Share



                   “Two Elementary School Teachers: Mark Berndt and Martin Springer were arrested and charged with committing lewd acts upon children.” Are you outraged by this story as well as the daily news of heart breaking stories of child abuse at the hands of people we entrust with our children? This recent story of  Miramonte Elementary school in California with not one – not two, but maybe 3 or more adults who abused children is one of those stories that can literally make you feel sick to your stomach.

                    We can’t help but think of all the children who have been through this school. How many may have been abused? Will we ever really know as most children do not report abuse?  But, what we do know is once again, this is another story of adults turning a blind eye and not protecting children. What is it going to take to get the world to understand that child abuse is an epidemic – a sickness that invades our schools, sports fields, places of worship and our homes?  A sickness difficult to sometimes ‘see’ but, life threatening as the consequences for survivors is felt forever. .

                   Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions and it NEEDS be treated. We believe the treatment is Prevention Education. However, that can only happen when the world understands this is not going away, it is just getting worse and that these children being harmed are the future leaders of the world. We need them safe, we need them whole and more importantly they deserve to be safe and have joy in their life. We must start by educating all adults. Thus, the reason for this blog: The following are some tips for parents to help keep their children safe at school.

 

Be Aware of Adults Who:

  • Single out your child or a few children to be alone

  • Give your child gifts or money

  • Are preoccupied with children

  • Are more comfortable with children than adults

  • Are overly physical with children – hugging, tickling, and handling children.

  • Talk to children about inappropriate topics, their bodies, sexual topics

  • Offer to babysit, tutor or play with your child – especially if they don’t have kids

  • Contact your children (via text, phone, Facebook etc.)

  • Share their personal information with children

    • It is inappropriate

    • It is crossing boundaries

    • It is gross misconduct

 

Most important you need communication with your children:

               

               In KidSafe we talk to parents and discuss listening to your gut instincts, your intuition – please don’t suppress it in an attempt to believe that everybody is decent and good because when you do, you put your children at risk of harm.  If it seems too good to be true….it is too good to be true. (Which is unfortunately why when a story of abuse breaks, the teacher, coach, babysitter was often known as the “Best” most wonderful person and people are shocked and have difficulty believing they could have done what they are accused of. This is all part of their grooming process.)

 

These topics should be open and ongoing conversations:

  • You cannot be scared to talk to children about their bodies, about safe and unsafe touches. You should be scared NOT to talk with your children. (Predators look for children whose parents don’t talk about these important issues.)

  • Discuss proper names for body parts and that privates are all the parts of the body covered by bathing suits and are called “private” because they are meant just for you – no one else.

  • Discuss that their bodies are special and belong to them and that no one (not even an adult they know) should ever make them feel confused, uncomfortable, nervous or scared. If they ever do feel this way then they have permission to report to a trusted adult.

  • Discuss the importance of reporting and how to report to a trusted adult if they receive an unsafe touch or are asked to keep a secret that makes them feel confused or uncomfortable.

  • Discuss the “red flags of behavior” (discussed above) and “red flags of secrets”

    • Good secrets have a happy ending, a time limit, the person asking you to keep the secret wants you to tell (and example is a surprise party)

    • Bad secrets makes you feel uncomfortable, confused, nervous, scared, has no time limit as the person telling you to not tell or keep the secret NEVER EVER wants you to tell (example a friend shares with you that her older brother hits her)

      • If someone says “Don’t tell a parent” that is a sure sign that you should report to a trusted adult.

The Reality:

                        At the end of the day, every child is vulnerable to child abuse. However, a child who has open communication with their parents, a child who is taught to not keep secrets, that just because it is an adult does not mean they have to have blind obedience, a child who is taught safe and unsafe touch and boundaries has become a much harder target for a predator and as savvy as the predators can be …they are looking for an easy target.

                        Let’s cure the epidemic of child abuse by empowering our children and educating ourselves and all adults about signs, symptoms what to be aware of to prevent abuse.  Let’s make our children hard targets for predators. For more information www.kidsafefoundation.org to learn how to talk to your children about these sensitive topics please read our 2011 Award Winning Safety Book – “My Body is Special and Belongs To ME!” www.kidsafefoundation.org/products

Share