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How Can I Spot Babysitter Abuse?

This can be a very specific circumstance with nuanced details. The first step in identifying babysitter abuse is looking for abnormal behavior, fears, or how your children respond.

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

The simplest thing you can do is keep a close eye on your child’s behavior. How symptoms of abuse appear will depend on a child’s age and stage.

I understand that there is likely a lot of stress and worry around this type of situation. How you approach your children and what types of questions you ask will be critical in maintaining composure, providing support, and listening to your kids.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while you investigate a potential babysitter abuse situation with your children:

  • Younger children in the 4-8 age range tend to regress in terms of behavior when abuse occurs, such as thumb-sucking, bedwetting, and baby-talk.
  • With slightly older children, such as 9-12 years old, be aware of any signs of physical injury, especially in genital areas.
  • Older preteens or teens are likely more reluctant to open up about these situations. So, look for calm moments where you can ask questions in a comfortable environment.
  • With any age, be sure to ask open-ended questions and avoid yes/no questions. Avoid leading or manipulative questions such as “Has ___ ever done anything to you?”

You can explore a more thorough response to your question that covers several ages here. If you need guidance from a professional counselor, you can reach us here.

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