Advice to Parents: Things You Can Do To Decrease the Likelihood of Your Child Being the Victim of a Sexual Predator

(This is a change of pace posting. I believe this is an important topic needing to be addressed)

Much has been written and discussed about the things we can teach our children in order help them avoid being victims of a sexual predator or molester. We all know about staying away from strangers and good and bad touching. There are steps parents can take beginning early in a child’s life (and some prior to becoming a parent) that will significantly decrease the likelihood that a child will be singled out by a predator for grooming and molestation. These involve the parents learning better parenting skills and having healthier attitudes about themselves and about sex and sexuality.
It is important to have healthy coping skills and good self esteem that you want to teach to your children. Young children learn mostly by imitating behaviors and coping skills of parents and caregivers. If you have some unresolved issues including abuse issues or lack healthy coping skills and good self esteem, seek help from a professional prior to starting a family. Predators seek children with poor self esteem and those maladapted to society because they are easiest to groom. I also suggest that those planning to have a family take parenting classes in order to be better prepared for parenthood. There are many things in life you wouldn’t think of doing without some formal instruction. I believe that parents can be more affective with preparation and education.
Beginning early in life, children need to become comfortable with their bodies and learn not to be ashamed. We do this by example (for example not appearing uncomfortable if your child finds you in a state of undress) and by using the correct names for all body parts. Referring to genitals with pet names (pee pee, private parts, down there, etc.) indicates that this is a part of the body we need to feel shame about. We don’t have special names for other body parts. If someone approaches your child and tries to touch them sexually, they will better equipped to talk to you about it if they feel comfortable discussing those parts of their bodies.
A normal part of being a human being is sexuality and sex. Many parents are very uncomfortable discussing sex with their children. When a child comes to a parent with a question about the body or sex, many parents are flustered and fumble for an answer. This may come from their shame or discomfort or just not knowing how to answer the questions. This can cause a feeling that it is somehow wrong to talk about sex and can trigger shame in the child. If there is an easy flow of information regarding sex, a child is more likely to talk to a parent if they are approached by a predator. There are plenty of books and articles on how to talk to a child about sex. Also, it would be helpful for parents to overcome their own sexual hang-ups.
Children need to feel safe talking to parents about everything and anything. Honesty needs to be rewarded, not punished. They need to know that making a mistake or doing something wrong does not make them a bad person. They need to gain the understanding that making mistakes, as well as honesty is expected. Most children will feel uncomfortable when they are being groomed or approached by a predator. Make sure they feel comfortable and safe with you so they can come to you about concerns and how they feel.
Finally, be involved in your children’s lives. Know the adults they come into contact with. Talk to them and make sure they know you are very much involved in your children’s life. Children with good self-esteem, good sense of self, who feel unconditionally loved by parents, and have a healthy view of their bodies and sexuality, are much less likely to fall victim to a sexual predator.

We Only Straight Line When We Are Dead

Sometimes being human and having feelings really sucks!! One minute we are feeling just fine and dandy. Then something happens to knock the wind out of us and we feel like we are down in some dark whole. Or we are anticipating something in the future and feeling anxious and distressed. Emotional health is not the ability to avoid the feelings we don’t want. Being healthy is to know how to manage these feelings.
Sometimes life is not kind to us and puts obstacles in our way that we must deal with no matter how unpleasant. Other than bitch, moan, complain, and feel badly, there are things you can do in order to begin improving your mood. First, be present in the here and now. Focus on what is right in front of you. Second, reach out to friends and family or other support and talk about it. Write about it in a journal.
It helps me to put things in perspective. If it isn’t something that will be important to me five or ten years from now, it isn’t worth investing the time and emotional energy. Try to get moving. I find this can go a long way toward my feeling better.

Why I Post On A Blog

Over the past few years I have seen more and more garbage being posted as helpful for people with mental health, life issues, relationship, and sexual issues. Most are just a rehash of everything that has been posted with a slick title to get your attention. Much of it is useless or even damaging information. I think I have something positive to offer that can be very helpful and I wanted to reach more people. I have nearly 20 years of touching people’s lives in a very positive way and have extensive training and experience in teaching coping skills, treating trauma, treating substance abuse, and addressing sex and sexual issues. What better way than the internet? It was suggested to me that I start a blog.

I want to write posts that are short and easy to read. I want to post things that people can apply to their lives immediately and get results. I also do this to remind myself of skills I have applied to my own life to help me be balanced and growing. Writing this blog keeps me focused and helps me. I do want to hear from the people who read my blog. Please share your opinions, suggestions, and topics you would like me discuss. Those topics can be about life and coping skills, relationship, and sex and sexuality.

My profession is that of helping people improve their lives and relationships. I have a real passion for helping others but this is also how I pay my bills. It is one of my hopes that potential clients find my blog. If you read my blog believe I have something to offer you, I hope you consider contacting me to discuss working together. My profile contains my contact information.

