Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Teen, Writing

Protecting Our Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week of revisions and editing. My revisions for my first MS have been sent off to my beta readers, and I’ve started editing my rough draft of my second one.  I’m crossing my fingers. The characters in these books have made me work hard and I’m proud of the results. Let’s hope the Beta readers like them.

Photo on Visual hunt

But enough about that. Last week I wrote a post about finding your passion because I’d done an author visit at one of the schools in the area. I received some emails from some of the students who enjoyed my presentation and I thought I’d share one of them with you.

 

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for coming to our school and talking to us 6th graders about your awesome books! I got the second book from the Super Spies series, and I am so excited to read it! Thank you for answering all of our questions. We learned a lot about being an author and how to write good stories!

Thanks Again!

 

When I get feedback like this, it makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth it. I love inspiring kids to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their dreams. After my presentation last week, some of the kids gathered around me and told me about the stories they were writing. Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and sparked my resolve to keep going with my writing.  It’s funny all it takes is spending some time with kids, and it urges me to keep pushing forward.

Photo credit: Jiuck on Visual Hunt /CC BY-NC-SA

 

Our kids are our most valuable resource. We need to protect them. It seems like our world is getting more and more dangerous and our kids are the ones suffering because of it. We have human traffickers, mass shootings, and child abuse.

 

Photo on Visual hunt

 

How do we protect our kids?

 

To protect our kids from human traffickers and child abuse we parents must be involved in our children’s lives. Most predators target kids who come from low income homes, whose parents are busy trying to make ends meet. They also target kids with low self-esteem. Kids who don’t have a role model to look up to. So in a nutshell, we have to do a better job at parenting.

Photo credit: akahawkeyefan on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

 

As for Mass shootings, better parenting is only half of the answer. We also need to have stronger communities. For those families whose circumstances aren’t ideal, the community should pull together and support them. Make sure the children don’t fall through the cracks and become victims of bullying and other stressors that affect teens. Once we’ve got those support systems in place, then we can move forward from there.

My next question for everyone is this. How do we go from an idealistic kid like the one above to a kid who’ll take a gun into a school and shoot up his classmates? If we can answer that question, we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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Posted in Parenting, Teen

What is the Underlying Cause of Addiction?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you and that you’re having an awesome summer. We’ve had a couple of weeks of hot, sticky weather and it’s the type of summer I used to love. However, I’m old now and the heat isn’t quite as much fun. Thank God for Air Conditioning! 🙂

It saddened me this week when I learned of Chester Bennington’s death. For any of you who haven’t heard, he was the lead singer of Linkin Park and he committed suicide this week.

 

It just breaks my heart that someone who gave so much to the world struggled with drugs and alcohol. I was further saddened when I found out that Chester was abused when he was a child by an older male.

I’ve done a little research on alcohol and drug abuse and it’s my opinion that the majority of addictions stem from abuse. Either emotional, physical, or sexual. I believe an addiction is a form of self-medication that has run amuck.

Photo via VisualHunt

Addiction is a symptom of a much bigger problem. So we as a society need to stop treating addiction like it’s something to be ashamed of. We need to support our addicts and help them get better. How do we do that?

 

Photo via VisualHunt

Good question and I’m glad you asked. 🙂

We need to treat the underlying cause of the addiction. We need to get our loved one into therapy so he can deal with the abuse he has received. Once we give him coping mechanisms for that abuse, the need to self-medicate will disappear.

I know it sounds so easy, but we all know it’s not. Dealing with the shame, fear, and anxiety this abuse causes is extremely hard. Abusers are smart. They know how to manipulate and control their victims so they can come back and abuse them over and over again.

That’s why it’s more important than ever to speak up and stop them. A fine example of this is the documentary, “The Keepers.” I know I’ve mentioned this one a number of times, but I’ve got to say I’m amazed by the outpouring of support the victims of Father Maskell have received. There are over one hundred thousand members in their Facebook group and the majority of members offer support to the victims who are willing to speak out about the abuse they’ve experienced.

Their goal is to get the Archdiocese to release their files on Father Maskell. They’ve got a petition going where they are asking the Bishop to release the files. If you’d like to sign the petition, click here:

Petition for The Archdiocese to Release Files on Father Maskell

They’ve got about forty thousand signatures and they’re hoping to reach fifty thousand.  This is a step in the right direction. The church needs to be held accountable for hiding the abuse and not turning the pedophiles into the authorities.

There are other forms of abuse that priests and other members of our society are involved in as well. I’m talking about human trafficking. Recently, I watched the documentary, “I am Jane Doe.”  Here’s the link to the trailer.

I am Jane Doe

Teens are being taken right off the streets and sold online. They are forced to have sex up to twenty times a day. It’s happening in every state in the US. It’s not just a problem overseas. How do we stop this?

By arresting the people who pay for this kind of thing. Once you eliminate the demand there’s no one to buy the product. I know easier said than done. (I think I’ll save this one for another blog post. It deserves its own.)

Photo credit: dualdflipflop via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

This is another form of abuse that will lead to addiction if these victims don’t get help. These victims did nothing to deserve this kind of treatment, but our society engages in victim-blaming quite often. So not only are they dealing with trying to come to terms with what happened to them, they’ve got society pointing an accusing finger as well. So you see how easy it is to slip into self-medicating behavior?

