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!

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Posted in Emblazon

October’s Tween Meme–Social Networking for Tweens!

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! It’s time for the October Tween Meme! You can check out the other Emblazoners Posts by clicking this link: http://emblazoners.com/tween-the-weekends

I decided to write about something that is prevalent in our society right now, and that is Social Networking. It seems like new social networks are popping up all over the internet. What exactly is it?

Social Networking is the grouping of individuals into specific categories. For example, you could join a group if you love reading where the focus is on books. You could even join a group that enjoys a specific genre, like mysteries. There are all kinds of groups available, and people only join a particular group if they are interested in the focus of the group. But, where do you find these groups?

These groups are found on Social Networking Sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or Tumblr. What’s exciting about Social Networking is that you could establish a relationship with someone on the other side of the world. What an awesome way to broaden your horizons.

However, there are risks involved with Social Networking too. Just as there are predators in the real world, there are predators on social media as well. These predators can lie and join these groups. Their goal is to establish a relationship with you, to build your trust so they can eventually finagle a meeting in real life. The bottom line is they have an agenda.

So what can a tween/teen do to protect herself?  That is a very good question. I would recommend going to a site that is set up especially for tweens/teens. There are a couple of new Social Networking Sites that take into consideration the risks that interacting on the internet can expose young girls to. One of them is called TeenXpress, and here’s the link: http://teenxpress.com/

I’ve spoken with the creator of this site and her focus is developing a safe environment for tweens/teens, so they can interact socially. When you create an account, the system asks for your date of birth. If you’re over a certain age, you won’t be able to continue the process. After all, it’s just for tweens/teens.

I know what you’re thinking, sometimes people lie. That’s true, but there are also filters within the system that will flag the administrators if someone isn’t chatting in an appropriate manner. When the flags go up that person can be kicked out of the network. Most other networks do not have this kind of system in place. In other networks, a member has to report the bad behavior of the offender in order for any action to occur. In fact, other networks find thousands of predators in just this way and their memberships are revoked daily.

Another site that’s available is http://www.everloop.com/. On this site parents are required to supervise their children and it’s also set up to protect your child from cyber-bullying and inappropriate content.

Even on these sites, teens should use caution and trust their instincts. Don’t give out too much personal information and be careful whom you engage.

Also, don’t forget to get together with your friends from real life too! Even social networking can’t take the place of real interaction with your peers.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Leave a comment; I’d love to read your thoughts. If you need a break from Social Media, check out the Emblazoner’s Books! They’re great tween reads!  Here’s the link: http://emblazoners.com/our-books/

Thanks again for stopping by!

Posted in Uncategorized

Stop Abuse before it starts

Hello Everyone! I hope you enjoyed Laurie Cameron’s post last week! I’m back this week discussing another issue that faces our young people of today. And the topic that’s on my mind is a serious one.

As I’m sure you all know Jerry Sandusky was found Guilty on forty five of the forty eight counts of sexual abuse that he was charged with. This didn’t surprise me at all.  The man is a predator and he’s the worse kind because he appears to be such a nice guy.

As I pondered this case, I started thinking about the victims. How did they get involved with their abuser? How does this start?

As I researched this horrendous event I noticed that these kids are groomed by their abuser long before the abuse happens. The kids are given special attention and gifts from the abuser. He builds a rapport with the child and breaks down his or her boundaries. This is the reason the abuse continues over a number of years, because the victim is so confused about what is happening. The abuser is so nice.

I also noticed that the abuser targeted children that were in less than ideal circumstances. Look at the kids Sandusky abused. They came from the charity he founded called “The Second Mile”, a charity for underprivileged and at risk youths. These kids didn’t have parents or didn’t have a lot of parental involvement.

I realized that was the key right there, parental involvement. Abusers will not target children who have good relationships with their parents, because they don’t want to get caught.

So parents, get involved with your kids. Go to their sporting events and get to know their coach. Hang out with them once in a while. Find out who they’re hanging out with when you’re not there. And if you see an adult being overly attentive to your child and buying him/her gifts, you should be on high alert. This is a huge red flag and the relationship should be nipped in the bud, or at the very least supervised.  Let’s stop this kind of abuse before it starts.

Sadly, even when parents are involved with their children abuse still happens. So here are some warning signs to look out for that show your child may have been or is being abused.

Behaviors

  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Excessive Masturbation
  • Asking questions about specific sex acts
  • Age in-appropriate sex play with friends, siblings, pets, or toys may indicate abuse has occurred.
  • Thinking that the body is dirty or bad
  • Sexual nightmares where the child wakes up screaming or sweating


Physical Symptoms

  • Urinary Tract or Yeast Infections
  • The child starts wetting the bed
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Eating may become difficult; the child may gag or complain about painful swallowing.
  • Difficulty Urinating or Deficating
  • Bloody Urine or Stool

For more detailed information about these signs click the link below:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/225236-signs-of-sexual-abuse-in-children-teens/

Abuse is a serious problem. If you suspect your child has been abused please seek professional help.

I want to thank Livestrong.com for some of the information provided in this post.

I also wanted to let everyone know, that there won’t be a blog post next Thursday as I won’t have internet access next week (Scheduled maintenance) but I’ll be back the week after that. J