Is stranger really a danger?

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Let’s talk about child safety today. I stumbled upon this article and felt it was important to share it with you. I never really thought about it this way. And yet, yes, our kids shouldn’t be afraid of all strangers, you never know when they might need help and will be afraid to ask. And who is a stranger? It is hard to explain, and it is even harder for a little kid to practice when someone comes up, introduces himself/herself, and they are not strangers anymore. You’d be surprised how easy it is for an adult to cross this”stranger” line and win a child’s trust. Continue reading

Children are the owners of their bodies

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This is another subject that might puzzle some parents but it is a very SERIOUS issue that we all need to think about. What is more important, your child’s future well-being and ability to respect his/her own body or your relative/friend’s temporarily hurt feelings? I know I pick my children’s side on this. No forced hugs, kisses or other physical displays of affection that have no meaning, it is much better to let your kids decide when and how they want to express their love for others. Continue reading

Obedience should not be the goal

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Do you believe in strict discipline? Do you use physical punishment at home? Do you make your children fear you? Would they be looking for emotional support elsewhere because they do not get it at home? Even at the price of their own bodily autonomy? Would they trust you enough to tell you that they have been sexually abused? Would you like to prevent that from happening to your child??? Think about these questions and research gentle discipline.

This article discusses sexual abuse and here is a short preview:
http://www.coe.int/t/dg3/children/1in5/Source/PublicationSexualViolence/Hitrec.pdf

“Having good communication with children is of key importance. It implies openness, determination, straightforwardness and a friendly, non-intimidating atmosphere. It can facilitate giving children clear guidelines to ensure their safety and teaching them how to recognise potential dangers. This is the only way for adults to pave the way for children to speak openly about their concerns and doubts, or disclose sexual abuse. Continue reading

Reasons not to hit your child

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Spanking is wrong. That is all I will say for now. Find out more from the article for yourself, and you will see why I feel this way.
I tried to offer a preview of most important points, but the whole article is much more informative:
http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/discipline-behavior/spanking/10-reasons-not-hit-your-child

“10 Reasons Not to Hit Your Child

1. HITTING MODELS HITTING
There is a classic story about the mother who believed in spanking as a necessary part of discipline until one day she observed her three- year-old daughter hitting her one-year-old son. When confronted, her daughter said, “I’m just playing mommy.” This mother never spanked another child.Children love to imitate, especially people whom they love and respect. They perceive that it’s okay for them to do whatever you do. Parents, remember, you are bringing up someone else’s mother or father, and wife or husband. The same discipline techniques you employ with your children are the ones they are most likely to carry on in their own parenting. The family is a training camp for teaching children how to handle conflicts. Studies show that children from spanking families are more likely to use aggression to handle conflicts when they become adults.
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Teaching children about abduction

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I know some people think we shouldn’t scare children and shouldn’t make them think all strangers are bad. I know that such abductions are rare and fail in comparison to other violent crimes against children. But you know what? They do happen, and they do take innocent lives.
I also think there is a difference between scaring children needlessly and teaching them to recognize dangerous behavior, and equipping them with important information that could potentially help save their life.
I am trying to introduce the concept to my 3 y/o by mentioning some things when we are out in public: explaining that sometimes mommy might not be there when something happens, and whom she could approach for help, or what she should NOT do if asked by someone she doesn’t know, or even someone she thinks she knows. Or what to do if she gets lost in a store. Things like that. I am planning to keep adding relevant information as she gets older, not to overwhelm her all at once with a scary concept and too much complicated advice.
Because it is better to be safe than sorry. And it is better to know I have tried to give her the tools to protect herself if I am not around. Now, let’s hope it never happens to you or anyone you know, of course.

I am going to copy the whole article here, because I just don’t think I can cut any information out this time:
http://www.denvercac.org/PreventAbduction.html

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Protect your children from predators

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I think we all established that tickling should be done very carefully, and should be stopped as soon as a child either asks for it to stop or shows that it is not pleasant anymore.
I am sure loving and respectful parents will know exactly when not to cross the line. But how about non-parents who try to tickle your children? What do you do and how should you respond?

This is a VERY important article for all parents to read at least once in their life. You can never know enough to prevent abuse until you learn how it happens and what signs to look for: http://www.renegadepopo.com/how-pedophiles-groom.php

“How Pedophiles Seduce Children:

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To tickle or not to tickle?

