Posted in Family, raising kids

Protecting your Kids from Predators with Friendly Faces

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a long week of kids, work, and laundry. I’m waiting for summer to begin. We’ve had cold temperatures and rain through most of May after a horrendous winter, so I’m ready for some hot weather. How about you?

Photo credit: CMy23 on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

But enough about the weather, today I’d like to talk about a scary statistic. According to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children are reported missing each year. That’s 2000 children a day.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

This is upsetting. The world is such a dangerous place right now. My hubby used to give me grief for being over-protective, but how can you not be? When pedophiles become troop leaders, teachers, and coaches, how can we be anything but over-protective?

For example, look at what happened at Seton-Keough High school in Baltimore Maryland. The headmaster of the school, Father Maskell, and his group of priests and police officers were abusing the students. Reports were ignored. This abuse has been documented in other Catholic churches as well. The church chose to move these pedophiles from one parish to the next, protecting the abusers. This abuse had been going on for years. We can’t even trust priests. (For more information about the abuse at Seton-Keough high school, check out the Netflix documentary “The Keepers.” It’s very well done.)

 

So, how do you protect your kids? In my research, I’ve found that these pedophiles are smart and manipulative. They prey on kids whose parents are stressed out and can’t be as involved as they’d like to be. The more involved you are with your kids the more likely the pedophile will leave your child alone. They prey on kids who come from one parent homes or there’s alcoholism or drug abuse in the family. They find the needy kids. The ones who need a role model in their lives.

 

Photo credit: dickdotcom on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

One sign that your child is being groomed by one of these sick individuals is they’re getting special attention from them. The abuser may be buying them gifts or taking them out to dinner. If this is happening, you need to step in and take control of the situation.  This person is being “nice” for a reason, and it’s not a good one.

It’s sad when you can’t even trust a person for being nice to your child, isn’t it? So, the best thing you can do is to be involved with your kids. The better relationship you have with them, the less likely a pedophile will be able to get their claws into them.

The same goes for abusers who kidnap kids to violate and then discard. These people watch and learn your child’s schedule and when they find them in a vulnerable position, they snatch them up. That’s why I’m with my kids at the bus stop. It’s usually dark because they have to be at school so early in the morning, but it’s also not well lit. I wouldn’t let my kids stand out there by themselves, waiting for the bus on such a lonely road.

Photo credit: Thiophene_Guy on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Let’s change this horrible statistic by protecting our kids the best way we can. Thanks for reading my post, I kind of picked a frightening subject to write about. Sorry about that. I’ll write something a little lighter next week.

Do you have any ideas on what we can do to change this statistic? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in community, Documentaries, Family, Parenting, raising kids

You Can Make a Difference

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week at work, plus I’m dealing with back to school stuff with the kiddos so I’m feeling a little ragged this evening. This summer certainly went by fast. I didn’t get everything accomplished that I wanted to, but that’s okay. I had a lot of fun with my kiddos, and we made lots of memories. Making memories is an important goal, too. 🙂

Photo credit: Wade Roush on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

I hope your summer went well and you were able to recharge your batteries. Many memorable things happened this season, and one of them was the grand jury report detailing the sexual abuse of over a thousand victims by three hundred priests in Pennsylvania.

The stories are starting to come out. There was the movie “Spotlight” that told the tale of the priests in Boston who abused children and got away with it. Then there was the documentary “The Keepers.”  This story started out as an investigation of the death of one of the Nuns who taught at  Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough  High School. Sister Cathy was murdered and the crime remains unsolved to this day.

Image result for the keepers

Two of her former students (Gemma Hoskins and Abbie Schaub) decided to investigate the murder, and they uncovered horrible abuse of students by the priests running the school. The school they attended. These women believe she was murdered because she found out about the abuse and threatened to take the information to the authorities.

They still don’t know who committed the crime, and it may never be solved because many of the people who know the truth have died. However, all is not lost.  Gemma and Abbie have started a movement across the country. More and more victims are finding the courage to speak out and the horrendous abuse is being exposed. It has also come to light that the Catholic Church moved these guilty priests to different parishes where they continued their victimization. The church did nothing to protect these innocent children.

Image result for the keepers

It’s upsetting to think about especially since very few of the perpetrators of this abuse have gone to prison. That’s the part that upsets me. These abusers destroy lives and then get away with it because the statute of limitations has run out. That’s a total crock.

When is this country going to understand that we need to be protecting our children above everything else?

Photo on Visual Hunt

I mean the church is supposed to be our moral compass and look what they are? A bunch of pedophiles who use their religion to hunt for prey. And what’s worse? Their superiors covered it up and allowed the perpetrators to go on abusing. This makes me sick.

However, there is a bright light in all of this. Times are changing and the support the victims are receiving from all over the world is amazing. The two women who’re investigating Sister Cathy’s death have formed a Facebook group where survivors and supporters can come together. There are literally thousands of members in this group. People from all over the world can discuss theories, share information, and support each other. It’s nothing short of phenomenal.

