Posts Tagged ‘children’

Child abuse has been defined as an act, or failure to act, on the part of a parent or caretaker that results in serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation of a child, or death. (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g)

Child abuse laws have raised difficult issues, pitting the rights of children against the rights of families and parents. The mistreatment of children at the hands of parents or caretakers has a long history of a system that gives children few, if any, rights.

About 40 million children worldwide suffer abuse every year, with more than 1,500 children dying of abuse in the United States annually and affects all educational and socioeconomic levels, ethnicities, cultures, and religions.

Many other important statistics regarding this problem in the United States include that it costs society more than $120 billion per year and that with more than 3 million referrals to state and local agencies every year, an average of six such referrals occur every 60 seconds!

Survivors of child abuse are at greater risk for physical, emotional, work, and relationship problems throughout childhood and into adulthood. Common forms of child abuse include neglect, physical assault and emotional abuse. But the most disturbing abuse is the sexual assault of a child.

It is important to understand that child abuse, whether physical, sexual or emotional, is not always immediately visible. Which is why when a child reports the abuse, often they are not believed. Victims of child abuse may experience so much stress in reaction to the abuse that it often leads to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (PTSD)

Often the adults who are designed to protect children refuse to take action because the perpetrator is a family member and they fear that doing so will split up the family unit. (And often does) Many times family members will support the perpetrator and accuse the victim of filing a false report, which causes even more stress for the victim.

Currently, the Nebraska Sex Offender Registration Law (SOR) does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders. It does not have the legal jurisdiction to prevent an offender from attending events, limiting employment, restricting an offender from entering any facilities, or refrain from living with or socializing with children. The SOR law can only mandate that the offender register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’’s office within the required time. Even when a perpetrator of sexual child abuse is convicted, they are often only given probation and required to register as a sex offender for no more than 15 years. That means that someone who has been convicted of child sexual assault is able to freely visit playgrounds, children museums, schools and other places where they have access to vulnerable children while on probation.

I have written Governor Pete Ricketts about changing the Nebraska Sex Registry Law so that more restrictions can be placed on sex offenders so that they are not allowed to freely interact with vulnerable children who are now at risk from them.

The Governor wrote me back telling me that a senator needed to bring this issue up in the legislation before he can do anything. So I wrote letters to many Nebraska senators about this issue. So far, I have not heard from any of them.

Our world has changed

When I grew up, the typical family was still a working dad, a stay-at-home mom, and other kids in the neighborhood with the same type of families. Today, the divorce rate is almost 50 percent, and children living with a single parent or in a blended family have become all too common. This creates a whole new environment of risk for children.

Did you know that a child with a biological mother who is living with a man who is not the child’s father is 33 times more likely to suffer abuse. (Source: Dreamcatchers for Abused Children)

I know a girl who was physically and emotionally abused by her stepfather for over 10 years before he sexually molested her. Once the abuse was reported, it still took the court system over two years to finally convict the man. Even then, he was allowed to plead guilty to third degree sexual assault, (a misdemeanor) rather than sexual assault of a child. (a felony) The judge only sentenced him two years probation! What makes matters worse is that the victims’s mother maintains that her daughter made the whole thing up.

Less than two weeks after being released on probation this same man was arrested again for child abuse against another daughter still living in the home! Now he faces  charges for child abuse in one county and probation violation in another county.

No parent wants to believe that one of their own family members or a spouse would be capable of sexually molesting their child, but if a child comes to you complaining of inappropriate behavior of someone you know, the worst thing you can do is ignore it. This problem will NOT go away on its own, and if the perpetrator is not confronted, it will only get worse.

What can we do to help?

Children often won’t tell you straight up that something is happening to them, because they’ve been threatened, they may be ashamed, or they may not feel comfortable talking to you about it. So it is up to adults to watch for the signs of abuse and act on behalf of the child.

Watch & Listen!

You may be surprised at what you can learn by observing a child during playtime.  It’s why so many therapist use “Play Therapy” when dealing with younger children. There are also possible physical and behavioral indicators of child sexual abuse, some of which are:

  • Unusual  or inappropriate interaction between a child & a specific person.
  • Showing unusually aggressive behavior toward family members and friends.
  • Experiencing a loss of appetite or other eating problems.
  • Showing unusual fear or a sudden reluctance to be alone with a certain person.
  • Engaging in persistent sexual play with friends, toys or pets.
  • Engaging in self-mutilations, such as cutting themselves.
  • Wearing an unusual amount of layers of clothing.

For more information and help contact:

Project Harmony

11949 Q Street / Omaha, NE 68137

402) 595-1326

http://www.projectharmony.com

Childhelp USA’s National Child Abuse Hotline

1-800-422-4453

(1-800-4ACHILD)

http://www.childhelp.org/

National Domestic Violence/Abuse Hotline

1-800-799-7233

(1-800-799-SAFE)

1-800-787-3224 TTY

http://www.thehotline.org/

 

Because no child should have to suffer abuse in silence.

Most parents know that lying to our kids is not a good idea — it’s not respectful or kind, and is likely to cause our children to mistrust us in the future. And that mistrust could possibly carry over into their adulthood.

However, what about Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy? Is it okay to tell our children that Santa Claus is real? Or is this just another innocent “white lie” that we all tell our kids so we can watch their faces light up with joy on Christmas morning?

