No one wanted us that is why my brother and I went from one foster home to another. The longest we stayed in a place was three months, and then we would be transferred again. Couples were often excited to see us at first but then eventually give us up.
It is hard to be a parent, especially if you got more children to manage. There is no one formula that fits in raising all of them in one household.
We, parents, are humans, too, and we are also bound to make mistakes. We may even sometimes end up discriminating against one of our children because of many reasons such as frustrations regarding attitude and/or school performance.
As a missionary, I’ve been to different places, met different people, spent time with different families, and played with kids and listened to their stories.
I see it myself now, how parents care differently for their children depending on their financial status, cultures, and educational backgrounds. According to Raquel Anderson, LMHC, “A parent is the most important person in a child’s life. It’s never too late to make changes to ensure you’re raising your child in a safe, healthy, and loving environment.”
Disciplining a child is hard work. According to Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, PsyD, “Discipline is a necessary thing in life, for certain, and how we engage in it is important in building positive self-esteem and a healthy sense of self in children.” It involves reaching a balance between being an authority figure as well as somebody who loves them unconditionally. However, inadvertently parents may be caught off guard on not so good days and can verbally lash out at others, and this might include his/her child. The offense might sound minimal as compared to any other type of abuse. Oftentimes, parents might also rationalize their behaviors and temper as something out of their control brought about by the everyday stress of taking care of the kids as well as juggling their other responsibilities. Experts negate this frame of mind stating that any abuse is not justifiable.
One of the worst things that can happen to a child is experiencing verbal, physical and emotional abuse from his own parents. According to Christine Hammond, LMHC, “Emotional abuse is just as damaging as other types of abuse, if not more so because it leaves no visible scars. Instead, the wounds are deep and can take a functioning person and turn them into traumatized.” It can be disheartening to see a child, in his tender years, to be subjected to any form of aggressiveness or brutality. Obviously, the practice of child abuse by parents is widespread in society.
However, only a few people can dare to stand up against abusive parents and to help the kid in need. Do not be like these individuals. If you see a child who is abused by his mother or father, make sure of these things:
The beautiful thing about being a teacher is that you get to inspire children to grow up to become successful individuals. Most of their dreams are developed while they are in the classroom, talking with their friends and listening to your lessons. These students of yours look up to you for inspiration, which is why most of them may treat you as their second parents.
A child who has gone through a lot of abuse and violence at home will most likely experience trauma. According to Suzanne Burger, PsyD, “Trauma is best understood as any life experience or enduring conditions that overwhelms a person’s nervous system and emotional capacity to manage it.” There are many adverse effects that are associated with child abuse. As you probably know by now, there are different forms of harm that a particular kid may encounter such as physical, emotional, and verbal. The causes of the infliction of this abuse may vary from one situation to another. However, when it comes to adverse effects, these are almost the same. Check this list:
Parents naturally want to become the best providers for their children. That is especially true if they have experienced hardships themselves as kids. They don’t wish for them to worry about not having enough money for food or roof over their heads. Hence, such moms and dads tend to work harder than anyone. “Burnout is feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled at the same time,” says Deborah Gilboa, MD, a parenting expert in Pittsburgh. “Look at the big picture and make changes.”
The thing is, spending a lot of hours in the office means parents can’t be with their kids as often as they should. It can bring a lot of cons, namely:
You Have To Spend More Time Away From Your Children
The primary disadvantage of working too hard to give your kids a better future is that you have to spend a lot of time away from them. After all, when your goal is to snag an executive position in a company or build your own, you cannot stay idle at home. You need to be out there, doing your work, and interacting with people who can help you level up. Otherwise, your rivals may speed past you.
You Cannot See The Kids Reach Every Milestone In Person
It is also a downer to know that you have to go on a business trip when your firstborn is supposed to attend their first recital or graduate from high school. It does not feel okay either to see your kids and spouse post photos from the event, and you’re the only one missing there. No matter how much you want to be with them as they reach another milestone in their life, you can only congratulate them online or via phone.
You Risk Having Emotionally Distant Children
I have personally come across kids who are closer to the person who stayed with them often than the parents whom they saw one or two months yearly. They stay polite, but you can tell how forced their smiles are. They don’t talk back, but they don’t speak much to you either. Worse, when a child needs something, they go straight to the carer instead of the parent who’s also there. According to Francyne Zeltser, Psy.D, “Rather than just worry about it, ask your children directly how she is feeling on a daily basis, and try not to be dismissive of h er concerns. It’s important to validate your child’s feelings and show her that you’re here to listen.”
