What You Can Teach Your Child To Prevent Sexual Abuse [From An Expert In Trauma-Informed Therapy]

 

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According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized and that they are vulnerable between the ages of 7 to 13. This statistic is heartbreaking as no child should ever suffer this kind of experience. People who do terrible things such as sexual abuse are evil.

 

It is difficult for us, parents, to watch our kids all the time, especially adolescents as they tend to explore and have friends whom they spend time with, and no matter how we stay hands-on, there are things we cannot control. Horrible things happen, and when they do, there is no undoing them. They say “prevention is better than cure” and it is indeed true. It is better to educate our children on how they can prevent sexual assaults.

 

What We Can Do To Prevent Our Child From Being Sexually Abused:

 

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  1. Instruct your child not to let anyone touch her private parts no matter what. It’s no one’s business and that anyone who tries it is a dangerous person. Tell them to inform you if someone tries to touch them. A child is helpless, and whoever did it will definitely try it again if he gets the chance, so it is crucial that you are aware of everything, and as a parent, you know when something is not right about your child.

 

  1. Instruct your child never to allow anyone to take pictures of her naked. The number of pedophile cases in the world is sickening that’s why it is vital that they know that they should avoid people who are interested in seeing their private parts, may it be through photos or videos as criminals sell these to people evil enough to take pleasure from seeing them.

 

  1. Educate your child how to get out of an awkward situation. Children tend to fear and be receptive to adults that’s why they may be hesitant to refuse or say no. Teach your child what she can say to get out of the situation like saying she needs to poo or pee then call for help. Remember to teach her how to use the phone to contact you in times of emergency. Better yet, never leave your child alone with anyone unless you are 101% sure they are safe.

 

  1. Create a code like a gesture or magic words whenever they feel unsafe around guests in the house. When they are out with friends, having something to let them have access to communication is essential. Let them bring a phone with them so that they can contact you anytime. Teach them a text code they can send you when they feel threatened indicating they need to be rescued.

 

  1. Educate your child never to talk or go with strangers at any cost. They certainly have no business with any other adults, and the only time they can entertain other people is when you are around or when they get lost and need the help of a police officer.
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“Prevention is better than cure” indeed. Nowadays, we can never be too sure about the safety of our kids, and the only thing we can do is to double or perhaps triple our guard. It is definitely a whole lot better than helping them recover from something we may have prevented.

 

It is not paranoia. It is called “love” and “being a parent.” Browse through the website of Betterhelp if you need advice on how you can manage your fears and priorities as a parent. There, you can contact licensed therapists to help you with your parenting.

Pediatric Counseling: The Effects of Technology on Your Child’s Health

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Since innovation makes everyone’s lives efficient, most people highly depend on it. It is due to the rapid growth of technology that affects every individual’s busy lives. In this era, there’s no doubt that innovation plays a significant role in a child’s development as well. Though it’s something helpful for kids, it provides hidden damage to their well-being.

The Unbiased Truth

In some cases of a pediatric counseling session, the therapist discovers that most children almost spend seven to eight hours in front of a computer, tablet, and mobile phone. Parents somehow allow it, thinking that it is the only way to keep their kids safe from the harshness of the environment. Parents try to lock their children in a specific and reachable vicinity, hands over some technological devices. They ignore the fact that too much consumption of these gadgets creates a problem with the critical factors of development such as movement, touch, human connection, and nature exposure. However, technology is not all that bad. There are points that it is helpful in some significant ways.

Source: defense.gov

How Technology Negatively Affects Children

  • Though technology is beneficial in some ways, it still impacts the foundation of achieving a healthy mental state. It slows down child development by affecting visual and auditory systems giving them overloaded information from too much consumption. In line with that, it also limits children’s bodies to achieve optimum sensory and motor development.
  • Due to technology, children also have a lesser ability to focus and always find it hard to think critically. Therefore, there is a higher possibility that they might suffer from a sleep disorder, learning difficulties, anxiety, depression, coordination disorder, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, developmental delays, and the list goes on.
  • Even if technology can support the means of communication, there is still a chance that it can cause isolation. Children use technology to avoid social interactions which somehow affects the development of their emotions and empathy. It produces a long-term effect on handling their peers and might end up having issues in their future relationships as well.
  • “I have seen kids and young adults whose lives have been derailed and diminished by their inability to regulate their gaming. I have known young men who have verbally or even physically assaulted their parents for attempting to restrict their gaming,” according to psychologist Dr. Dave Verhaagen. This is another terrible effect of technology, and in this case, video gaming.
Source: wikimedia.org

How Technology Positively Affects Children

  • Too much exposure of children to technology gives them the advantage to become more capable of handling research. They become more analytical and comprehensive due to an easy access of information across the web. They can enable themselves to multitask and create decisions quickly.
  • In some cases, the visual games they play can help develop their peripheral visions. And for those who use technology at night, they often use problem-solving and decision-making brain regions which are a beneficial source of mental exercise.
  • Technology helps with communication and interaction. With the help of the web, children may develop their social skills by connecting with different types of people. They can use technology to widen their network and build a strong foundation of a relationship through technological adjustments.

