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How can you tell if your grandchildren may be being abused?

As grandparents, you likely want to do all that you can to ensure that your grandchildren are safe and protected from harm. Unfortunately, sometimes the harm that they endure comes from within the home. If abuse is occurring, whether it by your adult child or his or her spouse, you no doubt want to act quickly to help him or her address the issues that may be prompting his or her actions, but most importantly, to stop the violence being perpetrated against your grandchildren.

Stopping abuse cannot happen without first discovering it. However, your grandchildren may not speak up about it both out of fear that doing so may net more abuse and that the parent involved in it may get into trouble. Thus, you need to be on the lookout for the telltale signs of it. According to the Tennessee Department of Child Services, these may include:

  •          Unexplained injuries
  •          Strange changes in your grandchildren’s behavior
  •          Poor performance in school
  •          Erratic eating and sleeping patterns
  •          Age-inappropriate actions
  •          One child acting as a parent figure for the others

Even after seeing the signs of potential abuse, it may be difficult for you to think of leveling such accusations towards your own son or daughter (or son or daughter-in-law). However, a failure to report child abuse when you suspect it could result in you possibly facing criminal penalties. It could also potentially affect any hopes you may have to act as custodial guardians for the children if they do need to be removed from the home. When reporting your concerns to authorities, you will need to provide specific information about your grandchildren and their parents. If you wish, you may choose to remain anonymous.