You Cannot Regain Lost Time
Last but not least, trying too hard to give every material object that your kids may ask for makes you lose the time that you should have spent with them. You need to focus on generating a lot of money, after all. You rarely go on holidays; if you do, you may be on your phone or computer often. As long as you can provide their financial needs, you think that everything will be okay. However, it is impossible to regain lost time with your family.
To Sum Things Up
The life of a working mom or dad cannot be easy. You practically have to juggle two full-time jobs as a worker and a parent. You may
not be in a position either to turn in a resignation letter and focus on the kids. Still, you need to remember that your family should be your priority. If you let too much time pass without them, they may end up not needing you anymore. “Despite the possible negative effects of having working parents, children may also experience certain benefits if they have working parents who responsibly attend to their needs.” says psychologist Ashley Miller.
We know that there are already local and private organizations that set up a program to help families in protecting their children against sexual abuse. These organizations involve different concerned people like psychologists, therapists, medical professionals, volunteers, etc. The part of the job is to spread awareness far and wide. One of the primary goals is to teach families the proper way of making sure that children are protected from sexual predators as much as possible. Without further ado, here are the simple things members of the family can do to secure their kids’ safety.
1. Every family needs to make sure that children know the name of their private parts. Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of naming it differently, educating children to use the right name for their sensitive parts is beneficial in understanding its importance. According to Natasha Tracy, a sought after expert for advice in many mental health disorders, ”Label the body parts using the correct terms and use accurate names for sex acts as developmentally appropriate. Make sure the child knows that it’s not OK for someone to touch his private parts.” It is comprehensible that there is a misconception about being vocal on those things. However, if all members of the family are open and frank about it in a conversation, children will think of it as body parts. So when kids know what those parts are, they can immediately pay close attention to sexual predators. These children can say it loud when predators are attempting to touch it. With that, these kids will become less likely a victim because predators appear intimidated with their knowledge about their use and importance. Aside from that, the children’s familiarity with their private parts can make it easier to follow up procedures like in an investigation or court hearings.
2. Perhaps you can consider your children to feel close to all members of the family. There are times that even those not-so-close relatives and outsiders get welcomed in the house because of a significant relationship. However, you must put in mind that having a benefit of the doubt is a must. You need to think about your kids’ too much closeness with these people. In that way, you can potentially secure a distance between closeness and unintentional sexual act. In line with that, teach your children to honor and value physical awareness. Make them realize that too much body contact is unnecessary. Hugging and kissing other people without the thought of malice might be okay at times. But consecutively, it is not healthy.
3. There is a misconception when trying to explain to children what the word “SECRET” is all about. Yes, teaching children the value of keeping a secret is appropriate behavior. However, there is always a limitation as to what types of secrets the children are trying to hide. At least make them realize that some secrets are still secrets even if parents know all about it. It will support open communication in any situation. “The establishment (and eventual betrayal) of affection and trust occupies a central role in the child molester’s interactions with children…. The grooming process often seems similar from offender to offender, largely because it takes little to discover that emotional seduction is the most effective way to manipulate children.” Says Anna C. Salter, Ph.D. The kids will not be afraid to tell their family about any sexual attempts they encounter. Yes, sometimes, it will be hard to identify sexual abuse, and your children might not view the act that way. However, when you let them know that secrets can be alarming, make them understand that it is utterly essential to share it with you.
4. It is okay to ask your children about their day. Allow them to share and narrate their happy moments. Make them think that in a conversation, it is vital to be open about everything. But make sure the children also understand that asking about their safety is also part of the conversation. So better ask them if they feel safe around with people. These include throwing direct questions if someone is trying to harm them or attempting to get too close. It will become an opportunity to know what is genuinely going on with the children, especially when they are away from you. Always pay attention to how they try to narrate their story. Make sure that you know how to identify the children’s gesture when something is not right about their reaction.
