T-Ball and Sex-Wise Parenting?  YES!

T-Ball and Sex-Wise Parenting? YES!

Summer means sports and baseball gloves are being oiled up in homes round the country.  Thoughts are turning to runs, hits, errors, uniforms, caps and spikes.

And cups.   It’s standard practice for leagues to require boys to wear a hard protective cup over their genitals during practice and games.  One family I know had a golden teachable moment when their 5 year old wanted know why he had to wear a cup over his penis.  “I’m not going to pee during a ballgame!”

Some parents might have answered the “why” question with a simple “Because it’s the rules”, a close cousin to “Because I said so”.   These answers have a place when disciplining a child, but in this instance would only stifle curiosity and an opportunity to share values and facts.

It’s fairly typical for pre-school aged boys to think of their entire genitalia as their penis.  This boys parents explained to their son and his now-curious brother that the penis is the name for the skinny part in front that boys use to pee, but behind it the sac that holds the special parts that men have that makes their Daddy seeds. And those parts, (called ballies in some families, testes in others) would hurt A LOT if they accidently got hit with a baseball!  They grabbed their copy of The Sex-Wise Parent, turned to the line drawing of male anatomy on page 59 and gave both of their sons an age appropriate lesson in sexual health  and safety.  Because of T-ball!

These little boys learned the anatomy of their genitals and  that Daddies make seeds in their testicles and mommies make seeds in their ovaries.  They learned that we take care of our genitals and keep them healthy – a precursor to a condom discussion due in about 10 years!

And, they learned that they can talk to their parents about ANYTHING, including their genitals — an important protective factor in keeping pedophiles at bay.

Before long, sex-wise parents will see how spontaneous, frank discussions with children as issues come up render THE TALK unnecessary!  Get more information at www.SexWiseParent.com!

Changing Times~ prepare your child for the summer camp locker room!

Changing Times~ prepare your child for the summer camp locker room!

While the world changes around us, some things are timeless. The exhilarating feeling of a sweaty body hitting cool water never changes; neither does the anxiety of changing into a swimsuit in front of other kids.

Kids respond uniquely to the changing experience. Some kids could not care less; others find it terrifying. How will your child react? How can you help?

What can influence  a child’s reaction?

Age plays a big role.

Pre-school and younger kids generally don’t care. They just want to swim.

Sometime around age 5 or 6, children become aware of the differences between people; their curiosity levels vary. For some kids, different size or shaped genitals may be no more interesting than variations in facial features. As kids are exposed to various images emphasizing and sexualizing body parts, associations set in. It is not unusual for a 6 year old girl to “know” that bigger breasts are a sort of status symbol. Group changing can be particularly uncomfortable for pre-teens; they are often highly  status conscious and confused about the changes in their body.

Family’s norms will have an effect.

Camp preparation is a good time to pay attention to the messages you send your child about the difference between privacy and secrecy. Private means we choose who to share something with; secrecy means no one knows. There should be no secrets between parents and children regarding their bodies; families develop their own values about privacy. Children from families with more stringent norms about privacy may need additional preparation for changing time. If you have been avoiding this issue now is the time to talk to your child!

Who’s in charge?

The locker room is one of the worst places to be bullied or teased — a child is particularly vulnerable. Having trained, mature staff manage the experience is crucial.

Parents should know who supervises changing time. Young camp staff can still be struggling through their own adolescent issues and may not be the most sensitive human beings. It may be impossible to have a developmental psychologist in every summer program, but it is a great idea for  a camp provide a training session for all its staff.

What can you do?

Prepare your child with a preventative discussion; this is a good topic to slip into a conversation about summer camp. “Are you looking forward to swimming? The changing room can be interesting; kids your age can look pretty different from each other.”

Don’t forget the ultra-practical — make sure the swimsuit is simple. Locker rooms are no place for fancy decorations that could get tangled or fasteners beyond a child’s reach. If the child just HAS to have something really fancy, practice getting in and out of the suit with your child.

