Coping with abuse shouldn’t be child’s playVolunteers demonstrated the effects of child abuse through a familiar child’s game — musical chairs. The audience was asked to watch closely as the music started.
By: By Shannon Jarocki/CASDA, Superior Telegram
Volunteers demonstrated the effects of child abuse through a familiar child’s game — musical chairs. The audience was asked to watch closely as the music started.
Abusive situations are full of inconsistencies, confusion, blame, fear and anxiety. Children do not know what may be coming next, if they will be hurt or what a parent’s love really means. They have no sense of control over their own world. Neither do teachers competing for a prize package during a game of musical chairs.
My audience noticed the sneaky moves: feet slid under the person in front of you, glances to a facilitator trying to determine if I was pushing pause, hurried walking, slowed walking and even hovering over one of those glorious blue plastic chairs. Child victims find their little strategies to gain a sense of empowerment, too.
We see children coping with abuse through acting out, controlling others, escaping or withdrawing. Coping can also happen through over-achievement (including perfectionism) or role reversal (taking on adult responsibilities). These tactics are some small ways to pull a little control out of chaos, and even the seemingly “healthy” coping (over-achievement, for example) can only mask the true impact of child abuse.
No one can ever be prepared for a child disclosing abuse, but with the correct reaction a child is more likely to continue sharing their story and end the cycle of abuse. For more information on child abuse, please visit the www.preventchildabusewi.org or contact CASDA at 392-3136. Also, for great information on getting children involved and excited about doing some household chores, check out the “Making Chores Fun!” session of the Tools for Parenting series on 5:30-6:30 Tuesday in the Northern Lights Elementary Adult Learning Center.