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On the last track, we discussed Sharing About Abandonment. This included Preschool Age, Early Elementary Age, From a Single Mother, From a Large Family, Middle School Age, Preteen and the "Homeland Tour" Technique.
Do you have a client whose child was abused in his or her previous home? How do you respond?
On this track, we will discuss Sharing About Abuse. First, we will discuss Physical Abuse, then Sexual Abuse. This will include Preschool Age, Early Elementary Age, Middle School Age and Preteen. As you listen, think of your client. How does he or she explain this abuse to the child?
Sometimes the abusive event was so overpowering that it is the only memory from which individuals can develop a sense of identity. When children who have been victims of abuse are adopted, parents can aid their children in understanding about that abuse as they move through their progressive stages of development.
Vanessa stated, "Caleb came to the attention of protective service workers when he entered preschool at the age of 3. Caleb was an angry child who would slap, kick and bite his playmates. One day, Caleb came in soaking wet from rain. His teacher, who kept spare clothes in the classroom, was helping him change, and she noticed huge bruises on his back and his legs. The teacher asked Caleb who did this to him, and Caleb replied, 'Mommy and Daddy.' Caleb was put into protective custody, though he was later moved for adoption. I've had Caleb for a year now, and I know someday he'll have a lot of questions about the how's and why's of his life. How can I be prepared to answer those questions?"
Similar to the last track, let’s go through the steps of explaining to Caleb the story of his birth parents.
#1 Preschool Age
#2 Early Elementary Age
#3 Middle School Age
I explained that Vanessa could fill in all the details she knew about Caleb's birth parents' background at this point.
When Caleb reached age twelve and beyond, he will develop abstract thinking and would begin to understand his birth family dynamics in these advanced terms.
Do you have a Vanessa who might benefit from hearing this track in your next session? Now that we've discussed Sharing About Physical Abuse, we will discuss Sharing About Sexual Abuse. This will include Early Elementary Age and Middle School Age and Beyond.
Dennis and Charlotte were the adoptive parents of Olivia, age 8. Charlotte stated, "Olivia was three years old when her stepfather, Ike, entered her life. Within a year after he came, Ike started fondling her. By the time Olivia was in first grade, Ike would come into her room late at night and force himself upon her. It was one of Olivia's teachers who became aware of the abuse. The teacher heard Olivia talking to a friend at recess about what her daddy made her do. The teacher notified the local Child Protective Services agency. Olivia's birth mother denied all of Olivia's allegations and essentially chose her husband over her daughter. Olivia entered foster care with us and Dennis and I eventually adopted her. Someday, we will have to tell her why…"
#1 Early Elementary Age
I stated, "You might begin to ask Olivia questions like, 'Do you ever wonder about the time when you were with your birth parents?' Olivia may need to hear that nothing is too scary or too horrible to talk about. Olivia may need to know that nothing she can say will cause you to send her back." I have found that children often need to learn that no feelings will kill them, nor will any memory kill them either.
#2 Middle School Age and Beyond
Do you have a Dennis or a Charlotte whose child was sexually abused? Might he or she benefit from hearing this track?
On this track, we have discussed Sharing About Physical and Sexual Abuse. This has included Preschool Age, Early Elementary Age, Middle School Age and Beyond.
On the next track, we will discuss Sharing About Rape and Incest. This will include The "Tape Recorder" Technique, the Early Years, Middle School Years and Beyond and The Word "Rape."
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