There is a positive and negative side of everything so parents should be aware of the possible side effects of technology as well. All the inconclusive evidence can lead to one multiple health problems, so there is always a need for moderation.

Online Therapy For Insomnia: Most Awaited Solution

“Insomnia, when chronic, tends to be unremitting, disabling, costly, pervasive, and pernicious. These factors, in combination with the existence of effective treatments, provide more than sufficient justification for the perspective that insomnia should be a primary focus for treatment,” says Sara E. Matteson-Rusby, PsyD.

Insomnia is linked to various diseases and even to the development of psychiatric disorders. Some studies claim that insomnia affects almost 50% of the American population. By this mere assumption, one can conclude how profuse and widespread insomnia is.

Insomnia is defined as a sleeping problem characterized by difficulty falling and maintaining sleep and trouble going back to sleep. It is attributed to numerous factors, but statistics show specific facts.

schaumburgcounselor.com

 

Truths About Insomnia

“Pharmacological interventions are often used for insomnia treatment, and they can be effective. However many people find the side effects of such medication difficult to tolerate. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a good option for people who do not want to rely on medication,” according to Jennifer Chen, PsyD.

When insomnia in kids is concerned – “Many parents think that a child with insomnia needs an overnight sleep study to get to the root of the problem. However, most children do not need a sleep study. Most childhood insomnia can be improved with a better bedtime routine,” as explained in Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, PsyD’s blog who happens to be a pediatric sleep psychologist.

Online Therapy

The similar digital screen that reared the generation of insomniacs is in fact also the answer for their sleeping problems. New evidence surfaced supporting online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)SHUTi) which requires users to maintain a sleep diary and produces an algorithm showing the best time to be asleep. The lead researcher stated that most crucial step is sleep restriction. It is the calculation of sleep efficiency. Sleep efficiency is determining the actual time spent in bed and sleeping.

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Another useful program which is also available online is Sleepio. Sleepio utilizes cognitive behavior therapy tool that has been proven and evaluated through trials and various study. Sleepio has an animated therapist. It also tackles sleep restrictions, handling invasive thoughts and relaxation techniques. Both these programs shatter the status quo of association between being awake and being in bed.

 

For more information about insomnia and effective treatments, visit BetterHelp.

 

Emotional Abuse And Emotional Abuse Therapy

 

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Mental or emotional abuse, also known as verbal or psychological abuse, is a type of psychological harm that happens when one individual puts another to degrading, demeaning, offensive, and harmful actions or words. Years of being mentally abused could lead to emotional trauma and mental health disorders like depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorders.

Emotional assault generally happens in adult and teenage relationships, such as in romantic relationships, dealings with strangers, friendships, parent-child relationships, and co-worker relationships. When an individual is assaulted or harassed by co-workers or friends, it causes him to go through heightened levels of depression or anxiety. Additionally, it causes the harassed individual to feel insecure, irrelevant, hopeless, and incompetent.

It is vital to keep in mind that while an emotionally abused individual might not manifest the physical wounds of harassment – bumps, bruises, etc. – the effect is the same as, if not more, disparaging as the effects of physical harassment. In fact, present research reveals that emotional abuse is similar to the impact of physical abuse in numerous situations. More particularly, experts have reported that the outlooks of people who have been emotionally or mentally maltreated are comparable to those who have been abused physically.

Sadly, emotional assault typically is not backed by sufficient evidence, which implies that it is frequently neglected. Consequently, this assault victim usually keeps mum compared to someone abused physically and has evident wounds and marks to prove it. Furthermore, in many circumstances, the emotional offender is very “congenial” to those external to the relationship, meaning that this offender might come across as polite, funny, easygoing, and kind to others, but being cruel, vengeful, or hateful to the victim privately.

The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health And Development Study states that males have a higher likelihood of being aggressive compared to females. But outcomes also suggest that sexuality is an undependable predictor of emotional assault in relationships. Specifically, experts found that males and females displayed emotional assault in relationships at closely the same occurrence, particularly regarding certain behaviors like mood swings, decreased self-control, jealousy, suspicion, and behaviors usually suggestive of emotional abuse.

