Our Call to Action: Child Abuse Prevention Month
As we wrap up Child Abuse Prevention month, let’s focus on a call to action. The presenters at Childhood Victories have a straightforward approach. We share our stories and help others do the same. Using an open dialogue we create an atmosphere that normalizes tough conversations. This is our path, our plan, and the action we choose to take. Take a look at some other prevention strategies:
Resiliency as a Parent
When a parent is emotionally resilient, children pick up on it. Displaying a positive attitude and effectively addressing problems is just part of emotional resilience. Parents who less often direct frustrations towards their kids also display resilience.
Nurturing Home and Nurturing Caregiving
With proper modeling and education, all caregivers have the capacity to be nurturing. Above all, children need to know that they are loved, unique, and safe with those who take care of them. As children experience a nurturing bond with adults, we see an impact in all aspects of their behavior and development.
Social and Emotional Education
When children are engaged in social-emotional learning, they are more likely to foster positive relationships with others. Similarly, children who can communicate their feelings and control behaviors may be a lower risk for abuse and neglect.
Raising children can be exhausting, difficult, and confusing. As parents face the daily challenges within their family, social connections and support make all the difference. Reaching out to friends and family can provide encouragement parents so desperately need. In other words – reach out to the parents in your life!
True Support to Parents
When a home has its basic needs fulfilled, parents are better able to ensure the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of all children. Knowing the phone number to a local crisis center that assists with hardships could make a world of difference to a struggling family.
Making a Report
If you suspect child abuse or neglect, report it to the proper authority. If you are not sure where to start, that’s okay! Fear of a call, however, should not stop you from action. Begin by calling the child abuse hotline. When a child is living the unspeakable, they need someone to speak up.
Whether in the home or community we all play our part in preventing child abuse and fulfilling this call to action. Supporting parents and educating children on emotional management is critical. These steps can lead us to primary prevention and the ultimate goal: stopping abuse before it even begins.
FULL TRANSCRIPT (The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Be Seen and Heard Journey. Please note that this episode, like all BSH Journey episodes, features Victor speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited.)
Call to Action
Hey, it’s Victor and I want to say thank you for joining me today on the Be Seen and Heard journey. Today we are talking about some strategies that you could use as a parent to educate your children at home about this very difficult topic of abuse. I get a lot of moms and dads had asked me,
“Hey Victor, you go to schools, you talk to our kids about it, but how can we implement this at home? It must be easy for you.”
Well, maybe because I have been doing this for a long time and I’m very comfortable talking about it. I know it’s not always easy to talk about a very sensitive topic like abuse. Let me give you some
context. One day my son Angelo came home from school and he said
“dad, today we had our Erin’s law presentation at school.”
I said, “cool, tell me what did you learn?”And he talked about safe touch and unsafe touch. And then he brought up the idea that he’s like,
“Dad, I learned that if I ever find a gun that I’m not supposed to touch it and I’m supposed to go tell an adult right away.”
Well immediately I stopped in my tracks and I am not exaggerating. I went, “what?!”
See, I didn’t know they were talking about “if you ever find a gun”. And I didn’t read that anywhere. So I got really concerned and a little frustrated and a little upset because I don’t even talk to my kids about if you ever find a gun. So I understand that this may not be easy to talk about.
And long story short, as time has gone on, I think it was really good that they did talk to my kids about that because I mean, you never know.I mean, I want them to be aware and I want them to know that if they’re ever in a situation like that and they do happen to find one, let’s say at a friend’s house somewhere while they’re playing hide and seek that they know. Number one, you don’t touch it. And number two, you go tell an adult. Very simple.
And so I’m kind of glad that the school did talk about that. Now let me give you three strategies that I use as a parent at home with my kids.
Number one, if you have different age children at home, you don’t want
to talk the same language to your kindergartner as you would your seventh grader. So if you have a
kindergartener or a young child, you want to use simple language like the words safe touch and unsafe touch. And something that I did when I, my kids were in kindergarten.
First grade is when I would give them a bath. I would use that rule and I would say
“just remember, you know no one touches your private body parts unless it is to keep you clean and healthy.And that would be mommy or daddy or grandma and grandpa. If you spend the night and they’re giving you a bath.”
And that’s different for everybody.
Not everyone allows their grandparents to do that. But for in our situation we do. And then secondly, when you go to the doctor, it’s okay for the doctor to touch you because their job is to you healthy. So that’s a thumbs up and use that thumbs up and thumbs down. And another thing that you want to add to this as you want to do it more than once, you want to make this, you know, they say repetition is the mother of skill.
So you don’t have to do it all the time, but every so often just keep repeating that to your child. I think that’s a really important strategy. And again, don’t use the same language you would for a seventh grader as you would for a kindergartner.
Obviously another strategy, and I should’ve started with this, is just to be aware. I get a lot of parents that say that have said to me all abuse doesn’t happen in our community.
Well I hate to bring bad news, but the bottom line is abuse happens no matter where you’re at.
And it’s really sad, but we have to raise our awareness. So something that I do is when my daughter, who’s in seventh grade, goes to a sleepover,. We have a code phrase that I say basically to her before she goes into the house that basically says this without using the word sexual abuse.
I say the code phrase and she says that I got it. So it just brings the awareness up in her mind so that when she goes into that house that she’s aware of her surroundings and her body.
The third strategy I want to share is this: I’m a firm believer that for me, and I’m being very personal right now, for me, I like to have open communication with my children. My parents, as much as I loved them, they were never the type of parents that would say,
“Hey Victor, if anything’s ever hurting you come to us.”
They just never did that. So with my kids, I’m very open with this. Listen, if anything’s ever bothering you or something’s on your mind, please come to me first. Let’s have that conversation. Okay. Let’s recap.
Number one strategy is raise your awareness as a parent as it pertains to this very difficult topic.
Number two, use simple language, especially if you have younger kids,. Words like safe touch, unsafe touch, and repeat it over and over again.
And number three, build trust and have open communication with your kids as they get older.
I want to thank you so much. Please share this with your family and friends and remember, every child deserves to be seen and heard. Thank you.
Call to Action