10 Tips for Parents Who Want to Protect Children From Child Abuse

By: Dr. Kathryn Seifert

Abuse of children has occurred in every generaton since time began. No one really knows if there is more of it than ever before. However, 3,000,000 cases of child abuse were reported in the US last year. This is a substantial number and needs to be addressed. The news media has hightened our awareness of the problem, so it is time to increase our efforts to protect children. We will do this through educating ourselves about the problem and the solutions and by taking action. The following contains 10 ways to help protect your children from child abuse.

1. TEACHING CHILDREN SKILLS. It is very difficult for a child to refuse the direct command of an adult. What adults tell them to do, they assume is correct and normal. Therefore it is very difficult for children to distinguish between when they can say "no" to an adult and when they can not. However, we can still teach children about "good touch and bad touch," that covers physical and sexual abuse and making it acceptable to talk to a trusted adult about anything that scares or confuses a child. We need to look at how to teach our kids to recognize unacceptable behavior, say "no" to an adult who is doing bad things to them and run and get help if they can. We need to make it acceptable to talk about and report abuse to an authority figure. That being said it is up to us as adults to monitor what is happening to them, know the boundaries, and keep them safe. A child may not be able to say, "no" or even report what is going on, if the adult abusers tells them not to tell anyone.

2. STRANGER DANGER AND TRUSTED ADULT DANGER. It is not only the stangers that pose a risk to our children, it can be someone that is known to and trusted by the family. We can teach our children to not go with a stranger, but what happens when the predator is a relative, preacher, teacher, scout leader, or coach? This is very confusing to parents and children. How do you teach this concept without scaring them? Explain things based on the developmental level of the child and try not to frighten her. It is still your job to be the primary protector. Build an excellent relationship with your children. Talk every day about their activites. Make sure communication is open for ANY topic.

3. PROVIDE THERAPY FOR THE VICTIMS OF ABUSE AND PREDATORS. Child abuse is out of the relm of normal experience. It can be confusing and damaging to children and their parents. The child (or parent) may become depressed, anxious, or hyperactive. She may sleep or eat too little or too much. Her grades may drop and her behavior deteriorate. These may be signs that the abuse was traumatic and caused injury that needs therapy. Have your child evaluated by a professional to determine the need for therapy.

4. TAKE ACTION WHEN A CHILD HAS BEEN ABUSED. The main goal is to catch and stop the perpetrator of child abuse and provide services for the victim. The two main agencies that provide investigations of child abuse are the local, county or state police, and the county Department of Social Services. Both can be found in your phone book. It does not matter who you call first, either agency will advise you about what to do next. Then locate and make an appointment with a counselor or therapist for your child and yourself, if needed. Support anf healing is needed as soon as possible.

5. LOCK THEM UP AND THROW AWAY THE KEY IS NOT ENOUGH. While we would like to throw them under the jail because their crime is so reprehensible, it is more important that they never hurt another child when they are released from incarceration. Most will be released from jail back into the community. Treatment while in jail and when released should be mandatory. It can reduce the risk of someone else's child being hurt.

6. IDENTIFYING CHILD ABUSE TO IMPROVE PREVENTION. Understanding the roots and characteristics of child abuse and child battery points us in the direction of effective prevention and treatment. A portion of adult child abusers and violent predators were abused, neglected, or exposed to domestic violence as children. Therefore, prevention of future sexual will involve efforts to stop childhood abuse, neglect, and domestic violence and treat the victims of these events. Insist, through your legislative process, that sufficient resources are put into protecting the children of your community from abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence.

7. STUDY THE PROBLEM. Child abuse is a complex problem. Only if we study sexual and violent offenders can we prevent their actions. We need to study perpetrators to see what makes them tick and what created their inability to empathize with the pain of another. Research can guide us into prevention and treatment avenues. You can support research in this area by calling your legislators. We can lock them up, but remember they almost all get out of jail. We need "NO MORE VICTIMS" when they are released into the community.

8. PREVENTING TERRORISM GLOBALLY. There are millions, perhaps billions of abandoned "street children" in all parts of the world. They must fend for themselves and are often recruited into criminal gangs and terrorist organizations that will feed, house, and abuse them. There are also international organizations that help care for these abandoned children. Supporting these organizations can helpm dry up the sources of recruits for criminal gangs, child sex rings, and terrorist organizations. If these children are taken care of, we will all be safer.

9. LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ABOUT PREDATORS. There are certain characteristics of violent and sexual offenders that can help you spot a possible predator, but they are also very good at fooling people. They can be the nicest and most helpful person you ever met, but be interested in your child at the same time. Parents need to supervise their children and know about the adults they are with. It is not normal for an adult to spend all of his time with children and no time with other adults. Educate yourself about predators. There is lots of information online.

10. CHILDREN SHOULD ALWAYS BE SUPERVISED BY SOMEONE YOU KNOW AND TRUST. Get to know the people who supervise your child's activities. Don't assume that they are all good people. Ask questions. Get to know them. Question anything suspicious. Talk to other parents about anything that concerns you. It is your child's safety that is at stake, get involved.

You have read 10 ideas about protecting your children. This is just the tip of the iceburg. There are many more. There are several sites on the internet that have information about internet and general safety. Be well educated. There is lots to learn.

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Keep your child safe!! Learn about offenders and prevent child abuse. child abuse offenders, and child abuse prevention

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