Additionally, male participants who displayed these behaviors seemed to manifest two types of relationship emotional assault. The first type was emotional abuse targeted at strangers (interpersonal aggression), and the second was emotional abuse targeted exclusively at female partners.

Source: marriagerecoverycenter.com

That said, women typically only demonstrated aggression towards their children and/or partners. Still, both women and men who were emotionally abusive in the specific study had personality disorders (histrionic personality disorder, paranoid personality, antisocial personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder).

Emotional Abuse Therapy

Emotional assault is difficult to manage unless the abused can separate himself from his offender or abuser or if the abuser confesses that there is a problem and decides to get himself treated for his offensive behavior. But for this to occur, the offender must recognize first that his behavior has harmed someone and that what he did was not right.

Emotional Abuse Therapy

The objective of emotional abuse therapy is to find out the real cause of the assault or abuse.

  • Who is the offender?
  • When did it begin?
  • Did you confide in someone about this?
  • How long has this been happening?
  • How did you feel every time it happened?
  • What usually triggers the abuse to start?
  • Did the emotional offender ever become violent or physical? If yes, how frequently did this occur, and what triggered it?

A therapist can start the therapy by presenting behavior modification strategies to the emotionally abused victim. The purpose of these strategies is to assist the victim in recognizing negative behaviors and mindsets. If the therapist is also working with the abuser or offender, he may help him realize how his attitudes or actions are abusive, offensive, and unhealthy, accept the need for treatment and be aware of the relevance of completely obliging to the therapy process. Either way, a therapist will designate both the victim and the offender homework and help them create realistic objectives and actionable steps to assist them in moving forward.

Therapies For Emotional Abuse

If the emotional assault happens within an intimate relationship, a mental health professional like a social worker or therapist may ask to meet both individuals in the same session. The objective of these therapy sessions is to enhance conflict-resolution and communication skills in the relationship. Another objective is to help the passive or ‘silent’ partner be more self-assured about what they would and would not accept from the abusive partner.

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Other types of therapy may include group therapy, individual therapy, and support groups, like domestic violence support groups or survivor support groups. These therapies aim to educate the victim about what comprises positive and negative behaviors in a friendship or relationship and ways of identifying warning signs when they come up.

Complementary therapies that could be helpful for individuals who have been mental or emotionally assaulted include hypnosis, acupuncture, massage, and music or art therapy. In some circumstances, medication can be recommended to help abuse and assault survivors deal with the trauma that they suffered.

 

Topic In Therapy: Types of Sexual Abuse

 

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Sexual assault or abuse is any sexual violence, including incest, rape, child assault, and similar types of non-consensual sexual contact. Many sexual assault experts claim that sexual abuse does not only cover sex alone. Rather, it is frequently an effort to gain power and take control over others.

Instant crisis support following sexual abuse proves instrumental and even life-saving. An individual can claim sexual abuse by informing the local police. Sexual assault survivors might also want to get examined physically in a hospital. Therapy is also a helpful step for individuals who have gone through a sexual assault in the past. Other therapists focus on tackling the trauma of sexual abuse. Permanent support might be helpful to some sexual abuse survivors.

Types Of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is typical, especially for girls and women. An overwhelming 90% of rape incidents are done against females. Additionally, one out of six females in the United States has experienced rape. Sexual assault and sexual abuse are two terms that are used to indicate various crimes, including:

  • Child Molestation. This implies any type of sexual interaction with a child. Numerous children who are assaulted are very young to know what is happening to them and might not be scared to fight back. Many assaulters take advantage of the child’s cooperation in these situations as proof that they have not harmed anyone. Fondling and forcing sexual favors from children are common examples.
  • Incest. This form of abuse describes sexual interaction between members of the family who are very close to each other. Incestuous sexual activities may happen between two consenting adults, but this is seldom. Most documented incest incidents happen as child assault. More than one-third of sexual abuse survivors in American below the age of 18 are assaulted by a member of the family, according to present statistics. But incest is a crime that is not often reported, so the exact number of incest survivors might be even higher.
  • Rape. Forced sexual intercourse with a person who has no capacity to permit or consent. Imposing sex on an individual who is against it, who is a minor and has no capacity to give consent, or intoxicated are all considered rape. Several states restrict their definition of rape to forced sexual contact, but any forced sexual intercourse can inflict permanent effects on a victim. Many states now identify involuntary oral sex and related types of abuse as rape.
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse. This classification entails any sexual touching that is not wanted, like pinching or groping. Attempted rape can also be part of this classification.
  • Non-Contact Sexual Assault. Not all types of sexual assault fit into general psychological or legal meanings. For example, parents who make profane or sexually improper language to their kids or who have sexual intercourse in front of their kids are considered to be engaging in sexual assault. Revenge porn sites that publish nude images of individuals without their consent are another type of sexual abuse.

