Category Archives: Parenting

Activist or Slacktivist?

ACT - Action Changes Things

Do you remember seeing weird posts from friends like “I like it on the bed”, “I just found out I’m pregnant” or “Post the color of your bra…”?

I think we’ve all seen one of those weird status posts that a friend will make and when you reach out to find out what’s going on you get a private message something like this…

“Hey! You should not have liked or commented! Now you have to pick one of the 14 below and post to your status. This was the 2014 breast cancer awareness game:

Don’t be a spoil sport choose your poison, and change your status 1) Damn diarrhea 2) Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket 3) Anyone have a tampon, I’m out 4) How do you get rid of foot fungus 5) Why is nobody around when I’m horny? 6) No toilet paper goodbye socks! 7) Someone offered me a job as a prostitute but I’m hesitant. 8) I think I’m in love with someone what should I do? 9) I’ve decided 2 stop wearing underwear. 10) I still love my ex. 11) I really don’t know how 2 tell anyone and I’m sick of hiding it I’m gay. 12) Guess it was 2 good 2 b true I’m pregnant. 13) Just won $7000 on a scratchy. 14) I’ve just found out I’ve been cheated on for the past 5 months. Post with no explanations. Sorry, I fell for it too!”

A respected friend and former co-worker posted this with a tidy rant about people being “slactivists” by just playing these games that get nothing done and to do something worthwhile for a worthy cause. I couldn’t agree more.

I’d never heard the word “slacktivist” before but it fits so perfectly.  You know, the person who hits “like” but doesn’t lift more than there mousing finger to help.

This is the 2017 breast cancer game.  This does nothing to spread awareness of a horrible disease, how does this save lives?  Men need to be aware of this too, their wives, daughters, mothers and even they can wind up with breast cancer!

Hi beautiful ladies so here it is the time of year again when we try to raise awareness of breast cancer through a game. Its very easy and i would like all of you to participate. Last year we had to write the colour of our bra’s on our status. Men wondered for days what was going on with random colors on status’s. This year we make reference to our love life status as a flavor. Do not answer to this message just post corresponding word on your status and send this message privately to all the girls on your friends list. Blueberry is single, pineapple is its complicated, raspberry is I dont want to commit, apple is engaged, cherry is in a relationship, banana is married, avacado is I’m the better half, strawberry is can’t find mr right, lemon is I want to be single and raisin is I want to get married to my partner. Last time the bra game was mentioned on t.v let’s see if we can get there with this one. Please resend this to all your girly friends then update your status with your answer ONLY! DONT TELL ANY GUYS! I hope to see lots of fruit

I like fun and games as much as the next person, but really how does this promote breast cancer awareness?  Most of the statements have nothing to do with breast cancer (and are mostly obnoxious).  How does this get people to self-check? Or donate for research? Or support those who are living with it currently or have survived it?

My mother had breast cancer.  She was quite lucky in the grand scheme of things.  She found a lump in a self-check and told the doctor.  She was then sent for a mammogram and then had a lumpectomy to remove the mass and test to confirm that it was indeed cancer.  She went through a couple of months of radiation and that was it.  Other family, friends, and acquaintances haven’t been so lucky.

Be sure to check out Whispers Kill, Check Them Before You Wreck Them!!!

I don’t think I know a single person that hasn’t been impacted by cancer, breast cancer or otherwise.  Do you?  I personally know people who are currently battling cancer, who have multiple sclerosis (MS), muscular dystrophy (MD) and autism.  And that’s just the top of the list.  (BTW, if you haven’t heard the new numbers are out.  Autism now affects 1 in 68 children.  Horrifying!)

Now to be fair, participating in these little games is not indicative of what else you do to support issues that you’re passionate about in the rest of your life… participating in fundraisers, making donations, purchasing items that donate to your cause, boycotting items, etc.

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You don’t have to chain yourself to a fence at a nuclear reactor or march or be arrested to be an activist.  You just have to be involved and active.