Some believe that the “Santa-Hoax” is a dangerous path that can psychologically affect our children’s capacity to trust adults when they eventually find out the truth. But I believe that it all depends on the child’s emotional make up. I think some kids don’t completely buy the Santa story, but others might feel betrayed when they find out that it had all been an elaborate lie concocted by their own parents.

Some parents go a bit overboard on the Santa hoax — actively doing things to make it look like Santa had visited or telling stories of hearing noises on the roof or just missing seeing him.

On the flip side, some parents, (thinking they’re being honest and progressive) go too far and end up killing all the joy Christmas. However, there are gentler approaches besides outright lying to children about Santa and exposing the whole thing as a cruel hoax—as long as these approaches are motivated by joy, love and respect.

I explained to my children when they were very young that Santa wasn’t a real person but that he represented the “spirit of Christmas” that so many people enjoy. But I also taught them to respect those who believed in a “real Santa” and that we should let their parents explain it to them.

I remember the next year while me and my son were in a convenient store a woman looked down at my son and said, “Is Santa coming to your house?” My son looked up at the woman and in his matter-of-fact voice answered, “No.” Stunned at his answer the woman said, “Haven’t you been a good boy this year?” “Yes.” He replied. “Well then Santa’s coming to your house!” The woman exclaimed. My son then looked at me strange and whispered, “Dad, no one’s told her yet!”

Talking to our kids about the “Santa Game” can be great fun—just like we might talk about fictional characters such as Iron Man, or Sleeping Beauty. But going out of our way to try to make our kids really believe that there’s a man who rides around in a flying sleigh and lives at the North Pole with his wife and elves, just isn’t necessary. Our children are naturally able to enjoy the wonder of make-believe without our fabrications. It’s possible to really get into the whole Christmas spirit as much as our children do by just following their lead.

Remember, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

May your holidays be filled with the joy and wonder of a child.

Our children are watching who we place upon the pedestal. And if we are not careful, they may one day desire to emulate the same.

We should not want our children trapped in sin and darkness. We should not want our children lusting after things that are fleeting. And we should not want our children making excuses for mediocrity and sin. We should want our children to know what true greatness is. We should want our children to exalt Jesus and him crucified and resurrected. We should want our children to think there is a difference between those who die with honor and those who throw their life away, living in the pleasures of sin for a season.

Remember the children’s song, “O Be Careful, Little Eyes”?

“O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
There’s a Father up above
And He’s looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see”

We could take away a great lesson from this simple song.

Christians should take to heart the word from the Apostle Paul: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Paul also warned us in Ephesians 5:1-21 to be careful what we see… what we say… what we do… and what we think. He said, “Don’t live as unwise people but as wise. Make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” But are we being careful about what we see? And just as importantly; what are children see and hear?

Entertainment Through Violence?
Children’s greatest exposure to violence comes from television. TV shows, movies edited for television, and video games expose young children to a level of violence unimaginable just a few years ago. The American Psychological Association says the average child watches 8,000 televised murders and 100,000 acts of violence before finishing elementary school! That number more than doubles by the time he or she reaches age eighteen!

At a very young age, children are seeing a level of violence and mayhem that in the past may have been seen only by a few police officers and military personnel. TV brings hitting, kicking, rapes, stabbings, shootings, and dismemberment right into homes on a daily basis.

The impact on children’s behavior is predictable. Two prominent Surgeon General Reports in the last two decades link violence on television and aggressive behavior in children and teenagers. In addition, the National Institute of Mental Health issued a 94-page report, ‘Television and Behavior: Ten Years of Scientific Progress and Implications for the Eighties’. They found “overwhelming” scientific evidence that “excessive” violence on television spills over into the playground and the streets.

Imagine a twelve year old child spending six hours a day at the local movie theater and allowed to watch whatever movie they wanted, regardless of the rating. No normal parent would ever permit that! Yet, nearly half the twelve-year-olds watch an average of six or more hours of television per day with little or no supervision! This would mean that a large portion of young people fit into the category of heavy viewers. Their view of the world is profoundly shaped by the TV programs they watch.

The Bible says, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33). If your child hangs out too much with bad influences, there is a good chance that they will be influenced for the bad.That is why so many parents forbid their children to hang out with others that would influence their children for the bad. And yet,these same parents will allow their children to be influenced six hours a day by what they watch on television. Many children may not be able to stand against this type of influence, because their character is not well formed yet. It is still being actively developed and easily influenced. What our children watch on television may not seem important at the moment, but we need to ask, “Is my child being negatively influenced?

Some kids are natural leaders; while others tend to be followers. So who are they following? I believe we should raise our children to influence the world not the other way around. It will take a lot of work, but the results will be mature well-adjusted adults who are teaching their children the same thing.

Television viewing affects both adults and children in subtle ways. And we must not ignore the fact that televised imagery does affect our perceptions and behaviors. Our world view and our subsequent actions are affected by what we see on television. Christians, therefore, must be careful not to let television conform us to the world, (Rom. 12:2) but instead we should develop a Christian world view and teach the same to our children.

When you consider the magnitude of the challenges that are facing America today, it becomes obvious that America is in desperate need of healing and true revival. But it’s not just mind-numbing television shows that influence our children, but children watch and learn from their parents and other adults. So we too, need to get a good reality check and watch what we’re doing!

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling* together; and a little child will lead them.” Isaiah 11:6

We need to think more like this young girl and take action to make our world a better place to live. I pray that one day we will before it’s too late.