Photo credit: Matthew Fang on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

And there’s a snowball effect happening. More and more victims are coming forward and more and more priests are being outed. I know the progress is slow and may not be enough for some people, but some progress is better than none. The efforts of these two women are bringing about reform so this type of victimization will never happen again. It could even topple the Catholic Church. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing. They’ve abused their power. They don’t deserve to have it any longer.

Photo credit: Nebojsa Mladjenovic on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

So at the end of the day, when you’re feeling small and insignificant and you just don’t think what you do makes a difference, think of these two women and how their efforts have snowballed into something great. Then raise you’re weary head, take a deep breath, and strive forward. Carry on sweet warrior. The battle is long and hard, but it is worth the fight.

Photo on VisualHunt.com

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids

Protecting our Kids from Abuse

 

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a nice Easter holiday. I know I did, and it was just what I needed to get back on track with my writing. I’ve been working on my revisions, and I’m excited about the way my story is coming together. But enough about that. I’m back today to talk about a serious subject.  One I feel strongly about, and that subject is protecting our kids from abuse.

Our children are innocents. They don’t have the emotional capacity to deal with a predator when they come across one and let’s face it, most of them look like you or me. Some of them are doctors or priests. (Don’t get me started on the Catholic Church and the abuse they covered up for years.) They’re adults and they know how to manipulate and control their victims. To a child these people look trustworthy and they are everywhere, online, in schools and in our churches. So how can we protect our kids?

Photo credit: Stijn Goris via Visual hunt / CC BY-ND

First of all, let’s look at what type of victim predators look for. It’s the same type of victim whether the predator is a pedophile, a human trafficker, or an abuser. The type of child they look for is someone who doesn’t have a strong support system. A loner. A kid who doesn’t have a lot of friends or a strong family unit. They’re looking for a kid who’s emotionally needy. Someone they can ply with compliments and gifts so the kid becomes dependent on them for their self-esteem, and that’s when the abuse starts.

So how do we make sure we don’t raise victims? By being an involved parent. These predators don’t go after the kid whose parent is present watching baseball practice and cheering their youngster on. They don’t go after the kid whose parent is there picking them up from school every day. They go after the ones who don’t have a strong role model. The ones where the parent maybe is dealing with issues of their own, the death of a spouse, a divorce, or a mental illness.

Photo via VisualHunt

So how do we protect the kids whose parents are going through a divorce or a sudden death? That’s when we have to look to our community to help out. If you can’t be at the bus stop to pick up your kid, ask a neighbor to watch them to make sure they make it home, or if you can afford it, hire a babysitter. Someone responsible enough to be there for them.

Photo via Visual Hunt

If there is strong community support, predators can’t get in and our children are safe. Let’s face it. If our kids aren’t safe then we all lose, wouldn’t you agree?

Also, talk to your kids. Teach them to be suspicious of adults, who aren’t in your family, who buy them gifts and seem to give them a lot of attention. Teach them to be their own advocate. Tell them it’s okay for them to tell an adult, “I’m not comfortable with this. Please stop.” And tell them they can yell it if they need to. They won’t be punished for it. Let’s keep our littles safe.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I feel strongly about this and I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any ideas on ways to protect our kids you’d like to share? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in USA

American Greed

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back and I’m here to talk about the world we live in today. After reading the book “Detroit: An American Autopsy,” I was upset. The level of corruption in this story was heartbreaking especially when you see the innocent lives that have been lost because of it.

Detroit: An American Autopsy by [LeDuff, Charlie]

I’m sad because the men in power put their own greed above the lives of these people. That in a nutshell is what’s wrong with our world today. This feeling that there isn’t enough. We have to have more. Where did this come from?

I know it’s a competitive streak. We all want to be the best, but what determines the best? What magical standards are we trying to achieve? The thing is we’re all as unique as snowflakes. Let’s celebrate that. If we were all comfortable in our own skins we wouldn’t feel the need to keep up with the Jones. We’d be too busy wallowing in our happiness to care what they were doing.

Photo via VisualHunt

          That’s why we as humans must become internally oriented. We must decide what makes us happy and work toward those goals and allow everyone else the same freedom. We’ll be so busy making ourselves happy we won’t have time to see what our neighbors are doing. If we let go of judging other people and they in turn let go of judging us, we’ll have a happier society.

I know what you’re thinking. Sure that takes care of the neighborhood when times are golden, but what about when times are tough?  Like they are now. That’s a good question and I’m here to tell you that we need to make a major shift in our society. We see what’s happening in cities like Detroit and Flint. We see how corruption destroyed people during the housing bubble, we see how the market is manipulated on Wall Street. We even see how the Catholic Church covered up abuse in their hierarchy, but we don’t do anything about it.  When I think about all those priests who abused kids in their parishes and got caught. It makes me sick. It makes me even more nauseous when I think about how the church covered up the abuse. They moved these priests around. Not one priest went to jail. Not one. We should’ve been marching at the steps of Rome over that one.