Here are some links to get you started if you’re interested in donating, clicking on any of them will open a new page for that organization:

CLICK HERE  to read a great article from Just Give.org about how to help the homeless.  Remember that almost all organizations are always looking for volunteers.  Check out Volunteer Match.org to find volunteering opportunities in your neighborhood.

Don’t forget your local community needs your help too!  Libraries, homeless shelters, animal shelter, blood drives, various coat/clothing/food drives at area churches, food pantries are always looking for donations and volunteers.  Being active in your community helps to build a better place to live!

If you recall recent news, due to an incident in a Utah school, people have been donating money to local schools to pay unpaid lunch tabs to ensure that kids get to eat lunch.  How awesome is that?

So be proud, tell people what you’ve done and encourage them to do the same.  Remember, even if it’s the $2 you were going to spend for your morning coffee, it still helps!  Click that “other” box and fill out the amount.  No matter how much or how little you can help it will be appreciated.

Participate in breast cancer walks, MDA walks, blood drives, food drives or volunteer your time.  Check out my post called Reading is FUNdamental for another great idea for volunteerism!  Get your kids involved and teach them to care about their community.

Remember that there can be other rewards as well.  I knew a woman who volunteered at the local Y so she could have a family membership in return.  My daughter used to volunteer at a local stable during hippotherapy sessions; in exchange, volunteers were offered free riding time.  Our local science museum (COSI) trades membership for volunteer hours. If you complete the maximum amount of hours, you get lifetime family admission, which is also good at any reciprocal science center in the country.

Volunteering is also a great way to get on the job experience without having a paid job, a great way for the kids to start out before they start looking for paid work.  Throughout my high school years, I babysat for the blood mobile, babysat for a bowling alley during league play, assisted the leader of my sister’s Girl Scout troop and was an obedience instructor at our local canine club.

And the best part?  Activism makes you feel good about yourself and connected to the world around you!

So show off your passions, promote your causes, make people aware and care, tell them what you do and challenge them to join you.  Be an activist and help those causes that you’re passionate about, show those “slactivists” how it’s done.  Let them know it’s not enough to play silly games, they have to help.  Then post pictures, give dates of drives and ask your friends what they’re doing and see if they want to join you in the fun.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

P.S.  If there are any great causes that you are passionate about, leave me a message and I’ll be happy to add it to this list for others to see!

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My Epiphany For Social Change

I want to precursor this by letting you know that I actually wrote this about 10 years ago.  It’s just as relevant now as it was then.  I probably should have sent it to the White House as a petition.

If any of you have any ideas or connections to make this happen, or make it better, by all means, let me know and feel free to share this.

A little back story… My ex-husband (Kid’s biological father) was ordered to court when she was 5 so we could start receiving child support.  He never responded to or complied with court information requests for job and income information.  The child support order was written based on minimum wage (which was $4.25 at the time).  Truly, each time there was a minimum wage increase I should have gone back to court to have it adjusted.  I, however, didn’t feel it worth the time since he wasn’t paying it anyway.

President Clinton signed into law a bill making it a felony to flee the state to avoid paying child support.  Shortly afterward, I discovered that he moved to Kentucky.  I called child support enforcement and was told that they couldn’t go after him because even though we were separated we were still legally married.  (I was not able to collect government assistance including him in our ranks however because we didn’t live together.  See a little problem there?  I know I did.)

Fast forward our story to about 3 years ago.  All of a sudden I start receiving small child support checks.  To this day I’m not sure if a) he just ran out of under the table jobs, b) he finally stayed at a job long enough for the support order to kick in or c) lost track of time and thought she was too old to have to pay child support somehow thinking it goes away when they get older.

The checks lasted a couple of months (every two weeks) before child support finally issued me one of their new debit cards.  Then the payments stopped.  Over the next year, I would get one randomly here or there before they stopped again altogether.

Well these sporadic payments triggered an audit and I was required to go to court several times and of course, he never showed up.  After almost 14 years of non-support and arrearages of over $20,000 (remember, this was based on $4.25 an hour) child support they decided that it was the time that an arrest warrant was issued and that he should go to jail.

