Protecting Our Grandchildren From Sexual Abuse

Statistics on the number of sexually abused children in America are staggering and sickening. My mind-and heart-can barely comprehend these facts. Yet it has happened to a child we know or see every day, perhaps to one we personally love. Many caregivers are naive (myself included) and uneducated about the issue of child sexual abuse. I am just a grandmother who desires to see her grandchild grow up in a safe environment where his innocence remains intact. So I cannot offer words of professional advice. But many programs and tool are available to help us learn how to protect our kids from this awful plague.

  • 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused
  • Over 90% of abusers are known to the child
  • Over 60% of teenage mothers were sexually abused
  • 20% of victims are under 8 years old

**Information from the D2L website**

The Darkness To Light training is available online and through social service programs. I have spent a lot of time on the website and it offers a multitude of information to help us know what to do and to look for in protecting our kids. One of the programs is called Stewards of Children-Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Training Program. The online class takes about 2.5 hours to complete and can be done in phases. One may stop at any point and resume at the same point later. Several classes are offered for only $10 each and a certificate of completion is issued upon completion.

The following is  direct from the website itself:

www.d2l.org

 

What Topics are Covered in Stewards of Children?

  • Facts about the problem of child sexual abuse.
  • The types of situations in which child sexual abuse might occur.
  • Simple, effective strategies for protecting children from sexual abuse.
  • The importance of talking about the prevention of sexual abuse with children and other adults.
  • The signs of sexual abuse so you that you might intervene and be able to react responsibly.

What Outcomes can I Expect?

  • Increased awareness of the prevalence, consequences and circumstances of child sexual abuse
  • New skills to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse
  • Proactive, positive input to change organizational policies and procedures
  • Individual commitment to action via a personal prevention plan

 

http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6242551/k.D3FC/Stewards_of_Children_Child_Sexual_Abuse_Prevention_Training.htm

http://www.d2l.org/site/c.4dICIJOkGcISE/b.6035035/k.8258/Prevent_Child_Sexual_Abuse.htm

As much as I wish this subject did not affect us and our precious children who have already suffered so much, it does so we have to be proactive and protective.Please visit the site whether you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or a person who desires to see children safe from the predators that seek to destroy them.

“We are not just raising grandchildren. We are saving lives.”

 

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Ready-Set-Action!

Imagine there is a knock on your door. It is a television crew and they have secretly filmed every minute of the last 48 hours. They have a hidden camera in the kitchen, the living room and the children’s bedroom, the van and even at the everywhere else. They were at the grocery store and at soccer practice. What is your first thought? Would you remember when you lost it and screamed at your grandchild for spilling his juice and when you jerked a candy bar from him in the store, telling him he is already too fat? And what about that moment at the game when you told your granddaughter she should just quit because she is just not a good soccer player? Remember when you tossed her on the bed and told her to compose herself and you did not want to see her face until then?

See the footage when you were at church, hugging the kids and smoothing their hair. You blew them a kiss from the choir box and waved as they went off to Sunday School class. You shyly ducked your head when the Pastor told you what a great job you are doing and how lucky these kids are to have you in their lives. But in your heart, you feel sick to know you live two lives. Your intentions are true and you do love those kids with all your heart. Every time you fail, you mentally beat yourself up for days.

Do grandparent really do these things? Sadly, we do sometimes because we are flawed human beings with limited patience and exhaustible strength. We also exhibit incredible tenderness, love and compassion. Children learn from what we do.  We are living a life that determines to a large degree how they turn out. When they see us act one way outside and another in the privacy of the home, they are confused and lose trust in us. They learn more by watching us than by the words we speak. They will never forget what they see at home.

We must be consistent in our actions, speech, and love toward our kids. Even during difficult moments when applying discipline, we can keep a soft tone of voice and let them know we love them. As caregivers, we must talk right and look good in front of people. Our grandchildren are the most important of those people.When we impress them, others automatically follow their eyes as they gaze at us in love.

Explaining Difficult Moments To Children

Today, a baby bird fell out of the nest and landed literally at our feet. We were unable to return him to the nest and the impossibly fragile creature died in our hands. My grandson was heartbroken and wondered why the world is so hard on nature and animals. I could only hold him in a loving embrace and explain that most of us live a long and happy life. When that does not happen, the survivors must step up in strength and courage to help the others.

So we buried the little bird that never used his wings to soar across the sky. He lies in the dark ground bereft of sun and light, but he was laid to rest with plenty of love. In the end, we all should be so blessed. I suppose this is a great lesson to teach our children. Love indeed conquers death because that tiny creature lives forever in a young child’s heart because he loved it for a moment before it died.