5. Allow your children to avoid hugs and kisses or anything that requires body contacts. That is primarily when the act gets enforced. It may seem a little uncomfortable in the beginning. However, it will become a better chance to explain to them the value of their right to their own body. You must understand that allowing your kids to say “NO” doesn’t mean they are rude. Instead, it will enable them to set limitations on what kind of physical contact is acceptable and not. Sexual predators according to consultant psychiatrist Dr. Ken Ung, “Other than seeking sexual gratification, they could also be looking for a sense of control and power over their younger victims. They may like to be the one making suggestions or initiating things.”
Bear in mind that you can’t protect your children 24/7. However, you can allow them to protect themselves by educating the right information.
When we discuss child protection, there is this goal of keeping the child’s overall health. That includes his emotional, physical, and mental aspects. As parents, it is our responsibility always to consider his development before anything else. Thus, there is proper parenting. There is a need for support, care, understanding, and love. However, parenting is not perfect, and it will never be one. Sometimes, as adults, we do things that we think are okay for a kid, but are genuinely not. There is this mentality that because we are the “parents,” we have the right to control a young individual in inconsiderable ways. But that is wrong. It will never become a point to validate how harsh we can be to our child. That explains why a lot of psychologists want us to recognize what types of danger are there in abusing a child.
Childhood abuse develops into a life-long mental and emotional issue. It strengthens the child’s negative traits such as insecurities and self-doubt. It also leads to intimacy and relationship problems too later in his life. According to Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD, “For children that have suffered from abuse, it can be complex getting to the root of childhood trauma in order to alleviate later symptoms as adults.” Depending on the severity of any kinds of childhood abuse, it can cause the kid to suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression as well.
Name-calling or any other types of verbal abuse is typical to some of us parents. That is because we believe that words don’t hurt at all. We think that spitting out those words are reasonable to our current emotional outburst. We are confident that our kid will forget about it eventually. But the truth is, words mean a lot to a child. It severely hurts his feelings and changes his perception of life. Aside from the emotional damage the verbal abuse can do, it affects the mental state as well. It increases the child’s potential for developing a personality disorder. That is because verbal abuse negatively alters brain development.
Any harmful activity that causes our kid to feel pain in his body is physical abuse. Kicking, biting, slapping, hitting, choking, and throwing are only to name a few. These unfavorable actions that most of us often do to our kid develop scars, bruises, cuts, and broken bones. In some unfortunate instances, these physical abuses cause death, depending on how hard parents would beat him. Some parents would say that these actions are appropriate in punishing a kid when he makes a mistake. However, most experts don’t support the idea of hurting a child physically. They believe that it will not help a child understand a lesson. Instead, physical punishment will only result in emotional and mental damage.
Shaming a child for doing something that most of us parents think is wrong is abusive behavior. Psychologists explain it as something we inflict only to gain control towards our kid. For some of us, it is a significant practice because it makes a child listen and pay more attention. Thus, shaming supports some parents in getting what they want. However, its consistency in parenting creates an unpleasant outcome. Our kid loses trust and confidence towards other people. With shame, he will fear to do something without approval. He becomes dependent on instructions and is often anxious about his decisions in life. As he grows up, our child becomes more hesitant in developing social connections due to the fear of betrayal.
The practice of helicopter parenting is so overbearing that we do not allow a child to have any say even on minor details on his life. Yes, it is understandable that most of us only want to regularly check-in on our special one. However, the negative behavior deprives the kid of having a healthy boundary. Helicopter parenting pushes our child to progress mental scars. With that, he becomes susceptible to psychological illnesses. These include different cases of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, sleep problems, PTSD, and phobias. “If trauma is repeated, for instance, as in chronic physical or sexual abuse, then the disorder might persist more than it would after only one incident. Repetition has a cumulative effect, as unresolved trauma is layered upon unresolved trauma,” says Natalie D’Annibale, PsyD, LMFT. In some unfortunate cases, our helicopter parenting even pushes a child to self-harm and encourages suicidal thoughts.
When a child gets neglected with proper understanding, love, and care, he instantly experiences many problems in both current and later life. We can expect him to develop emotional, psychological, physical, and social underdevelopment. As parents, it is essential that we know how our ways of parenting can avoid childhood abuses. According to Tanya J. Peterson, a certified mental health counselor, “Childhood abuse, especially child sexual abuse, increases the likelihood of PTSD in adulthood. Childhood abuse is physically and emotionally damaging, and it disrupts the healthy development of the child. This can make someone vulnerable to future abusive relationships and further exacerbate PTSD.”