I asked the attorney when he goes to prison does the state pay the support on his behalf?  No.  So let me get this straight… he hasn’t willingly contributed to the raising of his daughter at any opportunity, he owes me over $20K and now I have to support him during his incarceration via my tax dollars???  In addition, when he gets out of prison he’ll have a record making it even more difficult for him to get a job?  How does this help me, our daughter, him, anyone really?

I know that mine is not the only side of the coin on this issue.  I know that many “deadbeats” are classed as such, not because they don’t want to take care of their kids but because they can’t.  Poor job markets, unfair support orders (ones favoring the child/ren with the ex but not factoring in the children living with you because you don’t have a support order for them since they live in your home), support orders that don’t allow enough left in your check for you to live on but if you get a second job they’ll take that too, etc…

So here’s the epiphany… open the draft to “deadbeat parents” after say, one year of non-support.  Don’t wait for 5, 10, 15 years for things to get so out of control.  Here’s my reasoning…

By being drafted into the military, the draftee’s pay is based on the number of dependants guaranteeing that all parties are covered and no one is getting the short end of the stick.

All parties would be covered by insurance.  Sadly, even if an employer does offer insurance the cost is even more prohibitive when you have child support being deducted from your pay.  In addition, life insurance is also part of the package making sure that your child will continue to be taken care of on your behalf should something happen to you before they reach 18.

Being in the military is recession proof as well as lazy proof.  You can’t get laid off or fired.  Your job will never be outsourced and your hours will never be cut.

Being in the military is salaried position so there are no fluctuations in pay making it difficult to pay a set support amount if you miss a days work.

Being in the military will offer the opportunity for you to learn a trade and/or go to college.  Most Americans can’t afford to go back to college once they take on the financial responsibilities of a family.  This tends to add to the frustration because this is where we truly see the value of an education at its fullest as an adult. We now “get it” that we need the degree to get the better job to better support our families.  The military allows you to do both without you or your family starving and/or becoming homeless.

I realize this is a two-sided coin.  There are those that would find the miliary as a deterrant and that’s fine.  Do what you have to do to keep from being drafted.  For others out there, this would be a welcome solution and a means to get on track as opposed to prison which will have negative ramifications for the rest of your life.  By and large I believe this could be the most proactive step our country could take to reform a system that isn’t working.

Please give me your feedback and let me know what you think.  If you really like the idea, share it with others – including people in position to make change.

Maggie

Spending Time With You

I saw a piece that came through on Buzz Feed entitled 31 Delightful Things To Do By Yourself.  I really enjoyed seeing that piece come around and I really hope that it inspires  younger people to do things solo.  Not just because it’s frugal, but because it’s necessary.  When I was younger I didn’t know how to spend time with myself nor did I want to.  While I love spending time with friends and family, I am finally at a point in my life where I enjoy my own company.  It took me way too long to get here.

After all the years that I spent being an active mother and wife, I realized that I spent my time as the hub in all the activities. I was included with each person individually and as a family, but I never went off on my own adventures even though my husband kept unsuccessfully trying to encourage me to do so.  (Thanks for trying ARV, you were right.)

My daughter moved out and that was a bit of an adjustment.  I think kids are more prepared to leave the house then the parents are to let it happen.  With her gone, it just left me and my husband together (constantly) and that was not good at all. After a few years of that we separated and it left me alone and scared to death.

Here I am two years later, and while I still enjoy my time with others, I’ve really come to value and enjoy my time by myself.  I write, I paint, I craft, I read, and I meditate. I spend time with you and the rest of my online friends.  I enjoy going out to dinner occasionally (when I can afford it LOL) with my kindle.

I like going shopping and just wandering around the stores looking at things, or going for a drive and checking out the landscape. I love listening to music, I read and occasionally I turn on the TV.  And the best part?  I never have to negotiate what I’ll be watching or feeling trapped and wishing I could be doing something else instead.

