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ACE Made Simple

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Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

If you’re anything like me, you were confused the first time you heard of the ACE Study, and maybe even more confused by the seemingly endless online explanations of the aforementioned study. By now you’ve probably seen at least one article or blog or meme about ACE scores and the ACE Study, but maybe it still seems a bit unsettling at least. I know it seems more than a bit confusing and unsettling to me, so let  me try to simplify it for all of us –  there are ten types of childhood trauma measured in the ACE Study. These abuses, or traumas, are broken down into physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect, and further broken down to the things we witness as children such as a parent who’s an alcoholic, a parent who’s a victim of domestic abuse, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. Each type of trauma a child may experience counts as one “point.”  The higher one’s ACE score, the greater the risk of future problems.  

 

To make it far less complicated, maybe we could just think in terms of the less negative experiences we have as children, the better. But what does this mean to us, in all practicality, as parents? To me, it means let’s take a look at where our own risk factors may be, and take positive steps to reduce or eliminate those risks.

 

What if we took an honest look at our own ACE score and set about to change that score for the better for our own children? Or, what if we looked into our own lives and the lives of our kids as if we were on the outside looking in? Maybe, just maybe, we need to assess and amend some of the practices we use at home, with our own children.

 

Practical ways to lower the ACE score of your children would be to ask yourself some hard questions and to answer them honestly. Drinking too much? Get help ( through AA or another twelve-step program, or your church, or a treatment facility, or any of a host of ways to get help and get a handle on your drinking before it sinks you and your children).  Yelling too much? Hitting your children? Take a parenting class, talk to a friend, read a book about peaceful parenting tips.  Connect emotionally with your children whenever you can – read a book, eat together, take a walk, talk about your day! Learn the facts about sexual abuse, talk about it, and take positive steps to prevent it for your children. (Learn more by visiting www.d2l.org )

 

There are so many practical ways we can reduce the future risk categories for our children, by educating ourselves and seeking solutions to problems that may exist in our home, or with our parenting.  Get creative, get involved, and create a better future for your child and for generations to come by lessening the experiences that have a negative impact on your child’s development and their future.   

 

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now
Laura Fogarty

Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate, and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


Is your child a bully? Then it’s your fault

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Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

 

Parents and teachers are being warned that punishing children for their aggressive behaviour is only adding to fuel to the fire in the schoolyard.

The harsh disciplinary actions of adults are being labelled as partly to blame for children becoming bullies as evidence reveals decades of teaching intervention methods in schools is simply not working.

Parent expert Dr Justin Coulson said adults are unaware that their reactive disciplinary measures can actually create or increase a child’s bullying behaviour: ‘It’s case of monkey see, monkey do.’

 

READ FULL STORY

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now

The Power of Positivity

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Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

The right way to discipline, we spend a lot of time and energy talking about that. To punish or not to punish? To spank or not to spank? We also spend a lot of time debating that issue. But do we ever really talk about “catching” our children in the midst of wonderful behavior? Or even good behavior, for that matter? How about a little time spent discussing the power of praise?

 

We tend to focus on coping with problems rather than our actual relationships with children. Maybe it’s time to shift our focus from doing things “to” or “for” our kids, to doing things with them. We can respond to misbehaviors with a punitive consequence, or we can use these as opportunities or teaching moments. Helping our children learn to figure out what is wrong and also how to fix it, is actually far more logical than handing down punishments for misbehaviors or even rewards for desirable ones.

 

How about shifting this focus to praising our children? No reward or trinket for behaving desirably, just praise, plain and simple. “Wow! Good job! Awesome!” Is that really so hard? No, it really isn’t. Praising our children should come naturally, even more naturally than yelling at them.  Giving out rewards and handing down punishments are far less effective for tiny brains than the mere act of recognizing the behavior we want and praising the one doing it.

 

Easy enough, right? Yes! Get out there and give an “Super!” or a “Way to go!” whenever possible. Surely we can find ways to “catch” our kids doing something right, and a little bit of praise will turn into more and more of the behavior we are hoping for. Peace.

