Wake Up America – We Must Protect Children!
Child abuse used to be a silent epidemic that was seldom discussed. However, the national news media has increased awareness about the abuse of children. We have heard horror stories about sexual assaults by priests, sex traffickers and; how predators with community status have been ignored for years. That is now changing!
The tragic truth is, there are 76,000 registered sex offenders in California alone. Sadly, children are sexually assaulted at home and in their neighborhoods every day. These children grow up and become parents. Often, the cycle of abuse continues because we don’t speak up to stop it. Americans are paying a high price for their silence.
When children feel powerless, violated and/or unloved, they act out in self-destructive ways. They may turn to drugs, sex, food, cutting or bullying their classmate. They can become easily intimidated and become a victim or join a gang to feel powerful! It is estimated that 80 percent of prison inmates were abused as children.
SPEAK UP TO PROTECT CHILDREN!
During the past year, 3 out of 5 children were exposed to violence at home or in their neighborhoods. It is up to each one of us to stop this epidemic of child abuse. If YOU don’t speak up, you are allowing an abusive adult and/or predator to continue abusing children.
10 things you can do to help stop child abuse.
1. Watch toddlers at play. A child tries to dominate by shoving playmates and crying for a toy. This is normal, childish behavior. Adults must correct children so they mature properly and learn to respect others. Don’t ignore aggressive behavior! Children can become bullies and abuse each other in a variety of ways.
2. STAY ALERT! Don’t let anyone hit, slap or verbally abuse a child. Children need protection, attention and encouragement. Adults are role models. Discipline children by taking way privileges but don’t back down or you will teach a child how to manipulate YOU.
3. Peace starts at home! Make a family rule… we treat each other with respect. Bully/victim behavior is learned at home. (25 percent of women and 10 percent of men are in abusive relationship) Verbal, sexual or physical abuse teaches children to be victims and/or bullies.
4. Don’t be your child’s best friend! Undisciplined children become angry when they don’t have the skills to develop positive friends. They may bully or become targets of abuse because they don’t know how to develop healthy relationships.
5. Discuss family problems together and allow everyone to have a voice. Children mature and grow strong when they are heard and help solve conflicts, peacefully.
6. Discipline, rules, love, attention and support give children self-confidence. If bullied, a child who feels loved will know they are NOT the problem. Self-worth gives children the inner power to stand up to bullies, walk away and report bad behavior.
7. Self-discipline keeps children safe. For example: If I pick a fight with you and you fight back, I am in control. If I pick a fight with you and you walk away, you are in control. Children can develop courage and character by speaking up and standing up to bullies.
8. Does your school have an “anti-bully” policy? Do neighbors work together to stop bullies on the block? Don’t ignore any abusive or destructive behavior! Work with neighbors or bullies can form gangs and make your neighborhood less safe.
9. BE AN ADVOCATE and get involved! CNN Special, “Bullying: It stops here!” stated, “Social Combat: the new norm for youth.” We must all speak up to stop bad behavior.
10. Start a movement to help create a safer environment in your school and/or in your neighborhood. Ask friends to join you. It takes involved citizens to create safe, healthy environments for children.
Americans must work together and speak up to protect children from all forms of abuse. When we stop tolerating abuse, we are protecting our future.
Mann is a safety consultant and author of 4 national self-help books. She has a radio show called, Build Community.us on More Public Radio International – To improve the health and safety of children, she promotes strengthening families and community involvement.
Her books include, “Alternative to Fear,” “Safe Homes, Safe Neighborhoods,” “Street Safe Kids” and “The Adopt-A-Block Guidebook.”
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