Check in with your child once the program is in progress. Try mixing a personal thought with a question, for example, “How’s the locker room experience going? I remember everyone giggling so hard we could hardly get our suits on,” or “I remember being teased because I had (or didn’t have) hair (pubic hair, leg hair) before other kids did.”

Getting ready for summer camp provides great opportunities to discuss privacy, secrecy, puberty, peer pressure and other issues where parents want to transmit their values to children. Take advantage of it! You’ll get closer to your kids and help keep them safe and healthy!

 

Janet Rosenzweig MS, PhD, MPA is the author of the Sex-Wise Parent  (Skyhorse, 2012)  and  a thirty year veteran of child welfare and youth serving programs.  She is committed to bringing the best possible  information to parents  to help them raise safe, healthy, happy kids.

 

What can you do for Child Abuse Prevention Month? Here are 10 (PLUS!) good ideas to get started!

What can you do for Child Abuse Prevention Month? Here are 10 (PLUS!) good ideas to get started!

April is designated as Child Abuse Prevention Month in the United States, and it serves as a reminder that everyone can help keep all children safe and healthy.   Plan now and be part of this national effort on behalf of kids and parents!

And here’s more ideas, sent to  me by colleagues — can we add yours? tweet to @SexWiseParent

Support The Innocence Revolution — a global day to end child sexual abuse.

Read The National Plan to Prevent Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children — and ACT!!!

Please — don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference!

 

Hot Weather Can Mean ‘Hot’ Clothes, So What’s the Dress Code in Your Family?

It may be snowing in Colorado, but it’s pushing 90 in LA, and the heat will reach all of us sooner or later. While lots of folks are worried about what these extreme weather swings mean for the atmosphere, (and I am thankful for scientists!)  I focus my attention on  a parents need to understand the effect the heat can have on kids. Let me explain.  Yes, dehydration from the heat is one issue, but some children have been waiting all winter for an excuse to bare their skin in clothes that are more suitable for a dance club than school!  Let the  battles begin.

Not necessarily.  For parents, a good  place to start is  determine your child’s school’s policy on dress code and how is it enforced.

At the very least, schools should prohibit children from exposing their belly buttons, breast cleavage, butt cleavage  and the wearing suggestive slogans on t-shirts by either students or staff. It is perfectly natural for teens and pre-teens to push boundaries and arrive in school wearing something that bends—if not actually breaks—the dress code rules. School staff should react firmly to any breaches in the rules, while not outright embarrassing or humiliating the student in any way. Consider calling a guidance counselor and asking about thier policies and procedures.

A common problem among younger kids is they may believe that a certain type of look equates to being attractive—without understanding that “the look” has a sexual connotation. When a nine-year-old girl chooses a bedazzled tube top with a decidedly “hookerish” look, her parents needs to supplement their “no” with an explanation beyond a “because I said so.” Explaining to kids that certain kinds of clothes carry a message (one that is not always appropriate for their age) is a good place to start. Try to use a uniform as an example and say something to this effect—“When you wear shin guards, I know you’re getting ready to play soccer.” This starts the discussion about how a particular look is seen by some people as a signal that you’re dressed for a specific activity. You could explain to young kids that certain items of clothing are seen as a “uniform” for people who like to “kiss” or “flirt” or an equivalent term that will make an eight -year-old think, “Yuck.”   What a great opportunity to discuss how people decide what they think is pretty, focusing on cocenpts like  choice and taste and individuality!

Girls are especially are pressured to appear looking sexual at young ages, by being exposed to promotions for  baby bikinis and padded bras for eight-year-olds. Boys may need help understanding what is really conveyed by the tough-guy looks. But all kids need to know your rules, your values and believe that you will enforce the dress code set by their school.

