Friday, August 30, 2013

GUEST BLOG: Protecting Kids From Sexual Abuse

Guest blog Friday!

 
Nicole, a great friend of mine has written today's blog post.  She is a mother of two boys, Jude (4) & Isaac (2).  She also travels the country speaking about sexual abuse and has authored two books on the subject: Hush and Breath

Sexual abuse is a topic I've wanted to write and pray about for some time now and, in my opinion, Nicole is the perfect person to author the topic.

For more information about Nicole and her ministry go to www.iamonevoice.org or visit her blog at www.nicolebromley.tumblr.com

She's the real deal & she loves Jesus!

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As an international spokesperson and author on the issue of sexual abuse and trafficking, I imagine that when Renee asked me to write something on my heart about kids, she knew I wasn't going to write about how to get them to memorize Scripture.

As a survivor of child sexual abuse myself, it is important to me to talk to my kids in ways that always keep them close to me and the heart of God and away from things and people who will hurt them.

One of the best ways we can do all of those things is by simply talking to them.

Talk to the children in your life. Spend time with them. Ask questions.

Get to know them.

One of the most valuable things a parent can do is to take the time to really know their child. Know what they like and don’t like. Know your child’s friends. Know your child’s friend’s parents. Know your child so well that you are attuned to changes.

Kids are not second-class citizens. They are real people, with thoughts, ideas, gifts, talents, fears, humor and unconditional love. I love bedtime with my 4 year old because we often have real conversations that blow my mind. He understands so much more than I often give him credit for; he thinks deeply; he desires wisdom and soaks in information better than I could dream of doing.

Use teachable moments and everyday opportunities to initiate a deeper conversation, such as current news stories or stories they share with you about their friends.

Be patient.

Set a tone of openness. Talking openly and directly will tell your child that it is okay to come to you with questions, fears or confusion; and when your child presents concerns or questions, make time to really listen and talk with them.

Practice talking before there is ever a problem. Be willing to say the hard things, ask the difficult questions, confront red flag behavior. Speak the embarrassing words out loud; you will both become more comfortable using those words over time. Developing a practice of stress-free conversations surrounding tough issues with people (big and small) in your life helps to keep everyone open and honest. Make it obvious to those close to you that you are a good listener, non-judgmental, and will listen to what they have to share, no matter what.

When they ask questions, listen for the question behind the question. Sometimes a child may ask you something with the hope that you will take initiative in moving toward their real question. The child needs affirmation that their questions are okay and that you are willing to be there for them, especially in tough or awkward conversations. They are also testing to see if they can approach you on such subjects.

Who do you feel you can trust? Talk to your children about these people. Give them permission to talk to these specific adults when they feel scared, uncomfortable or confused about someone’s behavior toward them. And let them know that they should always talk to you—even about those you feel are trustworthy—and that you will always listen and love and protect them no matter what.

Don’t keep the family secrets; avoid perpetuating generational curses. Don’t avoid talking about situations or topics that arise in your own extended family or in families you associate with.

Maybe you still don’t feel comfortable talking about tough but important topics with your kids…here are some ideas to help you get started.


-write your child a letter

-make an appointment for you and your child to talk with a healthcare provider or child counselor

-watch a television show together and talk about the characters

-find a book or video on issues of growing up; read/watch it yourself first, then with your child and discuss it



Don’t plan to have one BIG TALK; instead, look for opportunities to have small talks and for special moments when the door opens for deeper discussion or heartfelt questions.

And finally, pray for your kids!


Heavenly Father, I pray for my children. I ask you to protect them from abuse and from those who do evil. I pray that as a parent you would help me to communicate with my kids. Help me to be a safe place for them. God, give me eyes to look beneath the surface and to see the unspoken hurts that might be present in my children, so that they may be spoken and healed. May my arms be open to not only my children, but their friends and to be a place of comfort and care for those who need it. Open my mind to acknowledge that things like injustice, violence and abuse are happening to children and families very close to me; do not let me deny it or live in silence but grant me the courage to be a voice, a listening ear and an advocate for them in their time of need. And, for the children in my life and in my kids' school, church, soccer team, etc, who have already experienced abuse, Lord heal their broken hearts and put their shattered minds and stolen innocence back together. You have the power to make all things new. In Jesus Name.

 


2 comments:

  1. Standing ovation to you Nicole!!

    We are losing too many children to this evil.

    Our voices are needed. Thank you for using yours to serve us all.

    Tonya Genison Prince

    http://www.speak-2-end-abuse.com

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  2. Thanks for sharing this, Renee! These are great tips to raise and protect your kid from threat of abuse. Some aren't so lucky. With the constant increase of children suffering abuse, it would be best to take some precautions and avail services of professionals. I hope this helps a lot of parents.

    Vesta Duvall @ Zalkin

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