 

Photo credit: Greg Hayter via VisualHunt / CC BY

          It appears to me, there are two sets of laws in our country. The people in power can break the law and no one goes to jail.  The average Joe pulls one of their stunts and it’s a totally different story. It’s in the papers and on the news.  This has to change. There’s one set of laws for all of us. All of us. And it’s simple. If you break the law, you are held accountable. There are no excuses.  How do you feel about that? Leave a comment. I’d love to read how you feel!

To learn more about some of the points I brought up in this post click the links below:

My Thoughts on the Movie Spotlight: Corruption in the Catholic Church

My Thoughts on the Big Short

My Thoughts on Money Monster

Posted in Entertainment, Parenting, Uncategorized

My Thoughts on the Movie Spotlight

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve just sent my WIP off to my beta reader and I’m crossing my fingers that she likes it. 🙂

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I went to see the movie Spotlight with my mother. I wanted to see how the Catholic Church had been exposed for the abuse they had allowed to happen.

Spotlight

The movie was well done. I liked the characters and the way they instilled humor while discussing a very dark issue. The plot development seemed realistic and I feel that it was as close to the real life events as we’re going to get.
The truth of the movie sickened me. It enraged me to think about the priests who perpetrated the crimes and all the church did was move them to another parish, or put them into some kind of rehabilitation program. When they moved, they continued their abuse and the church did nothing for the victims.

 

This is the part that upsets me the most. How could they ignore the victims? I mean here they are supposedly teaching us about morality and they not only allow this type of abuse, they cover it up.

 

This tells me that we must be our children’s guardian at all times. If this type of abuse can happen in a church, it can happen anywhere.

 

Here are the warning signs of abuse:

  • Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
  • Nightmares, sleeping problems
  • Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
  • Becoming unusually secretive
  • Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
  • Regressing to younger behaviors, e.g. bedwetting
  • Unaccountable fear of particular places or people. Outburst of anger.
  • Changes in eating habits
  • New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts. Self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
  • Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy. Running away
  • Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person
Image courtesy of Allthefreestock.com

http://allthefreestock.com/

I found this list on this site, and for more information click here:

http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/warning_signs.htm

This movie opened my eyes to how vulnerable our children are. These abusers seek out professions that put them in contact with kids. They’re not just priests, they’re Teachers, Child Psychologists, and Childcare Directors. Thankfully we do have some checks in place. I know my local school conducts background checks on all their employees, most schools do, but that doesn’t mean we should be lax about picking up the warning signs.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I’d love to read your thoughts! Please leave a comment!

 

Posted in Guest Author, Health

Please Welcome Jodi Desautels As she Talks About “Emotional Literacy”

Hello everyone!  My name is Jodi Desautels and I will be guest blogging today.  Not long ago, Lisa guest posted for me.  She did so well, I posted it on two different blogs.  I hope you caught it on at least one of my blogs:  DUO Education Learning Blog and Little Chatter Box.  If not feel free to check them out.  Anyway, now it is my turn to post.  I hope you enjoy it.

Today, I’d like to discuss something I find very important:  teaching children to identify and express their feelings.  The term for this is “Emotional Literacy.”

I believe that Emotional Literacy is one of the most overlooked skills in childhood.

Some schools have guidance programs that teach children to identify and express feelings, but not all schools.  Also, according to Parenting.com, emotional literacy can be taught as early as 18 months.  This will cut down on behavior issues that form, because children do not have the skills to identify and express what they are feeling.  (Think, “fewer temper tantrums.”)

As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, state that the ability of children being able to express feelings is linked to a decrease in child abuse and neglect.  Parents, especially at risk parents, are less likely to lose patience and ignore or strike out at a child who is behaving well.

Teaching a child about feelings and how to express those feelings may even decrease the chance that he or she may get abused, bullied, or violated as an adult as well.  People, who are assertive, know their feelings, speak their mind, and have high self-esteem make poor targets for violence.

With that in mind, the question becomes, “how do you teach your child to identify and express his or her feelings clearly?”  Parenting.com has some strategies that parents may use to teach Emotional Literacy.   Options may include discussing feelings and emotions with a child, practice making faces to fit various emotions, play games which require stating feelings or showing emotions, and reading books that depict various feelings.

    I wrote a wonderful concept book titled, “Clarinda Cloud,” for ages 2-6 that targets both feelings and colors.  This is a fabulous book to use while discussing feelings with your child.  Clarinda Cloud expresses various feelings with a face to match the emotion.  While reading and looking through the book, you could say things such as, “here is Clarinda Cloud’s shy face, what does your shy face look like?  Can you show me your shy face?”

“Clarinda Cloud” can be found at:

*Barnesandnoble.com

*Amazon.com

*Kindle

Lisa, I would like to thank you for this wonderful opportunity to guest post and also to tell everyone about one of my children’s book, “Clarinda Cloud.”  I hope you and your readers will come visit me some time at DUO Education and SmallReads Book Corner.  I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.  Also, feel free to email me at duo_dynamics@yahoo.com.

Thanks for being here today Jodi and sharing your thoughts with us on Emotional Literacy! Your book sounds like an excellent way for parents to introduce this to their children!