Spring Dreams2
This is my latest painting, I made it for my niece and her husband. That is their initials and their wedding date on the tree trunk.

As we go through life we find out that we don’t stay the “hub”, as our children become the “hub” of their own families and lives.  We may be married, single (or widowed).  We need to enjoy ourselves and value ourselves as others do.  So take the time to make friends with yourself; take yourself out on dates, spend quality time with yourself and make sure you’re giving yourself the same time out of “family time” that other family members get, you really need it.

What things to you enjoy doing on your own?

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Spread the Word, Lend a Hand

** Update**  Christion Isaac-Alexander Shaw  6/20/09 – 12/18/14   Please consider helping with this fundraiser to help with the arrangements and passing on this story of Christion and his life.  Thank you – Maggie **

 

Sorry that I haven’t posted in a while.  I have been experiencing many life changes, most positive… a new relationship, new additions to the family with more on the way, a little travelling with a whole lot of visiting, etc.

Today’s post unfortunately is not so upbeat.

Today we’re stepping up to a window into the life of an incredible single mother and her two sons… a one seven-week old named Cameron and the other a five-year old named Christion who has muscular dystrophy.

 

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This is my friend KaShonda and her boys.  Christion is 5 years old and has Nemaline myopathy Muscular Dystrophy.  He’s a great kid.  He laughs and plays and watches TV… loves Handy Manny and was completely enamored with being able to watch PBS Kids on my iPad and snuggling with me while Mom and I got to spend time together.  In many ways Christion is just like any other 5-year-old.

 

 

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Then there’s all the special extras that do not surround a typical 5-year-old… oxygen, suction to clear his lungs, a belt that provides air pressure that simulates pounding on his back to loosen the mucus in his lungs, wheelchairs, monitors, pulse oximeters, etc.

While as a country we’re trying to get kids away from the happy meals, Christion has never had one and probably never will.  Christion doesn’t eat, he has a feeding tube directly into his stomach with nutrition that comes in a pouch.

 

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Christion doesn’t have babysitters or daycare, but has home nurses.  In fact KaShonda even went to nursing school just so she could not only be better prepared to take care of her son but so that she would be able to work at home with him.  It doesn’t get anymore incredible than that, truly a devoted mother.

Sadly just a few short weeks ago, Christion’s health once again took a down turn when he developed pneumonia and wound up in the ICU.  Finally improving enough to be moved out of ICU, you can see that spirits were high.

 

Tickle time!
Tickle time!

 

Later this very same day, November 28th, Christion coded.  Medical personnel worked on him extensively to revive him but he was down for 12-13 minutes.    This is Christion right now…

 

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Heartbreaking is the only word that applies and yet that word doesn’t go deep enough.  He is 5 years old and should be writing letters to Santa, not hooked to monitors unresponsive.  His Mom should be trying to sneak in presents to surprise him with, not crying bedside in a hospital room, praying for her son.

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Then there’s Cameron.  For those who would say that thank God the 7 week-old is “normal”, they are incorrect.  While Cameron is quite healthy he is in no way normal.

Seven week-old babies should be in their mothers arms, not bounced around to relatives so his mom can keep her vigil at Children’s Hospital.  Cameron should have a big brother that can teach him to throw a football, intimidate kids who try to bully him, teach him how to date, how to drive and be his best friend.

UPDATE:   While the CT scan and EEG’s looked promising, an MRI has shown that Christion has suffered massive trauma on his whole brain and the prognosis is not positive and family is preparing for the inevitable.   Prayers are still needed for this family, for strength and courage to help them along their difficult journey.  Any donations would help considerably.  Please consider sharing this post or the fundraiser page to help.

Donations for Christion

Donations for research can be made to:

Muscular Dystrophy Association
National Office
222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60606
888-HELP-MDA
(888-435-7632)

 

If your children are healthy, give thanks.  Not just once, but every day.  Life is fragile and it can be short.  Please take the time if you can to help a friend or neighbor who may need that extra hand.  Consider donating to research to continue the fight for a cure for this and other diseases and disabilities that hurt children and torment parents.  Even a few dollars a month can do a lot of good.

