Protecting Our Children from Monsters

I’m not talking about the monsters that children say they’re afraid of, I’m talking about the monsters that we expose them to as family and friends. It’s happening to so many children and there is something that we can do about it. In our recent headlines, last week, 3 different accounts of children were victims of murder by their mothers’ boyfriends.  Why is this topic still taboo in 2017? The gut of my stomach turns when I think about it, it’s called sexual abuse and rape. Let’s stop tip-toeing around the subject and do something about it. There is no one specific measure to follow to prevent this from happening to our children, but the signs are sometimes present and we choose to dismiss them.

  • The first step is TRUSTING YOUR GUT instincts with everyone and I do mean everyone! Wolves in sheep’s clothing are real, so you have to pay attention to that feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s called the holy spirit. If you’re wrong, so be it, but at least you didn’t take a chance of leaving your child with a predator. You can’t take the abuse back once it’s done. Healing from it takes an extremely long time. You don’t have to accuse people of being sexual predators, but remaining aware of your instincts about individuals is equally important.

  • STAY CLOSE AND KIND to those that you can trust with your children. So many times people will overuse or misuse the people that are available to help with their children. Stop that! If you have family or friends that you trust with your children, and they offer to babysit them for you, be kind to them, pick them up on time, and offer money or services when possible. If it’s a grandparent, offer to buy groceries or snacks for your child during their stay.  Use their help when it’s absolutely necessary; examples of this would be work, a doctors appointment, illness, or short mental break for yourself. Limit your mental health prevention break to an hour or two. If you’re allowed a weekend by your sitter, don’t take a break every single weekend. protecting our children from monsters (2)

  • INCLUDE YOUR CHILDREN INTO YOUR PLANS regularly. Before my mother married my step-father, she included my brother and me in all of her plans. We went to dinner together, we shopped with her, and we went places as a family of 3. We only stayed with my grandmother when it was completely necessary. I’m sure there were times when my mom went out with friends, but it wasn’t often and her dates with my step-dad soon included us. This leads me to the next point.

  • STAY OFF THE SCENE so often. There is no reason that any parent should not have a mental health prevention break here or there. I get it, parenting can become overwhelming. I’m not judging you for wanting to have a life, but if your co-parent or spouse isn’t available to care for your child, stop hitting up the city hotspots every weekend! Your babysitter isn’t for that, people become burned out and you are more likely to lose your reliable help. In return, you rely on someone that just may be a sexual predator. Men are not the only people that sexually abuse precious children.

  • GET CONNECTED with other parents at work, church, or a child’s school. Find out who they rely on as their sitters. Use your instincts with these sitters as well. If your child attends daycare or school, ask your child’s teacher about after hour and weekend care. Many Teachers have weekend jobs and summer jobs as sitters. Never be afraid to ask!

  • STOP TELLING YOUR CHILDREN TO BE GOOD when you leave them. There are times when our children’s instincts cause them to naturally rebel against certain people. If your child cries when you leave them with a person after several visits or they express to you that they don’t like their sitter, you should sincerely ask them why. Constantly telling your children to “be good” in the presence of someone that may be very bad, takes away their natural instinct to defend themselves. You will know the difference between your child having a behavioral issue or a genuine fear of a person.

  • USE PROPER BODY NAMES AND DISCUSS SAFE TOUCH when you are talking to your children. My husband and I decided with our son during his potty train months, that we would use the word penis. He and his dad took things a little further by saying that he has “nuts”. While it may seem politically incorrect to some people, my son has always been aware of his genitals and aware that no one, should touch his “nuts” and other body parts! We taught him how to clean his private areas as early as 3 and to explain to everyone that he did not need their help even when he had to poop. We helped him to clean his daily germs at night during bath time. Sexual predators are very cunning. They sometimes use the “let me help you” tactic to touch children inappropriately. Our son was made aware that only mommy, daddy, and his grandmothers could help him with his private area and wipe him if he needed help. We did not include the doctor in our conversation with him because we knew we would be present for his doctor visits. We would give him consent during that time. Explain body parts to your children with proper names and talk openly about who is allowed to touch them and where.

  • TALK PRIVATELY WITH YOUR CHILDREN when you pick them up. Don’t ask your child if everything is okay or if they were on their best behavior when you pick them up. I once read an article where a woman stated that everytime her mom returned to pick her up, her abuser would listen for her reply to her mom’s question, “were you a good girl?” In return, she was afraid to tell her mom the truth because her abuser was listening and staring for her response. Pay attention to whether or not your child looks different, disheveled, or overly sensitive when you return to pick them up. Signs are sometimes there, we just have to be in tune with them. Ask them what was the best about their stay and the worst. Ask them if anyone said or touched them inappropriately? Yes, just come out and ask! We can’t afford to be relaxed with strangers when it comes to our children. Be ready to listen and act accordingly.

  • ROLE PLAY the what “if’s” with your child or children. In the past, I’ve asked my son what he would do if someone touched him here or there? Depending on his reply, I would provide the right answer. You can use scenarios such as, “Hey (insert child’s name) bad people will say to you, “do you like me?” They will also say “If you really love me, you will help me.” (Insert child’s name) They may also say “Will you do this for me? You can’t tell because your mom or dad will be mad at you.” These are ugly and nasty things that predators tell children when they are grooming them to be abused. We have to educate our children to be prepared to tell us and to tell the abusers NO! www.lifewithcarmen.com

  • CONSTANTLY REMIND YOUR CHILD or children how special and precious they are to you. When abusers groom children, they start with breaking their confidence and they play with their emotions first. Build your children up with love and remind them that they are your first priority.

  • WATCH PEOPLE THAT ARE RECKLESS around your children. People that scream, curse or yell at your children, should be watched closely. While they may not be sexual abusers, they may mentally and emotionally abuse your children. Everyone should not have the freedom to discipline your children. Some people have no filters and do not know when enough is enough. Be mindful of people that are comfortable with viewing pornographic material and even rated R movies around your children. Sexual predators also use these tools to groom their victims. Regardless, to any motive, it’s also wrong. 

    I hope and pray that these tips will help you and your family. Remember that you have people that genuinely are concerned for you and your children. Keep those people close and trust your gut instincts, always! 

    Carmen 

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