Source: scroll. in

Male Sexual Abuse And Assault Victims

Males who have gone through sexual abuse are confronted with major stigma. American culture encourages a label that males always desire sex. A lot of people think that men are not potential rape victims. When they report sexual abuse, they frequently face criticism and doubt. Others might blame the assault on the man’s feebleness or apparent homosexuality. Blaming the victim is particularly common when a male accuses a female of sexual assault.

Because of stigma, men rape survivors can be hesitant to classify what they’ve been through as abuse or rape. Others might not talk about the incident at all. Nevertheless, a hesitation to disclose can keep men from being treated. Without help from a professional, some turn to self-harm or substance abuse to deal with trauma.

Sexual Abuse And Assault Amongst The LGBTQ Community

The incidence of sexual abuse for bisexuals and homosexuals is comparable or sometimes even higher than heterosexuals’. Hate crimes make up most of the sexual assault cases against LGBTQ individuals.

More than 60% of transgender people will suffer from sexual abuse in their lifetime. This percentage comprises transgender people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Transgender youth, on the other hand, are especially susceptible to sexual abuse. In a survey done in 2011, over 10% of trans youth reported that educational staff or friends had sexually abused them in the school setting.

Sex offenses in the LGBTQ community are frequently not documented. Survivors might be afraid of disclosing their sexual orientation to others. They might think that the legal system is not reliable in terms of providing them protection. Survivors are also scared of provoking more violence.

Source: dailyevergreen.com

As with any survivor, the LGBTQ community frequently experiences stigma following their reports of sexual harassment. Discrimination in the healthcare platform may keep survivors from receiving care. Family and friends may think typecasts regarding LGBTQ individuals and blame the victims. In circumstances of domestic violence, the local LGBTQ members might be hesitant to trust the survivor or hold him responsible.

Survivors from the LGBTQ community can definitely benefit from therapy. Mental health professionals cannot divulge an individual’s personal details to the public. Therapy is a private space where a person can find support and guidance without any judgment.

 

Child Sexual Abuse: A Counseling Priority

 

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When an offender deliberately hurts a minor sexually, psychologically, physically, or through negligence, it is a criminal act called child abuse. This article centers on child sexual abuse, its warning signs, and why it is a priority for counselors and therapists to tackle.

Child Sexual Abuse

This is a type of child abuse that involves sexual acts with a minor. A child is not capable of giving consent to any sexual activity. When offenders engage with a minor this way, they are doing a criminal act that can yield longstanding effects on the minor for years. Sexual abuse in children does not necessarily have to involve physical contact between the minor and the offender. Other forms of child sexual abuse also comprise:

  • Fondling
  • Exposing one’s genitals to a child
  • Masturbation in front of the child or forcing the child to masturbate
  • Owning and sharing porn pictures or videos of minors
  • Intercourse
  • Sex trafficking
  • Any sexual behavior detrimental to a child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.

What The Offender Looks Like

Most of the offenders are family or friends with the minor. More than 90% of the victims below the age of 18 are acquainted with the abuser. An offender is not necessarily an adult to be able to hurt the minor. He can connect with the minor, including a playmate, older sibling, teacher, caretaker, family member, or parent of another minor. Experts agree that child sexual abuse is caused by an abusive act that exploits a child’s defenselessness and is never connected to the gender of the abusive person.

Sex offenders can control their victims, so they keep mum about the abuse that took place, and they do this through various tactics. Often, the offender will take advantage of his position to cause fear to the minor. He may tell the minor that what they’re doing is usual or that both of them enjoyed it. An offender may also threaten the minor if he does not agree to participate in his plans. Ultimately, child sexual abuse does not only cause physical destruction – it is a destruction of authority and trust.

Warning Signs Of Child Sexual Abuse

It can often be daunting to identify. The abuser could be a person that you have known for some time now or someone you trust, which is why it can be even more difficult to notice. Take a look at the following significant signs.

Physical:

  • Bloody, tattered, or dirty underclothes
  • Bruises or inflamed genital area
  • Constant yeast or urinary infections
  • Itching, burning, or painful genital area
  • Abnormal sitting or walking posture

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Behavioral:

  • Phobias develop
  • Alterations in a child’s hygiene – she may not want to take a bath, or he takes a bath many times.
  • Has difficulty in school, like being absent or drops out
  • May have nightmares and wets the bed
  • Presents with signs of PTSD, anxiety, or depression
  • Leaves home
  • Self-harm
  • He has suicidal ideations, which he verbally expresses
  • Improper sexual behavior or knowledge
  • Often scared of some physical contact

Longstanding Outcomes

Studies have constantly revealed that child sexual abuse can produce deleterious effects on a child’s mental and physical health and future sexual ideas. Depending on the degree of and the number of unpleasant experiences, the abused child can manifest extensive and lifelong outcomes. Those who have gone through several traumas and got only very little parental attention and support may develop PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Their capacity to rely on others to care for them may also be endangered.