Activity: The Natural Antidepressant

I am not only a counselor and coach. I am person first and foremost. Becoming depressed or having a depressed mood is a part of having normal human emotions. I have always recommended that my clients increase activity in order to help improve their mood. This is also what most mental health professionals suggest.

I had a reminder of how effective activity can be in improving mood. I recently joined a Gym in order to improve my overall health. This morning I was feeling pretty “blah” and had a hard time motivating myself. I finally got myself out of the house and to the gym. Once I got into the workout my mood improved and the blahs disappeared. Simply getting moving helped a great deal.

If you are experiencing a depressed mood, GET MOVING!!!! It changes brain chemistry and improves mood naturally.

No Joy From The Misfortune of Others

The recent conviction of Jerry Sandusky (the former football coach convicted of molesting several boys over many years) brought up an interesting issue for me. It seems that many people rejoice when bad things happen to those who are seen as bad people. Other recent examples are the deaths of Osama Bin Ladin, Omar Kadafi, and Sadam Hussein. Although I understand the reaction of celebrating the demise of people we see as villains, I also find it confusing and even unsettling. When people do some seriously bad things it seems like a mob mentality takes over and it resembles a blood lust. A part of it seems to me like people enjoy seeing the fall of the powerful.

Don’t get me wrong. They are all people who did some seriously bad things and should been accountable for their actions. But, to rejoice and dance in the streets and cheer is something difficult for me to comprehend. I find the reaction unsettling. I also would not want people rejoicing for bad things happening to me. I don’t judge others for their reactions. It’s just uncomfortable for me.

Just wonder if others feel like this.

Nothing New Under The Sun

I am not much into using the old cliches even though they are as true today as ever. “One day at a Time.” “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” They have truth to them. To be honest, there is nothing new under the sun as far as coping with life. What has worked still works and will always work. It is all repackaged and stated in another way. But, it is still the same.

I hear my clients discuss what they have read or heard. I have never heard anything new. It just sounds different. Truisms will always be true just like the sun will continue to come up and the seasons change. One thing I know to be very true: If you are willing to put in the work and be persistent, you can change and make your life better.

Changing Inside and Out

One of my wife’s favorite tv shows is the “Biggest Loser” and I watch it when I can. If you are not familiar with the show I will give you a brief overview:

The contestants are all morbidly obese and range in age from late teens to sixties. They are divided between two personal trainers and spend most days in the gym working out extremely hard. They learn how to eat in a healthy way and live a healthy lifestyle. A contestant is eliminated each week until the finale. The is when the Biggest Loser is decided. The contestant with the highest percentage of weight loss is the biggest loser and wins the grand prize.

The contestants go through an incredible physical transformation as they lose the weight. Some have lost over half of their body weight by the finale. Another even more remarkable thing takes place. In order to make the commitment to work as hard as it takes to compete, many of the contestants work through the emotional issues that contributed to low self-esteem as well as the obesity. The life issues they face vary. But the result of working through the issues and taking off the weight changes them on the inside as well. You can actually see the internal changes take hold (better self-esteem, more content, a positive outlook on life).

They face all types of challenges and find they can overcome them. In going through the personal transformation that you want to achieve, it has to include your mind and body. You cant’t really be healthy emotionally if you are not working to improve yourself physically. People who feel good about themselves tend to take better care of themselves. The mind and body are connected. As you work on overcoming your issues you should work on making your body healthier as well.

Do You Prefer Your Fish Broiled, Fried, or Blackened?

Do you prefer your fish broiled, fried, or blackened? How about your steaks? Do you like them rare, medium, or well done? What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Are you an early riser or do you prefer to sleep in when you can? Do you tend to be attracted to slim people or someone with a little meat on their bones? I doubt that these questions or the way someone would answer them would be judged and would raise any eyebrows.
Would you agree that answers to these questions would be considered preferences? Would any of the responses be right or wrong? Would these be moral issues? All of what I have referred to is common to human experience. We would all feel comfortable discussing these things with people we know and not be concerned about being ridiculed or judged.
What makes sex and sexuality so different? The vast majority of people would be uncomfortable discussing their sexual preferences and sexuality with most of the people they know. Most would be concerned about what they said and how they said it. If they felt what they did or thought about sexually was not considered “normal” they would be even more uncomfortable discussing it. Some people are uncomfortable when the topic of sex is even brought up. There is a great deal of guilt and shame associated with sex. Even though we are all sexual beings, so much meaning is given to it that open conversation about sex is discouraged.
For centuries governments and organized religion has attempted to control and limit our sexual behaviors. This has not stopped people from engaging in sexual activity even if it is outside of what is accepted or seen as “normal.” Many laws and religious edicts have tried to restrict sexual behavior. This has created a great deal of shame about sexuality. It has not stopped the behaviors that come naturally. Before all else, we are mammals and have strong instincts around sexuality.
One of my goals is to take the discussion of sex and sexuality out of the shadows and encourage open discussion and healthy attitudes toward sex. I believe that many of the social ills we face can be more easily overcome if human sexuality was honestly discussed and shame free.
More to come…….