We have to honestly tell our grandchildren that life is sometimes hard. They already know this to a degree because they are living without their parent(s). Yet, the final message needs to be positive and bright. Life is hard but life is wonderful and soft. It is bright and beautiful; loving and light. It is worth living to the fullest with joyous hearts that reach out to help others especially in the most difficult moments.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…

Bedtime is a sweet time and can be the most precious moments of the day. But when children do not want to go to bed it becomes stressful. It is a sacrifice to remain on a tight schedule so our grandchildren can get to bed at the same time every night. An erratic bedtime does not allow a person’s body to become acclimated to a sleep schedule.

  As the caregiver, we have to set a bedtime for the children and maintain that vigilantly. Sports and other activities are secondary to the welfare of a child. Without proper rest, she cannot function well at school. Children need 9-11 hours of sleep every night. How can we help with this?

A bedroom is no place for a television or a computer. Remove these distractions. The bedroom should be viewed as a place of sanctuary and rest. A music player set on a slow station or even playing soft lullabies is appropriate and conducive to sleep. All other entertainment devices should not be allowed.

Set a bedtime and keep to it. My grandson goes to bed at 8pm on school nights without fail. His body is now used to this time and he falls asleep almost immediately because of that. He drinks a small cup of warm milk and I read a short story, we say prayers and I leave the room.

He has a nightlight and is secure in knowing his room is a safe place to be. This is important and is one reason I never send him to his room for punishment and never discipline him in there. He does have a sleep toy that has been a friend since he was born and he cuddles with that.

The main thing is to select a bedtime and abide by it faithfully. If your child is not used to a set bedtime it may take several weeks for him to adapt but he will. You will then have free evening time for yourself, he will awake rested and ready to have a great day at school. Everyone benefits in this win-win situation.

Work out a time-inform children and the entire family of the new rules and get it started immediately. You are going to love this new routine.

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Commitment Is A Covenant

There is a Bible scripture that says, “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37). This is a wonderful foundation to live by and to teach our grandchildren. Children have many interests and are curious about everything. They want to try basketball, baseball, karate, gymnastics, scouts and other activities. After several tries, they sometimes get bored or see it is not what they expected.

When a child wants to try a new activity, they should be encouraged as long as it fits into the family’s schedule, is safe and worthwhile. The caregiver (us) has the responsibility to explain the requirements and demands to the child. Then if they still want to take on the commitment, they need to stick with it for a preset time period.

This fosters persistence, determination, and understanding that a commitment is serious. My own grandson knows that when he signs up for baseball, he is in for the entire season and cannot miss practice or games. He chose not to play this spring because he is a cub scout and they meet on the same evening as baseball practice. He had a commitment to the scouts already and could not break the promise to be at den meetings every Thursday evening.

The same rule applies to academic achievements and goals. If your Grand makes a goal to be on the a honor role, he/she needs to study hard and maybe even take on extra credit work to accomplish that plan.

If they say “yes” to anything, they are required to uphold their word even if it is as simple as a promise to walk the dog every day or to make their bed every morning. We are held to that same standard and even higher because we are the role model our children look toward.

These habits will stand them in good stead through life and in the workplace. Anyone can change their mind and back out of a commitment. But those who see it through to the goal, are fulfilling an honorable covenant and are to be admired for their endurance, commitment and honor.

We, as Recycled Moms, get to share in that happiness and bask in the knowledge that our grandchildren are growing into strong, responsible young people who will become successful adults. It is a wonderful place to be.

Structure in a Chaotic World

Children need structure and continuity even while they rebel against them. Today’s children stay busy and our Grands are no exception. There are after school activities, sports, play dates and many more things that demand time. Then we rush home to face homework, dinner, chores, and hopefully find a minute to spend together. Then it is late and the children are exhausted yet too wound up for sleep. How do we handle these situations?

Simply say no. That’s right. Not everything a child wants to do is permissible. Children need rest, and time at home in a relaxing environment. Keeping extracurricular activities to a minimum is beneficial for everyone. Baseball, soccer, basketball, karate and all the other sports are important. Children need the physical activity and the team building skills these provide. But they don’t need more than one at a time or combined with other activities that keep everyone scurrying around like ants.

Some Recycled Moms are raising more than one Grand so if every child is signed up for one activity, the family is still running around to fit it all in. Each child may need to choose one seasonal activity so everyone has time at home and together. Again, just say no when things get too busy.

There should be down time EVERY evening for the family to gather for dinner and share the day with one another. This keeps everyone emotionally connected to each other and prevents secrets from building up. When a child knows she can share what happened that day, she will tell us her heartaches, successes and all else that she has encountered while apart from the caregiver.

Take the time-make the time-be the timekeeper! When we become an architect of structure, we build more than a schedule. We build a family where once was only a broken dream.