Unfortunately, when minors do not divulge sexual abuse and do not get efficient counseling, they might eventually struggle with their difficulties for a long, long time. As one child has stated, “Abuse is like a boomerang. If not dealt with, it could come back and harm you.” On the contrary, those who have found help through counseling and have support and care from parents heal and recover without existing longstanding effects.

Criteria For Selection

The criteria for choosing working interventions for the sexually abused child include:

  • The intervention must be well-written in a book or treatment manual with available counseling training.
  • The intervention was assessed for young children and teens that go through sexual assault or abuse as the primary trauma in one or several randomized clinical trials that were recorded pertinent treatment outcomes for alleviating symptoms of trauma or posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • The intervention utilizes reliable, acceptable, and developmentally correct tools to evaluate outcomes.

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Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychoeducational and evidence-based treatment regimen used for young children and teenagers affected by trauma. It is designed to decrease the prevalence of challenging sexual behaviors. CBT entails the participation of the child’s family and other support networks in the treatment and needs weekly attendance, monitoring, support, and continuing evaluation of the child’s improvement and success throughout the treatment.

 

 

Child Abuse From A Counselor’s Point Of View

 

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Counseling children who have gone through some abuse is a daunting obligation for counselors and other mental health providers. The prevalence of reported and confirmed neglect and child abuse has increased significantly since the birth of the battered child syndrome and ensuing mandated laws. The country has progressed through phases of public awareness regarding the matter. Presently, counselors have become more aware of the extensive sexual abuse in teen girls and are finding ways to increase awareness of sexual abuse in teen boys. Sudden changes concerning the subject require that counselors are updated on the signs of maltreatment, the existing laws for alleged abuse, and how kids can be best supported to overcome the impacts of this kind of negative family crisis.

Forms Of Maltreatment

A typical premise that is fundamental to many forms of maltreatment – neglect, sexual abuse, and physical abuse – is emotional pain. A physically abused child frequently feels emotionally distressed from unreliable parenting and anxiety. A sexually abused child feels a lack of supervision or affection, leaving him susceptible to the elusive advances of the offender. The child then feels worried or indifferent about the kind of life he has – one where his primary needs are not met. Similarly, a student who is reported to the counselor because he is having trouble socializing or getting good grades in school could be a victim of abuse.

Physical Abuse

This is commonly described as the deliberate perpetration of harm on a child by his guardian or caregiver. It presents as bumps, burns, wounds, scratches, or ultimately, death. It may happen through beating, biting, punching, kicking, or other kinds of violence targeted at a child. Most, if not all, parents, who abuse their kids, have been raised in environments where some abuse transpired.

Sexual Abuse

It is the adult abuse or manipulation of the usual childhood development stages by using sexual activity. Cases considered sexual activity include kissing, fondling the genitals with fingers, touching, and actual sex. In scrutinizing the structures of sexual abuse, it is vital to note that the facts and reports are quickly changing. The initial presumption was that offenders of sexual abuse were largely men. Still, experts studied women perpetrators and documented that both males and females aided offenders or abused independently – mostly those who came from unpleasant childhoods or were sexually abused themselves. For the past ten years, it has been recognized that male kids also have a higher likelihood of being victimized.

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Neglect Or Emotional Abuse

Emotional abandonment typically indicates constant unresponsiveness to a child’s need. It entails an array of behavioral patterns, from a parent who is apathetic to his child and keeps his child in the crib at all times to the crazy parent who is incapable of accepting the reality of her child’s world, or the fact that she has a child. Emotional abuse, however, denotes voluntary maltreatment or rejection of the child by his parent. Longstanding verbal abuse damages the child’s self-confidence. Using excessive punishment or restriction is also a type of emotional abuse. Emotional neglect or abuse is typically complemented by other types of mistreatment, including physical and sexual abuse.

Counseling The Abused Child

One of the basic goals of counseling the abused child is to offer a secure space and a secure relationship. The child may explore the new alterations to a more secure world and where the child’s stunted development may be modified. Counselors are not capable of fully replacing the necessary parenting connection that helps abused children develop and grow. However, they have the chance to guide the children and help them establish an honest and safe relationship with adults.

