ago, I asked her if she could say my name for me if she'd whisper it in my ear. She nodded and whispered my name when I bent down. :-) I have gotten her to smile for me by joking around and such. She seldoms smiles otherwise. Her mom is impressed that Haley has opened up to me so quickly (at least it is quick where Haley is concerned! It took Aaron's sister 1 1/2 years to get Haley to start talking to her!) Haley doesn't actually talk to me as of yet, but I'm working on it. I am not familiar enough with Molly to ask her personal questions about Haley. I do feel that Haley has anxiety. Molly told me that Haley hasn't ever spoken to her school teacher and school lets out in two days!
What little I know about Haley has been told to me in bits and pieces, here and there.
I am going to continue to try to make this sweet child feel comfortable around me. I feel so sorry for her! My aunt thinks that she's an abused child...I don't know. I hope not. My aunt and mom were abused growing up, so they tend to be suspicious of everyone...however, I am not dismissive of their feelings when they get "vibes" and such. It is strange, but as it is, I only know what I've shared here now. Has anyone here had any dealings with a similar child or maybe was one themselves'? I'd love to hear your feedback everybody!
Thanks!
janet
 


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/7/2010 6:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Morning JL,

First of all your caring and kindness toward this child is endearing and I congratulate you on picking up on the needs of this little girl. (((((((((Hugs))))))))

Suspecting emotional maltreatment is challenging. The child will show no bruises or welts and may be appropriately fed and clothed. Yet some consider the damage caused by emotional maltreatment to exceed that of other forms of abuse and neglect. Adding to the challenge is that the child may not be able to disclose the maltreatment, as he or she may think that emotional maltreatment is part of normal parenting.

The basic feeling of shyness is universal, and may have evolved as an adaptive mechanism used to help individuals cope with novel social stimuli. Shyness is felt as a mix of emotions, including fear and interest, tension and pleasantness. Increase in heart rate and blood pressure may occur. An observer recognizes shyness by an averted, downward gaze and physical and verbal reticence. The shy person's speech is often soft, tremulous, or hesitant. Younger children may suck their thumbs: some act coy, alternately smiling and pulling away.
It feels to me like you are appraoching this child in a positive way and that you are making a difference in her life. Being sensitive to the child's interests and feelings is allowing you to build a relationship with the child and show that you respect her. This can make Haley more confident and less inhibited.

I would like to believe that her teachers would pick up on any signals that she is being abused and teachers are mandatory reporters of abuse. It is hard to believe that she has not been red flagged by the school system if she has not spoken to her teacher all year. We have social workers in our school system and I wonder if she also does where she goes to school ? Social service would be involved here with this kind of issue.

Is she an abused child or just shy...........I don't have a definitive answer but I know you will continue to be her friend.

Gentle Hugs,

Kitt

janetlee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1986
   Posted 6/7/2010 10:46 AM (GMT -7)   
Yes, I will do what I can for this dear little girl. She is so excessively shy! I feel for her very much. She'll look around as if she's looking for me but never lets her eyes rest on me but for a second, then she looks away. I'm determined to get her comfy enough with me to actually talk a little bit! :)
Thanks for your info and kind words Kitt! You're just that type of lady!
Hugs!
jl
 


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 6/7/2010 12:50 PM (GMT -7)   
such great input from kitt
all i hv to offer is i too am really proud of you for seeing this childs emotional needs
i really do hope she will come out to talk with you
this sounds so sad but as kitt said even here in ontario nurse n social workers at school are flagging more kids as being abused /and /or looking at their lives alot closer
i like kitt am truly not impressed that this teacher has not picked up anything with her not talking.........
kudos jl you hv come a long way proud of you hun
huggs
lyn

janetlee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1986
   Posted 6/8/2010 2:47 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Lyn!
Thanks for your input! I have no idea what kind of background this child has. Hopefully in time, I'll learn more about her. I just want to think that somehhhow, I can make a positive difference in her life!
hugs,
janet
 


Celey
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 6/9/2010 11:07 AM (GMT -7)   
All kids need a strong support system... So, you're doing the right thing by being a positive influence...

As for whether she's being abused or not... Well... You want to be very cautious about such a thing. You don't want to break up a good family (the DFS system is still very much broken.... I highly doubt anyone in the department knows what they're doing anymore)... That would be really bad for the kid... (I speak from some experience... I mean, when I was younger, I needed to be put in foster care because my family situation was not good... My mom's illness had caused her to go off the deep end, and my dad was an alcoholic... but they just kept moving me from home to home... It really messed with my psyche)...

Like others have said, she could just be very introverted.... Although, it does seem odd to me that she would be so... mute.... which usually doesn't suggest very good things... I think the best thing to do would be to just keep an eye on her physical condition and to let her open up to you... Don't try to ask any really personal questions because you might unintentionally lead her to saying something that's untrue but said because she wanted to make you happy...

