Our expert says:
Reality is far too variable to produce the sort of firm guidelines you may be expecting. The age o the child obviously varies, as does the child's personality. And the nature of what we might call "abuse" varies. Some is so painful and frightening that a child might show signs of distress immediately, some is more subtle and might not even be recognized by the child as problematic, and there might be no noticeable signs.
One thing is clear from good scientific research. Most of the stuff written in popular books and websites about "signs" and checlists, is sheer bunkum, generally listing signs and symptoms that are much more common than abuse, and about as common in ordinary unabused kids as in victims of abuse. Such checklists are dagerously misleading and ignorant.
If you have ANY sound reason to worry that your child MIGHT be being abused, he/she should be taken to see an experienced general child psychiatrist or child psychologist ( NOT one with too much of a special interest in this subject, as they too often have bees in their bonnet and personal axes to grind ) for a gentle assessment, if your own gentle discussion with the child yields no useful information and leaves you still concerned
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