Archive for November 2011

Ready or not, here they come: The holidays. Along with the holiday season come the relatives and the insane schedules.

Even though the holidays are stressful, safety conversations with your child shouldn’t be. However, with recent news reports, parents are concerned and safety is on everyone’s mind. Now is the time to take a moment BEFORE things get too crazy hectic and time becomes too short, to talk to your family and create some common sense safety tips.

Safety while shopping

•Have a designated spot (e.g., a sales counter) to meet older kids if you get separated.
•Younger children should know to look for a “mom with kids” if they get lost and need to ask someone for help.
•Have younger kids practice your name and cell phone number.
•Remind kids never to leave the store, no matter what!
•Older kids should always take a friend when going to the mall and not leave the mall with anyone.
•Kids need to check first with you before going anywhere or accepting gifts.
•Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, stores, arcades, or playgrounds.

Safety during holiday parties

•Let your child chose who they wish to show affection to. Do not force them to kiss, hug or sit on someone’s lap (Santa alert!). Kids need to know they have power over their own bodies.
•Check in on kids during large gatherings. Have each adult take 20 minute “shifts” to do a quick walk through the house/yard and check on the kids to make sure that they are doing OK
•Kids should check first with a parent before going off with someone (e.g. to play video games in a bedroom or leaving the house to go play)
•If someone is making your child uncomfortable, such as with excessive tickling, hugging or wrestling, intervene on your child’s behalf to end the behavior. Your child needs to know that you will protect them.
Safety conversations with your child will be better received when you keep them short and simple. Never use scare tactics. There will be lots of interaction with family and friends, new experiences and new places. Take time to practice “what if” scenarios with your kids Taking time to talk safety with your kids will take some of the anxiety out of your holidays.

Categories : Misc.
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Child Grooming: What every adult should know.

The past week has been a firestorm surrounding the Penn State Child Sexual Abuse scandal. We have by now figured out what when wrong. We know horrible mistakes were made. We know horrific crimes were committed. Many of us are left reeling. How could this happen? Is this happening in our community?

Walking in on a child being raped is obviously Child Sexual Abuse in progress. However, it didn’t start “just like that”. Sandusky had a process that he followed to gain access to that child. So how exactly do predators get to the point where they have complete access to a child and complete immunity within a community?

The answer is simple. It is called grooming.

We hear about grooming of children, but before that can happen, a predator must groom the adults. Grooming adults clears the way to victimizing children. If we want to stop children from becoming victims, we need to be able to identify when adults are being tricked and groomed and what the predators grooming steps are.

Steps and Signs of Grooming:

Identifies opportunities, organizations and communities with children
Builds trust through friendships and/or leadership (with the adults and children)
Begins to identify potential victims
Gains access to children
Begins testing boundaries (with children and adults)
Provides presents, praise and privileges (to both the adults and the children)
Creates secrecy
Abuse begins
Uses threats (towards children and sometimes adults) to keep their crimes secret

Adults are responsible for keeping the children in our lives safe. If you observe what you believe is grooming in progress it is your duty to intervene. Talk to a supervisor, talk to your partner, talk to the police, talk to a specialist in Child Sexual Abuse prevention. Limit that person’s access to children immediately. Predators like to fly under the radar. If you start making noise and asking questions you will make it harder for them to be stealth in committing their crimes against children.

Categories : Misc.
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What every adult should watch out for

Predators rely on secrets and flying under the radar to get away with their crimes. On average a predator will commit 200 sex crimes before he is caught. They rarely ever have one victim. Adults need to be on the lookout for red flags and warning signs such as these… and REPORT them.  Then follow up with the authorities and be persistent until you know the child is SAFE.  This insanity against our children MUST stop. America should not be ranked #1 in child abuse in the industrialized nations.

  • Insists upon spending uninterrupted time alone with a child
  • Appears “too good to be true”
  • Frequently walks in on children/teens in the bathroom or changing
  • Continually invites children to spend time alone at their home enticing them with the toys or gadgets
  • Seems overly preoccupied with a particular child
  • Lavishes them with inappropriate attention
  • Shares information with a child that is intended for adults
Categories : Misc.
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My Heart breaks when I read this…

When this article came across my newsfeed.. my heart sank. It sank further, as I read more of the details surrounding the story of the boy, his family and his disappearance.  Children go missing everyday. It is a tragedy in and of itself to think of the anquish of the family… even more so when a picture begins to emerge that indicates that a parent was involved.

This seems to be the case with this little boy…. nothing made sense in the story that the mother provided and in the days since, more and more details emerge that let us know that things were just not right for this struggling family. A bitter custody dispute. A mother suffering from mental illness. A father accused of violence. A previous conviction for both parents for leaving their child alone in a car for an hour in 27 degree weather while they shopped and now a mothers refusal to take a polygraph.

I only hope that behind the scenes, family and friends were there, in the days, weeks and month prior.. trying to help. Those friends and family must be hurting deeply at this moment. I cannot imagine the pain. Enduring the unknown and living in dread for what might be an unthinkable truth. My heart goes out to the family. My wish is thatsomeone made a poor judgement call and that somewhere out there this boy is being hidden, safe and sound and someone will do the right thing and return him.  I hope that he is alive. I hope that he is returned. I hope that justice is delivered for this boy.

Categories : Misc.