Children and Kids articles catalog
 

 

The Sexual Abuse of Children - By J. Bailey Molineux

Although her stepfather had been sexually molesting her for years, Jenny never told anyone about it because she was afraid what would happen if she did. When she finally did disclose his abuse of her, her mother reacted with angry shock and told her never to say such awful things about her stepfather again.

After that, the only way Jenny could stop the abuse was by running away.

Whether or not it is occurring more often or being reported more often, the incidence of reported sexual abuse of children has increased in America. Studies have shown that one out of four women, and one out of ten men, state they were sexually abused as children.

The stereotypical image of the sexual offender as a stranger lurking in the dark to attack his victim is erroneous. Most sexually abused children have been molested by a member of their own family or someone known to the family. Only 15 to 20 percent of child molesters are unknown to their victims.

Nor is force commonly used in child molestation. Since the offender is often a close relative, the victim usually has a trusting relationship with him. What is so potentially damaging about child sexual abuse is that relationship of trust is deliberately violated by the offender.

It is difficult to detect signs of sexual abuse in a child or adolescent. She may be depressed, anxious, using drugs or alcohol, self mutilating or having times of dissociation in which she "checks out" and doesn`t remember what she did. But these behaviors can be caused by other problems as well.

Any sexualized behavior - sexual acting out, talking about sex at too young an age - are signs, however, that there is a good chance the child or adolescent is being abused.

Most victims - over 90 percent according to research - are telling the truth when they reveal what has been happening to them. Usually the victim has no reason to lie about so serious a matter while the alleged offender has every reason to deny it.

Because of the realistic fears of disclosure - the shame, criminal prosecution and possible break-up of the family - sexual abuse can go on for years before it is discovered. The pressures on the victim not to disclose are enormous. Often, she has been repeatedly warned by the offender not to tell and she is afraid of what might happen to him and her family if she does.

If the disclosure of the sexual abuse is handled calmly and properly and if treatment is provided, the abuse will not necessarily permanently traumatize a victim. But without proper handling and treatment, the effects to the victim can include life-long depression, guilt, self-concept problems, unresolved anger, sexual dysfunctions or hypersexuality and difficulty trusting other people.

Whenever a youth, like Jenny, says she is being sexually victimized, the best strategy is to believe her. She must also be reassured that she has done the right thing by disclosing and that she is in no way responsible for the abuse. Her chances of recovering from the molestation are much greater if she is supported in these ways.

If you suspect that sexual abuse is occurring, you must report it to your local Child Protective Services. The abuse must be stopped as soon as possible, and the only way this can be guaranteed is by notifying the proper authorities. Regardless of what happens to the offender, the protection and safety of the child must be the first priority.



About the Author: J. Bailey Molineux, a psychologist with Adult and Child Counseling, has incorporated many of his articles in a book, Loving Isn`t Easy, Isbn 1587410419, sold through bookstores everywhere or available directly from http://selfhelpbooks.com. Copyright 2002, J. Bailey Molineux and Selfhelpbooks.com, all rights reserved. This article may be reprinted but must include authors copyright and website hyperlinks.

Create a Legacy - The Parent Plan - By Derek Randel and Gail Randel M.D.

 

Imagine the following three scenarios?

Ron and Judy love their 26-year-old son Jim. Unfortunately, whenever Jim

calls his parents they cringe. Will he ask for more money asks Judy? Ron

replies, ?What do you mean if, the question is how much this time??

Linda visits her mother. Linda would like her mother?s help in cooking a

dinner and baking a dessert. Linda?s mother just does not understand how

Linda could have two left hands in the kitchen. Thinking to herself, ?I

always cooked and baked, how could she not have learned these skills??

My daughter is very overweight and she never exercises says Tom. Tom

continued, ?She is now 22 years-old and even though she never exercised, now

that she is getting older she must begin. I never had to exercise because I

always worked and didn?t have time.? Tom does seem a bit overweight himself.

All three of these sets of parents have a similar problem. Their grown

children have not developed certain life skills. There is a way to minimize

this with your children. Become proactive and develop ?A PARENT PLAN.? A

parent plan is a family blue print. Before getting too far into the parent

plan here are a number of important questions to think about.

Where would you like to see your children when they turn 25 years old?

Employed or Unemployed?

Living at home with you or out on his or her own?

Married, single or divorced?

Paying his own debts or having you pay them?

Being responsible for his mistakes or dependent upon others?

Another important question to ask is: what legacy would you like to instill

in your children?

Scary questions aren?t they? As mentioned a parent plan is a blue print for

your family. You want to create the positive environment where your

children can learn your desired values by your desired actions. It is that

easy, remember nobody plans to fail they just failed to plan.

We want to teach our children how to function in the ever changing real

world and this means planning. This might include:

? How to be independent

? How to be a decision maker

? How to be a motivated worker

? How to handle finances

? How to live a healthy life style

? How to handle time management issues

? How to be organized

? How to live a balanced life

? How to be healthy

? How to develop a good self-concept

? How to be resilient

? How to communicate effectively

? How to develop a mature character and integrity

? How to set and respect boundaries

Here are a few suggestions in order to achieve some of the above list.

? Model the behavior you would like your children to inherit

? Providing choices develops ones decision making ability

? Have your children write the monthly checks. It is helpful for them to

know how to write a check and to know how much the utilities cost

? Help budget their homework time, putting in rest breaks every so often

? Serve healthy meals

? Verbalize your thought process. Let your children hear how you solve

a problem. Ask them for their insight. For example, time management: Work

backwards when you have to be at a designated place. If you have to arrive

somewhere at 9:00 and it is a 30 minute ride, a stop at the drug store will

take 10 minutes, and 15 minutes for you to get ready. What time should you

start getting ready?

? Explain why you use certain stores. Why do you patronize your bank,

this dry cleaner, or that grocery store? For example, your answers might

say that you like the service you receive at this bank or the lack of

service you received elsewhere caused you to change banks.

? Set your limits and boundaries.

? Encourage your children to plan a meal or cook a dessert, each week.

Going back to our three sets of parents lets see if they could have done

anything different. Ron and Judy may have never talked about finances with

Jim when he was younger. Jim may have never had control over his allowance

or his own money. In many homes finances are not discussed. Therefore, Jim

may have never been exposed to his parent?s bills.

Even though Linda?s mother could cook and bake we wondered if she ever took

the time to teach Linda how to cook, or was she critical of Linda every time

Linda helped out in the kitchen. Do not expect all traits to be picked up

by observations. We need to take the time to teach.

Tom had an excuse for not exercising, even though it was a poor one. He

never modeled the desired behavior he desired for his daughter. Where did he

think she would learn to live a healthy life style including exercise?

Too conclude a parent plan is very important when it comes to preparing your

child for the real world. Now have some fun and answer the following: Place

yourself 20-25 years into the future. What could you have or should you

have passed along to your children before it is too late?

What will you put in your parent plan? Take these and write some goals you

want to achieve.

What do you want to pass along to your children?

What would you like your children to say about your parenting when they are

25 years old?

If you have questions about your parent plan feel free to give us a call.


Derek and Gail Randel have customized programs for corporations, schools, and parent groups for putting the fun back into parenting so you can enjoy your children. They also have a free parenting newsletter through their web site, and a parent consulting service. The Randels are the authors of The Parent Manual and Bittersweet Moments. They can be reached at Parent Smart from the Heart 1-866-89-SMART, www.parentsmartfromtheheart.com http://www.parentsmartfromtheheart.com/ or info@randelconsulting.com

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