Teaching Children to Yell and Tell: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
1 in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

It can happen to anyone – even a child you know and love.

Even your own child. Abuse creates shame, confusion, fear, and embarrassment

These factors enable a culture that perpetuates continued abuse.

The average serial pedophile will molest 400 children during his lifetime.

Molesters are regular people with average looking faces. 90% of all molestations are committed by a family member or friend. It’s important to teach your child to be distrustful of strangers but we also need to teach them to be on guard with friends, brothers or even Granddad.

Child molestation is on the rise due to online pornography, especially child pornography.

It’s understandably uncomfortable for parents to talk to their children about this unthinkable situation. We want to protect their innocence, so we don’t warn our children, leaving them defenseless against a cunning, familiar person.

Debbie Pearl author of Samuel Learns to Yell and Tell and Sara Sue Learns to Yell and Tell: A Warning For Children Against Sexual Predators says, “In every area of life, it is usually understood that those prepared are usually spared”. We highly recommend that every family purchase one of these books and read them and talk to your children about them regularly. By teaching children about their bodies and talking openly about sexuality and boundaries, a child will be more equipped to tell you if something is making them uncomfortable. A child predator loses his power when he loses his cover. So “if all children know that they would be heard and protected when they yelled and told, then many predators would never go child hunting.” Debbie Pearl.

In Darkness to Light, a website dedicated to protecting children from sexual abuse, 5 steps to protecting children are outlined. Research and learn all you can, or take their online course.

  1. Learn the facts-Read Yell and Tell to your children every few weeks to keep the ideas fresh in their minds.
  2. Minimize the opportunity-Our children are given to us to protect and nurture. They need us. Predators look for the most vulnerable. Ask questions before and after leaving your child with someone.
  3. Talk about it-Tell your children every day, “I love you and want to keep you safe, so always tell me anything that needs to be told.”
  4. Recognize the signs-Ask questions. Watch for signs of fear and anxiety in your child concerning  friends or family
  5. React responsibly-If you react with anger or disbelief, the child will shut down and think it is their fault and internalize damaging guilt and shame.

Caring Nannies is starting a pilot program to to come alongside families and provide the Darkness to Light program to nannies for another layer of protection.
“Your children need to know that they can come to you at any time and any place and that you are ready to listen and take action to protect them. They will not understand this naturally; it is your responsibility as a parent to effectively communicate this message.” Debbie Pearl.

Beth Weise

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You always remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when disaster strikes. Last Friday morning, I was volunteering in my son’s kindergarten classroom. The news shocked me to the core.The contrast of that evil intruder devastating the lives of children, families and a community clear across the nation, while I stood in this classroom full of happy smiles, laughter and innocence left me in disbelief and denial.We send our children to school every day trusting they are safe. Since Friday I have been dealing with my own fears, since my greatest fear is losing a child. How do I react? What do I say to my kids? I don’t want them to pick up on my fears. What do I say if they ask me about it?
I don’t want them to be afraid to go to school, but I do want them to know that life can be painful and hard to deal with. War, hurricanes, flooding, death, divorce are a part of life.

This is an opportunity, because a big part of our job as parents is teaching our children right thinking and right reactions. Learning how to deal with thoughts, feelings, concerns and the confusion that comes is a part of maturity.
So how can we help our kids?

  1. First, it’s essential to validate their feelings and be sensitive to them. Every child will react and process these events in different ways so respect that. Ask questions. So far, my boys ages five and eight don’t know about the disaster, and I’m glad, but friends at school may start talking about it. Last night Carter, age 8, told me that something really sad and bad happened at a school in Conneticut and his class is mailing a care package with cards.
  2. Keep daily routines as normal as possible. Routine gives security.
  3. Turn off the media.
  4. These are teachable moments and the way we react during tough times and the things that we say build character in our children and teach them resiliency, hope and courage.  Look at the heroes of Sandy Hook. Reflect on the dad who lost a child but said: “My heart goes out to the family of the killer.”
    “Kids (and adults) don’t just need the truth in their heads — they need it in their bones. They need to know what courage looks like and tastes like and smells like before they ever have to show it themselves. They need to do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly — heroes and villains can show them why. They need to loathe the darkness and love the Light.” N.D. Wilson
  5. Model positive thinking. As tough as it may be, deal with your own feelings of revenge, worry, and panic. Our kids pick up on emotions around them and are looking at us for strength and assurance. Train your mind to focus on the good that comes out of evil. Know that good wins out. Disaster brings people together, strengthens relationships and comunities.
  6. Be part of the solution to the tragedy. Get children involved in helping the community by collecting donation, food, supplies, or care packages. Even giving to local needs ‘pays it forward.’ Volunteering is considered the best way to build character.

I ache for the families of those sweet innocent children whose lives were forever changed in an instant.
I picked my boys up from school on Friday and squeezed them tight. My hugs are harder and longer now. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected in Newtown, CT.

Jenny Riojas

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