 

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now
Laura Fogarty

Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate, and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


Thoughtful Parenting: Children and trauma

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protect children. prevent trauma. reuce taxes

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

 

No parent wants to believe his or her child has endured a traumatic experience. Children are generally protected in their day-to-day lives. Traumatic events are defined as any events that are outside a person’s normal, expectable life experiences and that are perceived as a threat to a person’s physical and psychological safety and even life.

Physical abuse, neglect, exposure to parental substance addiction, witnessing domestic violence, abduction and sexual abuse are experienced by children as traumatic events. Add to that list everyday, seemingly ordinary, events, such as seeing a friend hurt; being in an automobile crash; being bullied or watching another child be bullied; learning of the death of a friend, family member or beloved pet; being ignored or dismissed repeatedly when asking for help; being left alone; living in a divorce war zone; and having to spend time with a person perceived by the child as being untrustworthy or dangerous.

No parent deliberately exposes his or her children to any of the above traumatic events. Many of us do not consider the way we were raised by our parents to be abusive, much less traumatic. When we were children, some of us were spanked “for our own good.” As parents, we believe, perhaps unconsciously, that naughty children deserve to be spanked to teach them a lesson. However, when a child’s sense of self and psychological safety is threatened by parental deliberate or unintentional acts, those are encoded in the child’s brain as traumatic. Other writers in this column have pointed out there are many ways to teach children acceptable behavior without resorting to physical harm.

READ FULL STORY

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now

Bullying Barron Trump

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Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

Have you seen the stories about Saturday Night Live’s  Katie Rich tweeting about Barron Trump? I’m betting you have, and for the sake of not repeating hateful, hurtful words, I won’t re-share the details of her Twitter feed, nor those of Rosie O’Donnell. What they have in common is a complete disregard for the feelings and well-being of a ten-year-old boy. Keep in mind that this little boy did not run for office, and he did not choose to have his life put on display. No matter where we stand politically, no matter who we voted for, one thing we can all agree to is that a ten year old child does not deserve to be bullied by an adult ever.

Bullying has grown to epidemic proportions in our country and the effects of childhood bullying last well into adulthood. As parents, there are many ways to teach our children how not to bully. First and foremost we can lead by example. We can also engage in lessons about bullying to help our children learn not to! Which particular activity or discussion fits your child’s learning style and emotional preparedness the best, is something you can answer because you know your child better than anyone else. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started!

Crack an egg. Have your child crack one too if this is age appropriate. Tell your child to put the egg back together. Talk nicely to the egg. Tell the egg you are sorry. Try to put the pieces of the shell back together and let your child do the same. Follow up this activity with a discussion about how the egg is like a person. Once you say hurtful things, you cannot undo them. Once you hurt someone, you cannot unhurt them. Be careful with your words and your actions, because after they are done, they can’t be undone.

A favorite way among teachers to demonstrate the effects of bullying is to have each child crumple up a piece of notebook paper. Next, have your children try to flatten the paper and talk to the paper telling it how sorry they are for crumpling it in the first place. The paper will never be the same, just like the egg discussion, the damage to the paper cannot be undone.

One more trick for teaching about the harmful effects of bullying and how hurtful words and actions cannot be taken back, is to squeeze a generous amount of toothpaste from a tube. Get your child to try to put the toothpaste back inside. The discussion here is the same as the egg or the paper – that harm cannot be undone.

Prevention and awareness are the keys to ending any type of abuse, including bullying. The only way to stop it, is to STOP IT. Talk to your children. Educate yourself and your kids so that the next generation does better than we.

 

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now
Laura Fogarty

Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate, and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


Bullying

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protect children. prevent trauma. reuce taxes

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

As a society, we have been inundated lately with stories in the news about bullying – including, most recently, the tragic incident of a special needs student in Chicago who was bullied, taunted, tortured by four assailants. We know by now that all abuse is connected and that one type of abuse begets another, but what if today we look beyond the headlines at the specific correlation between two very distinct types of abuse – bullying and domestic violence. If we can take the time to educate ourselves about the impact of abuse not only on the individual, but on society as a whole, we can begin to understand how to stop it.