Learn more about how to support your child’s sexual health and safety from my book, The Sex Wise Parent by visiting www.sexwiseparent.com

 

The Top 10 List of …Reasons Not To Spank Your Child

The Top 10 List of …Reasons Not To Spank Your Child

Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey

Because Kids Don 7 Come with Instructions

 

 

 

The Top 10 List of …Reasons Not To Spank Your Child

  1.      Spanking can damage the parent-child relationship. It erodes the bonds of trust and closeness necessary for the parents to be able to socialize children. The child may feel anxiety, anger, or fear toward the parent (Hirschi, 1969, Azrin, Hake, Holz, & Hutchinson, 1965; Azrin & Holz, 1966)
  2.        Corporal punishment is associated with negative effects on mental health; harsh punishment can lead to adolescent depression and distress. Children who have been spanked may feel less confident and assertive and more humiliated and helpless. Corporal punishment has been associated significantly with adolescents’ depressive symptomology and distress (McLoyd, Jayarante, Ceballo & Borguez, 1994) (Baumrind & Black, 1967; Lasky, 1993).
  3.     Spanking interferes with moral development. Children will learn to act based on whether they get caught as opposed to real, internal morals and values. Spanking also reduces a child’s capacity for empathy.(Hoffman, 1983; Lepper, 1983).
  4.       Spanking is associated with increasing a child’s aggressive behavior. When spanking is used to punish aggressive behaviors the likelihood that children will continue to engage in aversive behaviors increase by 50% (Becker, 1964; Patterson, 1982; Radke-Yarrow, Campbell, & Burton, 1968; Steinmetz, 1979).
  5.        Spanking may lead to child abuse as tempers flare. As many as two thirds of abusive incidents may have begun as attempts to alter children’s behavior with a spanking (Coontz & Martin, 1988; Gil, 1973;Kadushin & Martin, 1981).
  6. Spanking can make a person more likely to act violently with a romantic partner later in life. (Caesar, 1988; Downs, Miller, Testa, & Parek, 1992; Sigelman, Berry, & Wiles; 1984; Straus & Yodanis, 1996; Swinford, DeMaris, Cernkovich, & Giordano, 2000).
  7.      Spanked children are more likely to become aggressive adolescents. Parent’s use of corporal punishment was the strongest predictor of adolescents’ aggression eight years later (P. Cohen, Brook, Cohen, Velez & Garcia, 1990).
  8.        Spanking legitimizes violence and aggression; Children who are spanked are more likely to resort to aggression and violence during conflicts as adults. (Aronfreed, 1969; Bandura & Walters, 1959; Eron et al, 1971; Walters & Grusec, 1977; White & Straus, 1981).
  9. Spanking is associated with an increase in child delinquency, antisocial behavior and the likelihood of adult criminal behavior (Burt, 1925, Gleuck and Gleuck, 1964, Hetherington et al, 1971, McCord and McCord, 1959, Wilson and Hernstein, 1985, Paterson et al, 1992.)
  10. Corporal punishment can convince a child to avoid misbehavior in order to avoid future punishment, but can not, on it’s own teach children the responsibility to behave independently in morally and socially acceptable ways (Hoffman 1983, Grusec, 1983)

References:

Grevin, P. Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse. Random House Inc. (1991)

Miller, A: For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. Farrar, Straus and Giorux. (1990) Complete citations for articles available from PCA-NJ or Gershoff, Elizabeth: 2002, Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic Theoretical Review Psychological Bulletin 128:4 539-579

Tips for Parents #13

Compliments of:

The Parenting Education Resource Center
Prevent Child Abuse – New Jersey
103 Church Street, Suite 210
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
1-800-CHILDREN (1-800-244-5373)
http://www.PreventChildAbuseNJ.org


