October 28, 2019 | Attitude And Behavior | No Comments
These days, it’s not surprising to hear news about teens and adolescents being sexually and physically abused by people they trust the most – teachers, coaches, priests or ministers, and family members themselves. But the parents and guardians will never get used to the fear, anxiety, and hurt just imagining if these things happened to their kids. These situations are concrete examples of how trusted individuals misuse their power and positions to assault kids.
“The AHA defines physical child abuse as “non-accidental trauma or physical injury caused by punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning or otherwise harming a child.” However, it can be challenging to draw the line between physical discipline and child abuse. When does corporal punishment cease to be a style of parenting and become an abusive behavior that is potentially traumatizing for its child victims in the long-term?” – Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD
As a parent, I can’t’ help but wonder if I know how to identify the signs of attempted abuse. Can I protect my kids? What do I do?
I learned these strategies, and I am sharing it here so that concerned parents and guardians may help prevent what terrible circumstances might happen to the children that they love so much.
- Listen To Your Kids And Establish A No-Secret Rule To Unsafe Topics. Most of these abusers lurking close to your kids have strong bonds with them, which is why the abuse is not often felt or seen initially. Psychologists state that pedophiles would often test a child’s limitations by committing a mistake. For example, he could use profane language in front of the child and then tells the child not to tell his parents because then they wouldn’t be able to play or talk with each other anymore. If this works and the child doesn’t tell his parents, then this child is the perfect target for the abuser. Francyne Zeltser, Psy.D. says, “When I am with my children, whether for an hour or a full day, I am responsive to their cues and needs; I provide undivided attention whenever possible to set them up for success.”
A pedophile was interviewed and asked about how to protect children from individuals like him. His fast reply was, “Please listen to your children!” He advises parents to instill in their kids the habit of talking to their parents about anything and everything. Most importantly, listening to your children encourages them to tell you even their feared secrets, which are the most crucial things you must know. Listen and ask questions, but do not lecture. And make it clear to them that secrets about people giving them gifts, touching them, taking pictures or videos of them, and asking them to be alone with them are not safe at all – even if these people are close to them.
- Prioritize Your Children. Your child’s self-esteem and safety are more essential than anyone’s inconvenience or wrongdoing. If you feel that your child has a safety issue, you must take full responsibility to do something about it before something bad or dangerous even happens. This includes talking about safety with other parents in school and the community. Speak up about it and be persistent in doing so until appropriate action is done to address the issue. Don’t just speak up and stop once you’ve done it. Follow up and ask what’s going on and if something is done. Remember that children and teens that are abused need all the protection and help that they can. The abusers must be stopped at all costs.
- Be Sure You Know What People Are Doing When They Are With Your Children. As far as the news and real stories go, we all know that anyone can abuse our kids. This is a hard truth that parents and caring guardians must acknowledge and be vigilant about. So if your child has a dance rehearsal, for instance, make sure there IS a dance rehearsal going on. If she’s part of the school choir, see to it that she is IN the choir with her choir mates and her instructor. There is no reason for your child to be alone with someone in these activities. If they tell you at any point that their instructor called them and talked with them alone, then find out immediately why and what it’s about.
According to Erlanger A. Turner Ph.D., “Prevention is important because (1) maltreatment can be avoided and (2) abuse and neglect can lead to negative consequences such as depression, developmental delays (e.g., speech difficulties), and risk of developing substance abuse during adulthood.”
In this world where anything can happen, and even the closest of friends and family can harm our children, it is only understandable that we do not give our trust so quickly. Don’t give it because they are members of known organizations, or schools, or even a church. If these people are connected in any way with your child, check them out for yourself. And always believe in your intuition. Most likely, you will never go wrong.