The premise of understanding the abused child is to identify during the developmental phase instead of the chronological phase. The counselor will recognize the adjustments that the child may have learned because of the abuse and teach him better methods of interacting. Children most often uncover in play the tragic events of the past years. They might also present unstable behaviors that place them at risk of added abuse.

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As per their relationships with their counselors, working with abused children needs many strategies other than listening and conversing. Utilizing structured and unstructured plays, music, or art therapy may provide children with a secure technique to express their anger, tension, anxiety, and worries. Younger kids can efficiently project how they feel about family matters when the counselor utilizes dolls and dollhouses for play. Several abused children have not tried engaging in play and acting out activities and may work well with just free play with the counselor. Reading stories, role plays, and using puppets are techniques that abused children can do.

Abused children also work efficiently when counselors deal with them in groups. Younger kids do well with playgroups, while the older ones can take advantage of activity groups and treatment-oriented groups.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Loneliness And Online Counseling

I was a lonely girl while growing up. My parents were the best providers globally, and I was lucky to get every material object I ever wanted. However, they rarely had time to spend the day with me because of their jobs and just chilled at home. I often had to stay with a babysitter or my grandparents since they would not let me be alone in the house for more than a few hours.

When I became a teenager, it seemed like a cue for my mother and father to take on more prominent roles in their respective jobs. Mom became a senior real estate broker, while Dad got an executive position in a fast-growing construction company.

While our wealth grew significantly, and my parents managed to build a massive house in a grape vineyard they bought at Napa County, I felt lonelier than ever. After all, it meant that I had to leave Sacramento and move to a new school before entering 10th grade. I dreaded the latter the most, considering I would stick out like a sore thumb in a sea of kids who had probably known each other forever. Not to mention, I was too old for a babysitter, so I would have to fend for myself on days that my parents were busy (and that’s all the time).

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My life revolved around school and the vineyard up until high school. I eventually found a few friends at my new school, but I never felt like I genuinely belonged there, so I looked forward to moving to New Haven, Connecticut, to study Law at Yale University. The decision to leave California came easy, given that I was not tethered to anything or anyone there. I might also put my parents’ money to fair use and go to one of the most expensive universities in the country.

Finding Love And Happiness

The thing was, I did not only find peace in Connecticut. I also found my soulmate there. His name was Chad. He was seven years older than me and was in the process of earning his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineer when we met. Besides studying, he also held a lucrative job in a power plant, so it was an understatement to say that Chad could give anyone he decided to marry a comfortable life.

Chad and I got the surprise of our lives when I became pregnant in my third year in college. I honestly felt scared to tell him initially, considering we had not talked about marriage and family. I was also afraid to let my parents know about it. Although they made me feel lonely my entire life, I still did not want to disappoint them. But then, it turned out that Chad wanted to propose to me on my graduation day, and the pregnancy merely worked in his favor. After meeting my parents and formally asking for my hand, we tied the knot at my family’s vineyard and began a new chapter of our lives as a married couple.

When Loneliness Came Back

I forgot what it felt like to be lonely for two decades since my only daughter arrived. I finally understood what other mothers said about kids completing them because that’s what happened to me. I dedicated my life to looking after her and taking consultancy jobs on the side. More importantly, I found an excellent partner in Chad, who allowed me to stay home more often as he provided for our little family.

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Source: pixabay.com

However, loneliness crept back in my life once more when my daughter announced that she would attend Harvard, not Yale, closer to home. I could not ask Chad to relocate, considering his job was in Connecticut. At the same time, I could not leave the man I loved, no matter how much I wanted to be with my grown-up daughter. In the end, we only visited her three times a year, and she promised to come home during the holidays.

When my husband found me crying in our room one day because I missed our daughter, though, he said, “Please don’t get me wrong, but I think it’s time for you to see a counselor. It pains me to see how lonely you feel when you’re all by yourself here.”

That’s when I decided to try online counseling.

Can I talk to a counselor online for free? 

 7 Cups of Tea has a free plan to talk to an online counselor for free.

What is the best online counseling service? 

 Talkspace is the best overall online counseling service provider, according to VeryWell Mind.

What is online counseling called? 

  • Online therapy
  • E-counseling
  • Teletherapy

Is online counseling effective? 

 Yes, online counseling is effective for depression and anxiety disorders. However, it may not be sufficient for more severe conditions.

Which is better, BetterHelp or Talkspace? 

 It depends on your preference and budget, to be honest. If you seek a more affordable platform that does not have a live video feature, Talkspace is a better option for you. But if money is not an issue at all, and you wish to meet your online therapist, BetterHelp is a more suitable choice.

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Source: pixabay.com

Does insurance pay for online counseling? 