I mean... The fact that Kendra is extraverted doesn't rule out the possibility because all kids handle abusive situations differently... (My sister has always been very extraverted, for example)... But... it does seem likely that it is just a personality issue... and not an abuse issue....
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.


janetlee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1986
   Posted 7/11/2010 6:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi All,</DIV>
I thought I'd add to this older post again because of what happened today.

As usual, I saw little Haley today. I'd bought her and little Kendra a few toys and asked to give them to them after the meeting. Aaron and Molly said that the girls couldn't come out to the parking lot to get their toys because Haley needed to go to the bathroom. That if I could wait a bit, it would be okay then. So I decided to go on out and get the stuff for them as I needed to hurry. Well, as I was heading back to the entrance, Aaron and Molly were leaving, having already exited the building. Molly saw me and apologized, but said they needed to hurry as Haley had urinated on herself and was very wet...remember, this child is 6 years old. I said that I understood and so followed her so as to give the girls their presents (Kendra was especially excited about getting a toy). As we rouond the corner, Aaron is kneeling down, talking to Haley about wetting herself. She stood mutely, looking down at the ground....I felt really bad and uncomfortable. I apologized for being there at an unopprtune time. Aaron said it was okay. He made sure that Kendra said "thank you" and I quickly bent down and asked Haley to tell me "thank you" in my ear. I was so relieved when she did so! I assured Aaron that she had said "thanks" as well. I didn't want her to get into more trouble because of me!!! [img]/community/emoticons/shakehead.gif[/img] Anyhow, Aaron's sister Olivia came over there and gave the two girls a hug (she loves kids and works with Haley's mother Molly at a doctor's office). As we walked away, I told Olivia that I didn't want to give aaron or Molly the idea that I was trying to get into their business, but I really don't know what's up with Haley. Olivia said that Haley does have "problems" and is seeing a psychologist. She said that Haley will wet herself often and does so even when standing by a toilet and that Aaron thinks that Haley does it sometimes as a way to show rebellion against him (he and Molly have been married less than a year). She said also that she and Molly try to tell him that she probably just can't help it. I told her that men often are less understanding about such things and she totally agreed. I said I was glad she was keeping an eye on Haley's interests. So I left feeling blue over this little girl. I don't think that Aaron is trying to be mean to her, but just is so clueless about mental stuff. I have to be ultra careful in what I say and how I act around him. He's a young man, probably under 30. And I would never accuse him or anyone of abuse or such without having seen it or see strong indications. I just am glad she's seeing someone to hopefully help her. I wish Aaron wouldn't be so judgmental. But my hands are completely tied.

jl

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/12/2010 7:17 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear jl,

Thank you for the kindness you have shown these children and for caring about Haley. I believe your reaching out to her is the right thing to do.

I am glad to read that Haley is in therapy and wonder what her underlying dx is but I guess that is not something you would have privelege to.

I think you are right, Haley's Father is in need of some parenting skills in how to deal with a child that has emotional issues.

I know from my own experience that reporting a parent for possible abuse without having first hand knowledge is not taken seriously and usually the social services won't even take the complaint but you can always ask them to keep your name on file for future reference. I understand completely that you are not at this point and this is just sharing my experience.

You are a kind and caring person so never lose that quality dear jl.

I will close with this quote, "People shouldn't mind their own business when a child's life is in danger -- and that means the heart and mind as well as the body."

Kindly,

Kitt

janetlee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1986
   Posted 7/12/2010 4:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much Kitt.
My mom and her sister were abused by my grandma, both physically and emotionally. And my grandma was very very mean. I'm not talking about someone who just spanked a little too hard either. My grandma would bite them, pinch them, beat them with broom handles, electric iron cords, big thick switches...she once even beat my mom and uncle with three peach tree switches braided together and whipped them all over. They were bleeding all over their little bodies. Mom was about 4 and my uncle was 3. My aunt was locked in a cold dark closet, naked, because she'd urinated on herself one night. My mom was sexually abused by an uncle and my aunt by one of her brothers! Sick!!! So I am very upset that people can be so mean to others, especially little ones. My aunt believes Haley is abused. My mom is just wary. My aunt is more paranoid than mom, but mom tries to be more careful in her judgments. Mom and I are both aware that mental and/or emotional abuse can be as bad as physical in some ways. I worry that Aaron may be emotionally abusing Haley w/o even knowing he's doing so. I've never seen him raise a hand to her (not that this means anything in itself), but I sometimes feel like he's wary of me trying to get close to Haley...maybe I'm being paranoid! I don't know!!! Sigh....
I'll keep you tuned in!
Love you lots!
jl
 

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