Studies indicate that domestic violence is a breeding ground for more violence, meaning that children who experience violence in the home grow up to exhibit it.  Men who as children witnessed domestic violence are twice as likely to use violence toward their partners and children as men who did not witness such violence. Children who experience violence at home are not just growing up to exhibit those same lifestyle choices as adults, but also as children and young adults they are bringing elements of this lifestyle to other children at school in the form of bullying. Victims of bullying and bullies alike (in both high school and middle school) are over four times more likely to have been physically hurt by a family member, and more than three times as likely to have witnessed violence in their family unit. Experts believe that children who are raised in abusive homes learn that violence is an effective way to resolve conflicts and problems.

Domestic violence plants the seed for bullying…bullying becomes a stepping stone to future domestic violence…and the cycle continues.

Every type of abuse is connected somehow to every other variety or form of abuse. To stop one, we must stop them all, but the good news is to stop one type, puts us one step closer to stopping all types, because abuse only stops when WE stop it, through awareness, education, and prevention.

 

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now

What does hope look like?

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protect children. prevent trauma. reuce taxes

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

 

Georgia has a crisis on its hands. It’s the slow-growing kind: one where kids grow up with family and neighborhood violence, drop out of school and struggle as adults to support themselves and their own family.

And while far too many policymakers neglect the issues that impact kids and families, organizations like CHRIS 180 are working to shift the trajectories of families dealing with the trauma of violence and poverty.

Kathy Colbenson, President and CEO of CHRIS 180, recently spoke with us about the organization’s work and the type of support that can change a child’s life when traumas threaten their ability to even survive everyday.

“There is a young women that, for example, was in our program several years ago, who was third-generation foster care,” Colbenson shared. “That means her grandmother was in foster care, her mother was in foster care as a child and that her mother had six children — of which she was one — and all six of her children ended up in foster care. And there was substance abuse, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse — all kinds of bad things happened.”

READ FULL STORY

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now

Parents Can Protect Their Children From Sexual Abuse

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Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

 

Child sexual abuse is an unpleasant topic, but one that must be addressed with children, teenagers, parents, teachers and with anyone who works with children.

 Recent events in our community have once again brought to light the all-too-often hidden truth about child sexual abuse. Let us not forget, however, that abuse of children is something that happens every day in DeKalb County and everywhere else.

No doubt that when cases come to the forefront regarding a teacher or a coach, it leaves us with an undeniable desire to find the answer to the question, “How could this have happened?”

Child sexual abuse is cloaked in secrecy and perpetuated by offenders who not only groom their victims, but groom the entire community by showing and proving to all around them that they can be trusted.

This is not limited to teachers and coaches. The secrecy, the intimidation and the shame encompass all offenders of sexual abuse. This might be a parent, stepparent or grandparent.

READ FULL STORY

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now

Smart toys, smart idea?

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Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

Have you seen the new, so-called “smart toys” My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Robot? In case you haven’t, here it is in a nutshell – the toys use voice recognition technology and connect via Bluetooth to a mobile app in order to interact with children. Both the My Friend Cayla and the i-Que Robot ask personal questions such as school name, parents’ names, town, and more in order to have seemingly natural conversations with the children who use them.

See where I’m going with this? No? How about the fact that the speech to text technology used to create these “conversations” is from Nuance Communications, a company that sells voice biometric services to military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies. This type of online privacy violation sets the most vulnerable among us up to be the victims of predatory behavior. Is surveillance really the type of interaction we are hoping for with these “smart toys?”  Is desensitizing our kids to surveilling and the notion that our “friends” can spy on us, record it and share that information the goal of giving these types of gifts? No? Then don’t.

Surely I am not the only one who sees a problem with even the most innocent aspect of these toys – the ask/answer sessions of “how do you make a cake” or “what’s your favorite movie?” being a poor substitute for actual human interaction. How about this holiday season if we just take the actual smart way out and unplug, bake a cake, make some cookies, read a story, color a picture, create with clay or take a walk with our kids instead?

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now
Laura Fogarty

Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate, and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


Be aware of abuse a child may be experiencing

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protect children. prevent trauma. reuce taxes

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

 

I’m very sad to say, but it was only a matter of time. The stories are different, but somehow always the same: a well-loved, well-trusted, often immeasurably talented individual infiltrates a youth serving organization to gain access to children. That person successfully victimizes, abuses and shames kids into silence, while receiving praise and respect from parents, the organization and often the community at large.