Have a safe, happy and healthy with your family and please join me in #PrayersforChristion.  Please share this story and allow his story to open hearts and maybe a wallet or two.  We can’t have too many people praying for him or sending positive energy their way.
{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Helping Others Through Understanding

Many people suffer from social anxiety and/or depression, some more severe than others. If you know someone who does, please talk to them.

I was reading the blog post linked below and felt I really needed to pass the message on.

http://www.newlycrunchymamaof3.com/dear-diary/social-anxiety-strikes-again?fb_action_ids=10202082985225280&fb_action_types=og.likes

Reading this woman’s blog really cut close to home for me since I’ve suffered from depression for many years.

Depression goes in waves and even with medication it doesn’t go away, the waves just get calmer and less erratic.  It’s hard dealing with people who think that you should “get over it” or think that medication should “cure you” or worst of all can’t tell or refuse to acknowledge that there’s a difference between having depression and being depressed about things.  For that reason I really wish there was another name for it other than depression.

Thoughts come into your head that you didn’t put there, you don’t want there and can’t control.  Worst of all, you’re afraid to talk about them because of how people will react.  Some people treat you differently.  Some people freak out.  Some think you’re saying it for attention – which by the way is one of the most horrible things you could ever say to a person with depression.  We don’t want this, I can promise you that.

My daughter has dealt with panic & anxiety almost her whole life.  I’ve dealt with some anxiety issues, but not to the level that she has.  Having the opportunity to home school allowed her & I to come to understand her issues better, know what triggers to avoid, when we need to talk things through and when she needs a “time out”.  Because all nerves are connected, these “mental” issues affect physical ones as well… over sensitive hearing, sense of touch can be painful, stomach cramps, headaches, etc.

Overstimulation has always been a big issue and she can’t handle crowds.  Once we were able to isolate this, she started putting herself in “time out”.  Our code was that she had one of “her headaches”, it let me know that things were getting to be too much for her and that she couldn’t handle it.  If we were in a social setting it allowed her to gracefully bow out away from other kids with parental support so she could go to a quiet place and regroup.

I’ve got to say Bach’s Rescue Remedy was a miracle drug during those years.  A few drops in whatever she was drinking, made a huge difference and she still keeps it on hand to this day and thankfully rarely needs it.

Diet and medications can play a huge roll in these issues like these.  While you cannot “be cured” by eating a certain diet, etc, what you put into your system can make symptoms worse.

Many years ago I pulled a muscle in my back and the doctor had prescribed a certain pain medication (one that I have refused to take since).  Within days I could swear I could feel the gravitational pull of the planet.  My tone of voice was just nasty and hateful without meaning to be and I wasn’t aware that I was doing it most of the time.  When you say something to your (then) six-year-old and they look at you and say “it’s okay Mommy, I know it’s the medication” – there’s a problem.  Huge!

While you hear warnings in the media about giving antidepressants to teens because of the adverse effects (i.e. suicidal tendencies) they can cause. However you rarely hear about other medications and how they can cause problems.  My doctor knew of my depression and was the one that put me on medication for it.  He then gave me depo-provera for birth control and never once mentioned that it could be contributing to my depression worsening… even though depression is the number one side effect of depo-provera!  Instead he just kept adjusting  the dosage of my medication.  Thankfully I was able to say “this isn’t working anymore” and
“my symptoms are getting worse”.  Some people aren’t that lucky, instead they get consumed with it then try to (and sometimes succeed at) taking their own life.

If you have a friend or family member that suffers from social anxiety, depression, etc.  If they’re turning down your invitations but saying they’d like to get together, find out what’s up.  Maybe they can’t hang out with you at the club or the bowling alley or Chuck E.Cheese with the kids, but they’d love to meet you at the park or in a coffee shop.