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Tickling is such a touchy subject, I know some will disagree but hopefully this will help some of you to look at it from a different angle. All I know is that I personally hate tickling, I have bad memories about it from my childhood, I can’t stand anyone even hinting at trying to tickle me. Do I want my kids to have the same memories in the future? Definitely not, so we don’t abuse tickling in our house and only do it for a short while if kids ask for it. There are other wonderful alternatives to family bonding like this great article from HandinHand Parenting explains. Continue reading

The Mama Bear Effect

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There are some causes that everyone should know about and support. Sexual abuse is a horrible thing. Child sexual abuse is something I can not even believe exists in this world. It always makes me want to cry knowing that some small child somewhere is going through this nightmare this very moment, without anyone being able to help him/her. And the abuser gets away with it, time after time.

The Mama Bear Effect tries to get more people involved through their education and abuse prevention activities, and I admire them for their work and determination. Also on Facebook.

In their own words:

“Mission:
To unite and educate parents, community leaders, childcare providers, and like-minded citizens on how to prevent and end child sexual abuse.

We organize events to build awareness, organize opportunities for our online community to spread the word in their own communities, and use Facebook as an opportunity to reach out to people to help them gain an understanding of the reality of child sexual abuse and how it can be prevented. We support and network with other organizations working for the same cause of ending child sexual abuse.

Child sexual abuse is a silent epidemic. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are victims of child sexual abuse. Yet 90% of cases are never reported. The abusers are not strangers lurking in the dark. They are family, friends, peers, neighbors, people involved in community organizations with access to children. We as parents, family, friends, and caring community members, have an obligation to arm ourselves with the tools to ensure we are doing the most we can to prevent our children and other people’s children from being victims of this type of abuse. It doesn’t matter if you live with a white picket fence or in public housing – child sexual abuse affects all communities, regardless of race, faith, or class.”

Spanking is sexual abuse

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Spanking as a form of discipline? THINK AGAIN!

This is an amazing article breaks it down into smallest details. Worth reading and reconsidering your old ways of discipline: http://nospank.net/sexdngrs.htm

“By TOM JOHNSON

Spanking, defined as slapping of the buttocks, is a form of hitting and thus of physical violence. That fact alone should make the spanking of children unacceptable by the same standards that protect adults, who are not as vulnerable. However, there is more to spanking than simply hitting: spanking also trespasses on one of the body’s most private and sexual areas—the buttocks. To fully address the wrongness of spanking children, therefore, we must consider not only the issue of physical violence, but also the issue of sexual trespass. While the harm of spanking’s physical violence has been thoroughly explained and demonstrated over the past century in a vast body of academic literature, scientific research, legal treatises, and relatively recently in the popular media, it is quite rare that the sexual consequences of spanking are openly and seriously discussed. This pamphlet aims to raise public awareness about the sexual aspects which make spanking an especially inappropriate and even dangerous way of disciplining children, whether it is done by parents, educators or other caretakers. While this pamphlet focuses on “spanking,” the most seemingly benign form of physical punishment, the arguments raised herein apply equally to paddling, switching, caning, strapping, or any other mode of forcible buttock-beating.
Buttocks are a sexual zone
Like women’s breasts, the buttocks are a sexual or erogenous part of the human anatomy, even though they are not actually sex organs. This is why baring one’s buttocks in public is considered indecent as well as unlawful and why their exposure in movies or on television constitutes nudity. It is also why someone who uninvitedly fondles another person’s buttocks is treated by law as a sexual offender. The sexual nature of the buttocks is explained not only by their proximity to the genitals, but also by their high concentration of nerve endings which lead directly to sexual nerve centers. Hence, the buttocks are a major locus of sexual signals.

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No Santa Photos, please!

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I have very strong feelings about making kids do something against their will, especially when they are trying to tell us something. In this case, that they are afraid, not comfortable, and scared to be on a strange-looking guy’s lap alone, while their parents seem to enjoy this moment and even take a photo of it. Holidays are about joy, love, and trust, and not tears, anger, and bad memories about how your parents’ choices destroyed your holidays.

This is an interesting article Santa in the Mall. What’s that got to do with child abuse? from Dawn Awakening. Read the full text over there, and here is a preview:

“Have you seen the parent standing in the queue for Santa with a toddler in the midst of a tantrum? Or the one offering bribes, coaxing, begging, even demanding that little Jane or John sit on Santa’s lap “just for a minute”. Have you seen children crying, reaching out for help or simply in despair after being forced to do something they simply didn’t want to do? The photo is produced and the parent is annoyed because their little one wouldn’t smile for the camera. Why? Why is this piece of paper so much more important than the child’s feelings? We are not talking about getting a child to wear their seatbelt or hold hands to cross the street, it’s a PHOTO!!

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