My ex is abusing our 4-year-old: How do I help my son?

by Name Withheld
(Location Withheld)

This is a case where a mother has seen her ex-husband strike their then 18-month-old son in the head repeatedly with a screwdriver. Abuse reports have been made to authorities by doctors and friends when the child displayed countless bruises, 2nd degree burns, pulled tendons where he had been run over by a tractor, and bloody gashes in his head. Despite the numerous reports, and physical as well as photographic evidence of abuse at the hands of his father—who has now remarried and has a newborn—the courts awarded him residential custody of the child.

The boy is now 4 years old, and he is still suffering abuse and neglect by his father. The mother continues to try to gain custody of her son, whom she believes is being used to get back at her. The boy is reportedly full of anger and frustration. The question that arose: What more can I do to help my child?

Reply from Darlene: My answer to this Ask Darlene question "My ex is abusing our 4-year-old: How do I help my son?" can be found at Comments below this submission. Depending on system activity, there are sometimes delays in comments going live on my site; but rest assured, they do eventually appear. So if you don't yet see them, I hope you will return later to read what I, and possibly others, have written. I thank you for your patience and understanding.

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Comments for My ex is abusing our 4-year-old: How do I help my son?

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Aug 07, 2008
Love, understanding and possibly counselling...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Keep showing your son your love. Don't stop documenting the abuse, and don't stop reporting it when it occurs. But mostly, don't denigrate your son's father in front of him, because he will internalize the belittling remarks. He will believe himself to be flawed. It is the nature of children to blame themselves for all that is wrong around them and to blame themselves for any character flaws of the people they love most. Make YOUR home his soft place to fall without treating him like a victim or pitying him. And lastly, if at all possible, get your son into some form of counselling; play therapy is a type of therapy that has proven beneficial to very young children.

May justice remove the blindfolds and set rectifying eyes on the plight of your son. I wish you and he all the best.

Darlene Barriere
Violence & Abuse Prevention Educator
Author: On My Own Terms, A Memoir

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