If you’re not inviting them to something you know they can’t handle – let them know! Say “hey, I’d love to have you there but I know you can’t handle this”, so they know you’re not ignoring them and they also know you’re trying to be understanding of what they’re going through.  By all means let them know if they’re up to it you wish they’d come. Silence makes things worse.  Don’t let them think that you’re shunning them when you’re really trying to help.  Communication is key!

If you’re a parent, please listen.  Don’t assume.  If you have never dealt personally with anxiety or depression but you think your child is having these issues, introduce them to an adult that has if you can.  Whether it’s a friend of the family or a counselor, better to err on the side of caution.  Learn what you can and encourage your child to open up to you, without judgement.  It can be scary to hear certain things as a parent, but you must have empathy rather than panic or anger.  A little girl who my daughter was in Brownies with didn’t have anyone to listen and took her own life at 17.

There is nothing lonelier than depression, anxiety and panic.  It’s like being in a dark hole and the air is getting thick.  You can’t reach out because you can’t see anyone in the dark.  Please be the light in the dark and reach out.   Ask how you can help to understand what they’re going through.  You may be able to help, then again most likely there may be nothing you can do.  Or they may just not know what you can do but knowing that you’re there for them and care enough to ask makes a huge difference.

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

And The “Mom of the Year Award” Goes To…

That would go to Ashley, Ryan & Adam’s mom!

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Ma’am, I don’t know who or where you are but there are parents all over the country that are saluting your genius as we speak.  I do believe that my own mother would have taken you out to dinner and bought you a drink if she were alive today.

Wifi Password

Keep doing what you’re doing!

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Teaching the Keys to Safety is Essential

When my daughter was still in elementary school there was a stranger danger alert.

Remember this

 

While I no longer have a child at home, seeing this picture on Facebook brought it all rushing back.  My daughter rode her bike back and forth to school.  We lived just a few blocks from the school which made her a walker but she had no one to walk with her.  Due to severe health problems at the time resulting in surgery, I was unable to drive her.

According to the school, riding a bike to school was considered a “privilege” reserved for 3rd graders and above.  I finally got them to concede that riding a bike by yourself was safer than walking by yourself.  And since they weren’t willing to walk with her or find someone to do so, they finally allowed her to ride solo.

In addition, I had gotten my daughter a Tracfone that she took with her anytime she was out by herself so she could call for help if she fell off her bike riding around the neighborhood or later on needed to check in to tell me when she got to her final destination (store, library, etc).   I used to get her the card with a year of service every Christmas and every year she had leftover minutes that would roll over.  At the time they only came with 150 minutes, so she did great!

Anyway, on “stranger danger day” the whole school was on lock down.  I was panicking because she was late and I had no way of finding out what was going on and no way to go looking for her.  (I think this was a week or two after my abdominal surgery.)  I called the school and thankfully found out what was going on.   My daughter in the meantime was panicking because she was going to be late and she knew I would worry and they wouldn’t let her call home on her phone or theirs!  (Yes, I took that up with the school too.)

Here in the Midwest, all towns are equipped with tornado sirens.  They are tested everywhere on Wednesdays at noon and carry an unmistakable sound that lets everyone for miles know of impending danger.

I wrote a letter to the mayor, the school board and the principal asking that a similar system be utilized to put everyone on alert.  My suggestion to them was that we use something similar to the tornado siren system to alert everyone to what was going on.

Not only would a siren notify parents as to why students would be delayed, but it would alert students to “drill” type procedures like a fire alarm as well as letting area neighbors know that they needed to be on the look out for suspicious people in the area.  My suggestion was declined with a letter telling me that it was too much effort and unnecessary.

While I always knew I placed more value on my daughter than anyone else did, it was very disturbing to see it written out and her worth be considered so negligible.  It was the following school year that I began homeschooling my daughter.

In the meantime, in the “aftermath” of the event, one of the local news stations had interviewed a few people and it was on the air that very night.  One police officer commented that it’s very hard to catch “strangers” because children made such horrible witnesses because they have no concept of age, weight, etc.