Once we step forward and stop the victim-blaming, we’ll be able to provide these people with the counseling and help they need. This is a huge step, I know. There are so many abused people in the world today. I’m not sure how to do it, but I’m open to ideas.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How about you? Do you have any ideas on what more we can do to stop this horrific abuse? Leave a comment. 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 Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

“Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution”

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m discussing an organization that is fighting the problem of Human Trafficking. It’s an insidious crime against our teens and I’m sad to say that Michigan is ranked number two in this arena.

The organization I’m talking about is S.O.A.P. Have you heard of it? It’s the acronym for “Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution.”  S.O.A.P. was founded by author, advocate, and survivor, Theresa Flores.  To read Theresa’s full story click here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theresa_Flores

Theresa became a victim of Human Trafficking when her family moved to an upper-crust neighborhood in Detroit. This abuse went on for two years. Theresa would be pulled out of class to be sold, but would return home every night. (You don’t want to get me started on the fact that the school officials looked the other way. That’s a whole blog post by itself.) Her family knew nothing of her situation. She kept it a secret because of threats against her family and fear of exposure. That’s how these traffickers work. They use the adolescents’ fears and shame against them, and this makes them extremely successful and very dangerous.

S.O.A.P. reaches out to the victims at their lowest points. This organization travels to cities who are hosting big events like sporting events, auto shows, or art competitions and distributes soap to hotels with an emergency number listed on it. This number puts them into contact with authorities who can come save them from their situation.

This organization also trains hotel staff about Human Trafficking and what the signs are, so they can report any suspicious activity to authorities as well.

Parents also need to educate their children about Human Trafficking and how these criminals manipulate and control their victims. Our teens need to break the code of silence that is imposed on them by the traffickers and allows them control.

If this code of silence is broken the traffickers have no power over their victims, and it will be much more difficult to continue perpetrating these crimes.

One other area that needs examination is the customers of the Human Trafficking Industry. This industry is very lucrative. Where are these customers coming from? Don’t they realize the girl they’re abusing is someone’s daughter? Could be their daughter? I believe we need higher penalties for the men who pay for this. Without customers this industry would dry up.

We’re all accountable when an industry like this flourishes. What can you do in your community to stop Human Trafficking?

More of Theresa’s story

Human Trafficking: Crimes against our Teens

Posted in Parenting, Teen

Human Trafficking: Crimes against our Teens

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I have finished my WIP, and all the tweaks my Beta Reader wanted me to make. I’m excited about this one. I can see the improvement in my writing and it just feels awesome. I’m sure you know what I mean! 🙂

I’m back today and it’s been awhile since I discussed a teen issue, so I thought I should talk about one that I’ve just become aware of. I didn’t know this, but the state of Michigan is ranked number two in Human Trafficking, the sex trade to be exact. When I found out, I couldn’t believe it. I was appalled and shocked. Nevada is ranked number one.

What is Human Trafficking exactly?

That’s a good question. Human Trafficking is the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation.

Image courtesy of allthefreestock.com

http://allthefreestock.com/

According to the article below, Human Trafficking is a highly lucrative trade. There are high profits and low risks. This occurs in the agricultural, manufacturing, and construction industries. For more information click the link below:

http://www.thetimesherald.com/story/opinion/columnists/2016/01/20/human-trafficking-real-problem-michigan/79055920/

Teens and runaways are at a high risk for this trade. These isolated individuals are lured into the industry with promises of love, affection, and gifts.

Photo courtesy of allthefreestock.com

http://allthefreestock.com/

I’m shocked Michigan, my state, is number two, but according to my research it’s because we’re so close to Canada. Traffickers are taking their victims across the border and forcing them into this illegal trade.

I’m drawing the conclusion that once these victims are across the border, they become much harder to find. According to the article below, many people feel that the Canadian penalties for this crime are too lax. Read more here:

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/report-says-canada-too-lax-on-sex-trafficking-1.408336

For more information regarding the Human Trafficking Industry click the link below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Canada

It sounds like this is happening right under our noses. How do we know what Human Trafficking looks like? Below are some guidelines.

Signs of Human Trafficking:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

 

If you suspect someone is a victim of this crime you can call your local law enforcement agency and report your suspicions, or you can call any of the hotlines listed below:

  • Call 1-866-DHS-2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) to report suspicious criminal activity to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tip Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The Tip Line is accessible outside the United States by calling 802-872-6199.
  • Submit a tip at http://www.ice.gov/tips. Highly trained specialists take reports from both the public and law enforcement agencies on more than 400 laws enforced by ICE HSI, including those related to human trafficking.
  • To get help from the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733). The NHTRC can help connect victims with service providers in the area and provides training, technical assistance, and other resources. The NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The NHTRC is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a nongovernmental organization funded by the Federal government.

Click the link below for more information:

http://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/identify-victim?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=stp&utm_campaign=search-stp

Check out the below petition to change legislation to stop Human Trafficking:

https://www.covenanthouse.org/help-the-homeless/pledge/12-bills?origin=DHQEI1600EJRVN&interest_id%5B0%5D=2781&gclid=Cj0KEQiA89u1BRDz8enExq7rvN0BEi

Thanks for reading my post today. If you have any ideas how we can stop this crime from occurring please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from  you!