La lista de las 10 mejores …Razones para no pegarle a su nino

  1. El pegarle a su nino puede afectar la relacion entre el padre y el nino. Corroe los enlaces de confianza y cercania necesarios para que los padres puedan socializar a los ninos. El nino puede sentir ansiedad, coraje o miedo hacia el padre (Hirschi, 1969, Azrin, Hake, Holz, & Hutchinson, 1965; Azrin & Holz, 1966)
  2. El castigo corporal es asociado con efectos negativos sobre la salud mental; el castigo extremadamente fuerte puede conducir a la depresion y afliccion en los adolescentes. Los ninos quienes han sido azotados pueden sentir menos confianza y ser menos asertivos y se pueden sentir humillados y desamparados. El castigo corporal ha sido asociado significativamente con la afliccion y los sintomas de depresion en los adolescentes. McLoyd, Jayarante, Ceballo & Borguez, 1994) (Baumrind & Black, 1967; Lasky, 1993).
  3. Los azotes interfieren con el desarrollo moral. Los ninos aprenderan a comportarse basado en si lo descubren en vez de operar en sus sentido de morales y valores internos y reales. El azotar a su nino reduce su capacidad de empatia. (Hoffman, 1983; Lepper, 1983).
  4. Azotar a los ninos se asocia con aumentar el comportamiento agresivo en los ninos. Cuando los azotes se utilizan para castigar comportamientos agresivos la probabilidad que los ninos continuen a utilizar comportamientos agresivos aumenta por un 50% (Becker, 1964; Patterson, 1982; Radke-Yarrow, Campbell, & Burton, 1968; Steinmetz, 1979).
  5. Los azotes pueden conducir al abuso de los ninos cuando los temperamentos se encolerizan. Hasta dos tercios de incidentes abusivos pueden haber comenzando como intentos de alterar el comportamiento de los ninos con azotes. (Coontz & Martin, 1988; Gil, 1973; Kadushin & Martin, 1981).
  6. Los azotes pueden hacer que la persona tenga mas probabilidad de comportarse violentamente con un companero romantico mas tarde en su vida.. (Caesar, 1988; Downs, Miller, Testa, & Parek, 1992; Sigelman, Berry, & Wiles; 1984; Straus & Yodanis, 1996; Swinford, DeMaris, Cernkovich, & Giordano, 2000).
  7. Los ninos quienes han sido azotado tienen mas probabilidad de convertirse en adolescentes agresivos. El uso de castigo corporal de los padres fue el pronosticador mas fuerte de la agresion de un adolescente ocho anos mas tarde. (P. Cohen, Brook, Cohen, Velez & Garcia, 1990).
  8. Los azotes legitimiza la violencia y la agresion; Los ninos que son azotados son mas probables de recurrir a la agresion y la violencia durante conflictos como adultos. (Aronfreed, 1969; Bandura & Walters, 1959; Eron et al, 1971; Walters & Grusec, 1977; White & Straus, 1981).
  9. Ser azotado se asocia con un aumento en la delincuencia del nino, la conducta antisocial y la probabilidad de la conducta criminal adulta. (Burt, 1925, Gleuck and Gleuck, 1964, Hetherington et al, 1971, McCord and McCord, 1959, Wilson and Hernstein, 1985, Paterson et al, 1992.)
  10. El castigo corporal puede convencer a un nino a evitar las malas conductas para evitar el castigo futuro, pero no puede, por si mismo ensenarle a los ninos la responsabilidad de comportarse independientemente en maneras moralmente y socialmente aceptables (Hoffman 1983, Grusec, 1983).

Referencias:

Grevin, P. Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse. Random House Inc. (1991)

Miller, A: For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. Farrar, Straus and Giorux. (1990) Complete citations for articles available from PCA-NJ or Gershoff, Elizabeth: 2002, Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-Analytic Theoretical Review Psychological Bulletin 128:4 539-579

Consejos para padres #13

Obsequio del

Centro de Recursos Educativos para Padres
Prevent Child Abuse – New Jersey
103 Church Street, Suite 210
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
1-800-CHTLDREN (1-800-244-5373)
http://www.PreventChildAbuseNJ.org