Following the suggestions that officer made during that interview, my wheels got moving.  We called an “emergency” Brownie meeting that the parents were required to attend with the girls.  We did mock sessions asking the kids to describe us.  We met at the school, so having the chalkboard at our disposal we wrote out the answers the girls came up.  Adults were described as being anywhere from 20 to 100 years old, up to 1500 lbs and 20 feet tall!

When we asked the kids to describe what a stranger looked like, it was like asking them to describe a comic villain.  They were confused at first when we told them that a stranger is anyone you don’t know.  They can be handsome, friendly, clean and can even have a puppy.

We then taught them (and their parents) that rather than trying to come up with numbers, to do comparisons instead. Cindy’s dad looks as old as my dad or he’s fat like Uncle Bob or Patty’s mom is skinny like Aunt Judy, wears her hair like my babysitter or smiles like Grandma.

Size, shape, skin color, hair color, hair style and car makes, models & colors are all something that can be accurately communicated this way as long as children are taught to look for the comparisons so they can related them to you or police.

If a child does witness anything and are communicating with police, parents will be called and involved.  From there, police can clarify descriptions with the parents… how old is Dad, how are Uncle Bob or Aunt Judy built, etc.

I used to teach employees that the best form of security is good customer service.  Engage the customer and maintain eye contact.   There’s nothing wrong with teaching kids this too.  Those people who do bad things look for easy targets, whether it’s an adult or child.  They want someone who is easily intimidated and manipulated.   Assertiveness training is not just for adulthood, a dynamic personality keeps people safe at any age.

None of these things need be taught by panic.  The goal is not to teach paranoia  but rather awareness.  Play is always the best way to teach.  Make it a game.

  • Take pictures of celebrities and have your child describe them trying to have you guess who it is.
  • Point out scenarios that you see on the street that you feel could be unsafe and engage your child in conversation.  “See that little girl alone on the street corner?  That doesn’t look safe to me.  What do you think?”
    • It shows you listen to them and value their opinion
    • It teaches them to look around them to see situations and to watch out for other people.
  • Selling popcorn and cookies for Scouts or fundraisers for school or church are great ways to get them to practice eye contact and assertiveness (along with salesmanship, manners & cash handling).

Passwords are also a great means of security that we utilized as well.  It’s that extra step that not only makes them feel safe but makes them feel empowered.  We now live in a world filled with passwords, get them used to it early.  Let them learn what a good password is and let them practice even when you pick them up.  It’s a secret shared with only you two.

One last thing.  Teach your child to listen to their gut (or their “spidey sense” as I like to call it).  Whether it’s a neighbor or a relative, if they give your kid the creeps, please don’t force contact or allow them to be alone with that person.

Learning to trust your primal instincts is a good skill and one we unfortunately don’t listen to often enough.  How many times have you done something, only to kick yourself later commenting “I KNEW I shouldn’t have done that!” or “I had a bad feeling about that, but did it anyway”?

When Kid was little I read an article about a study done with victims of molestation.  Almost all of them had come from families where there was forced intimacy… meaning “go give Uncle Bernie a kiss”, “I don’t want to, I don’t like him” only to be told to do it anyway or something guilt provoking like “he’ll be sad” or he’s gonna cry”.  To adults it tends to be a big game to teach about manners.  I remember these vividly from my own childhood.

Sadly, instead of teaching manners, it teaches children that adults have authority over their bodies.  It also teaches that if they don’t listen to “Uncle Bernie” that they can get yelled at, punished, etc. by their parents or their parents will be mad at them.  I had never considered this until reading that article and it had a profound impact me based on incidents in my own childhood.

I know you want to keep your kids safe, and I want your kids to be safe too.  The world is a scary place but that doesn’t mean they have to be scared of it.  Give them the tools they need that keep them safe and will also help you sleep at night.

 

{{{hugs}}}

 

Maggie