 Technically, no. However, some states have parity laws that help patients reimburse their online counseling fees through insurance companies. It will be best to ask your insurance provider about it.

Is online therapy cheaper? 

 Yes, online therapy is cheaper than traditional therapy.

Are phone sessions considered telehealth? 

 Yes.

How do I start telehealth therapy? 

 Before you start offering telehealth therapy, you should determine if you can use your license in other states. If the answer does not seem clear to you, it is always an excellent idea to talk to a lawyer about it. At the same time, you need to think about the HIPAA guidelines and ensure that you can follow all of them.

How can I do a telehealth session? 

  • When your goal is to provide telehealth, you should understand the local regulations regarding the matter. For instance, is there a parity law that governs your state? How will payment reimbursement work? What insurance companies can cover telemedicine?
  • Once you cover the basics, you need to plan how and when you’ll do a telehealth session. Doing so allows you to schedule appointments properly and still have time for yourself.
  • Though the session does not occur in person, it’s essential to set up your office. That is especially true if you expect to video chat with clients once in a while. Your place cannot be noisy and messy if you want your clients to take you seriously.
  • Your laptop, internet, and other gadgets should be up to date, too. A slow connection reduces mental help’s effectiveness.
  • After a few tests run, spread the word about your telehealth practice.
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Source: pixabay.com

Final Thoughts

Talking to an online counselor helped me to cope with my loneliness. I started being more productive and taking on more consultancy jobs. I also made peace because my daughter was an adult with a life of her own, and I could only support her dreams from the sideline. That made me feel less lonely every day.

Safekeeping A Child’s Mental Health Begins At Home

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There has been a long-term debate about who should be blamed for a person’s wrongdoings. Is it their own fault that they turned out doing stupid things, or do the parents need to be criticized for not raising them well when they were young?

The reality is that there genuinely is a 50% possibility that a child will not turn out fine when they have a wonky childhood. Not many parents are aware of their misgivings, after all, so they continue to raise the children in the same awful way. When they act out, they blame it on the kids’ friends and everyone else in the community except themselves. They fail to see that their kids have become unhinged because of their upbringing.

What can you do to keep your child’s mental health safe?

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Watch Your Mouth

From the start, you need to watch every comment that comes out of your mouth. Kids are sensitive human beings who remember everything they hear, especially if the words are against them. For instance, when you always call them ugly, bratty, and other derogatory names, they will believe you and embrace what you say they are.

You can avoid such conflict by looking for kind, productive ways to express how you feel. It is also ideal to keep yourself from saying awful stuff about other people in front of the kids. Otherwise, they might assume that speaking without thinking was acceptable.

Take Advantage Of Websites’ Content-Filtering Options

It is inevitable for kids to use the internet, especially now that classes are supposed to take place online due to the pandemic. The parents who used to wish to expose their children to electronic devices now had no choice but to teach them how to navigate various apps and websites.

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If you want to prevent your child from coming across adult-friendly content that might mess up with their mental health, you need to filter the websites they can access. In case they are on YouTube or Netflix, you can indicate that the little ones are watching so that the platform will automatically filter the videos.

Teach Kids How To Deal With Bullies Early

Bullies often have a massive impact on how a kid’s mental health looks like five, 15, or 50 years later. Being on the receiving end of bullying tends to make children depressed, anxious, or anti-social, primarily if the offender used the internet to bully them. And the longer they experience such treatment, the deeper the scarring they get emotionally and psychologically.

What some parents fail to do is teach the kids how to deal with bullies before they even go to pre-school. They merely assume that their children will never experience it because they have been enrolled at a fantastic school with fantastic teachers. Mind you, different forms of bullying can happen anywhere. When you enlighten your kids about bullies early, you may be able to save them from the lasting effects of bullying.

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Remind Children Of Your Unconditional Support

Sometimes, children become rebellious even when they have loving parents, and people wonder why. They say such kids are ungrateful or have lost their marbles to drugs, alcohol, and other substances. However, keep in mind that everything a child does is based on what they have experienced at home. If they always go against the parents’ will, it is likely because they don’t feel like the latter understands them or supports their wishes.

Considering you don’t want to be the reason behind your kids’ mental instability, you need to ask yourself honestly, “Do they know how much I love them and support their decisions, no matter what?” The reason is that some parents are not showy with how they feel, and so the children think that mom and dad don’t care about them. 

The only way to remedy that is by reminding the little ones about your unconditional support to them – every day if you must. And whenever they want to do something, the immediate answer should not always be no. That’s hurtful, and it makes kids want to push your limits or do everything you tell them not to do.

