It was a tough year. Perhaps at some point your child became more aggressive or more anxious or more mistrustful or more prone to seek attention — or more withdrawn or more passive or too compliant. Maybe he flinches easily and avoids being touched. Maybe he just doesn’t get along with his peers. Maybe he feels very tired. Maybe he depends too much on adults. Or maybe he’s just not acting his age.
I don’t mean to get personal. In fact, it’s hard to imagine any adult or child who hasn’t experienced at least one of these things over the past year — even if you don’t include “avoids being touched” and “socially isolated.” I only ask because in at least one state, Pennsylvania, even one of these “signs” or “risk factors” is enough to put you on the radar to possibly be reported to ChildLine, the state’s child abuse hotline, as a child abuser.
Every one of these “signs” and “risk factors” is included in a training course for professionals in Pennsylvania who are “mandated reporters” of child abuse. In Pennsylvania, as in many states, that’s almost anyone with regular contact with children — including the very people you might reach out to for help if you or you or your child really is experiencing these problems.