But it could never happen to our children. Never our coaches or counselors. Not in our community, right?

Wrong.

It could, can and does happen in communities just like yours, to children just like yours, with coaches just like the ones you know, love and trust. Sadly, it happens every day. It’s a lesson the UK is learning right now, in one of the worst ways possible.

READ FULL STORY

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now

The Lesson

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Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

Texting and driving is dangerous. It can be deadly. It’s wrong. I think even if you are among those who still text and drive, you would likely agree with me on those facts. Look a little closer at the “lesson” being taught last week at Brohead High School in Wisconsin and you will also surely agree that lying to our children and betraying their trust is also wrong, dangerous, and potentially deadly.

During morning announcements in this small school it was announced that four students had been killed in a car crash. Details were given, including the “fact” that texting while driving had been a factor in the crash, and how one of the victims had been rushed to the hospital, but did not survive. The students who were the pretend victims in this crash were instructed not to answer messages from classmates during this time. Ten minutes later, the announcement was made that this had been a drill. Throughout the day, more announcements were broadcast, including one claiming that a drunk driver had T-boned and killed more students from Brodhead. Students were distraught, confused, and of course, saddened by these announcements. Students who had a problem with the lesson being taught here were told they were weak and drama-filled. Really? This is how we teach children? It wouldn’t be compassionate, wise, or kind to pretend that someone was dead in order to teach a lesson to an adult, so why is it okay to do this to children? The answer, of course, is – it isn’t.

When we lie to our kids about anything, but in this case deaths caused from texting and driving, we create the potential for them to shut down when we tell them something that is true. This lesson actually did the opposite of what its presenters were hoping for. These kids were traumatized, no doubt, but this exercise will not cause them to stop texting and driving, because the consequences were false. If anything, it will make them less likely to stop texting while driving because the only real lesson here was not to trust what adults say.

When we lie to our kids, we betray the very trust required to teach any type of valuable life lesson. If we think this “drill in safe driving techniques” is a useful one, then surely we can think of more intelligent ways to get there. Even if we agree that it takes a dose of reality to sink in a lesson for teenagers, surely we can see that this particular strategy was not reality based.  The students who were supposedly dead, were not. There is no reality to be seen because there is no truth to the consequences of the pretend texting and driving incident. There is no lesson here, except that adults lie to get their way, and adults can’t be trusted. Is that really the lesson we want to teach?

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now
Laura Fogarty

Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate, and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


Child Safety Made Simple

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protect children. prevent trauma. reuce taxes

Have you signed the petition to protect children from sexual abuse?  Click here to sign now.

There are too many facts, statistics, and evidence-based research figures on the unforgiving table of data for child sexual abuse for any parent to remember them all. So don’t. You don’t need to know that nearly a quarter of our children will be sexually abused before reaching his or her eighteenth birthday. There will be no quiz on what age group of children is the most or least likely to fall victim to a predator. No one is going to hold it against you if you can’t quote the latest research indicating that children know their abuser in 90% of abuse cases. As a parent, you don’t have to commit every fact and every statistic to your memory bank. Just remember this – children who possess the language and the permission to talk about sexual abuse are the safest children. Then ask yourself, “Do my kids have both?”

Permission to talk about abuse means exactly that- permission. Create an open dialogue with your children about what’s appropriate and inappropriate, and the importance of trusting one’s instincts. Talking about sexual abuse is not a one-time event; it is an open, ongoing discussion that you and your children feel comfortable with. Give your children the permission they need to talk to you by talking freely and unashamedly about protecting their bodies. Simple enough, right?

Onto the second tool is this combo – language. Children need to know the proper terms for body parts. Perpetrators often use “silly” names for private parts as part of the grooming process. Make sure your child knows the difference between a secret (something to be hidden) and a surprise (something to be revealed). Tell your child it is okay to say “no” if someone makes them uncomfortable in any way.

So forget all the numbers. Never mind with the most recent data. Give your littles the tools they need to be safe – language and permission. It really is that simple.

1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now
Laura Fogarty

Laura Fogarty

Editor, Ask Lala

Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate, and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!

Laura has an ACE score of 7.


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