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Bottom Line

Children are impressionable human beings who learn how to do or react to things through their parents. If they see you honking your car horn incessantly when someone takes a few seconds longer to move forward when the red traffic light turns green, they might think it’s okay once they start driving, too. If you show them that no one will bat an eye when you curse or foul-mouth others in front of people, they start doing the same thing around their peers, turning them into bullies immediately. 

When you are already a parent, the kids’ education, food, and home are not the only aspects that you should be excellent at providing. You must also prioritize their mental health as soon as you can communicate with them to remain as positive as ever.

Good luck!

Neglect And Child Abuse – A Family Matter

 

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Child abuse has been a prevalent and controversial issue for many years now. It is, therefore, important that we understand and try to decrease the risks of child abuse for your children and other parents’ children. One must be familiar with the warning signs of abuse.

There are an estimated three million cases of abuse in nearly 5.5 million kids reported annually. More cases recounted from the Child Protective Services included neglect, followed by sexual and then physical abuse. There is a significant overlap in children that are abused, with most of them struggling with a combination of sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse.

Sexual abuse is described as any sexual activity that a child didn’t consent to and could not understand. This involves acts like oral-genital contact, anal and genital intercourse, and fondling. This also includes voyeurism, exhibitionism, and pornography. Studies revealed that one out of four girls and one out of eight boys are being sexually assaulted before they reach 18.

Physical abuse happens when a child is hit, burned, kicked, or shown any force, resulting in bodily injuries. Another study reported that there are 1 out of 20 kids that have been physically assaulted once or more in their lifetime.

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Child Neglect and Abuse Risk Factors

Most of the child abuse cases happen in the family. Some of the common risk factors are parental mental health conditions like depression, domestic violence, and a history of abuse during childhood.

Child neglect and other types of maltreatment, on the other hand, are more typical in underprivileged families, teenage parents, or those that are into alcohol or drug abuse. Many children are assaulted by their caregiver or someone close to them than those abused outside of their home by some stranger. Neglect can be physical, emotional, or medical. Psychological abuse is caused by the kinds mentioned earlier of neglect. However, it can also involve verbal abuse, which undoubtedly hurts and damages a child’s emotional well-being and self-worth.

The Warning Signs

It is sometimes difficult to identify a child that has been assaulted. Children that have gone through maltreatment are often scared to confide to anyone because they anticipate that the blame will be placed on them or that nobody will believe in what they say. Often, they are timid because the abuser is someone that they know and love so much, or because they are afraid, or both.

There are no personalities or behaviors that are associated with a specific type of neglect or abuse. Below are some of the behavioral changes, and physical signs are seen in children that might have been abused or neglected.

Physical

  • Sudden weight gain or inability to gain weight
  • Any injury, such as a bruise, fracture, head injury, or burn that could not be explained
  • STD
  • Genital bleeding or pain

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Other Changes That Should Be Monitored

  • Almost always scared of something and experiencing depression and nightmares
  • Sexual attitudes that are not age-appropriate for the child
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Failure in school
  • Bed-wetting
  • Social withdrawal
  • Attempts at running away

Long-term Outcomes

Children who are neglected or abused struggle with significant mental health damage more than physical damage. Psychological and emotional assault and neglect block the child from acquiring the necessary tools to help them deal with stress and learn skills to teach them to be confident, resilient, and successful. Thus, a child who has not been treated well or has been neglected by his parents or guardians might have a range of responses and might even feel depressed or develop suicidal thoughts, withdrawal, or violent reactions.

As the child grows up, he may get into drugs or excessive alcohol, abuse other people, refuse to be disciplined, or tries to run away from home. When he becomes an adult, he might have marital and sexual problems and have depression as well.

Seeking and Finding Help

If you suspect your child is being abused, immediately find the help that he needs through your family physician or pediatrician. You may also want to visit your local child protection agency. Physicians are officially responsible for reporting suspicious cases of neglect or abuse to the state authorities. Your pediatrician can identify and treat any medical conditions, provide relevant information, or recommend a mental health professional if need be. He can also testify in court to acquire legal protection for your child and for the suspected person or perpetrator to be prosecuted.

In neglect or abuse, your child’s welfare is of utmost importance. He has to be placed somewhere safe and free from possible continuing neglect and abuse.

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Takeaway

Open communication with your children will provide the best opportunity for you to know about a problem earlier – before it worsens and blows out of proportion. Tell your child that he won’t be reprimanded if he tells you about any abuse that he is experiencing. Stress that you have to know everything so that you can keep him protected, and it is always better to confide in you as a parent. Rather than scaring him more by telling him of the dangers of the world, teach him to be strong, confident, assertive, and count on you for whatever challenges he is going through.