Targets

posted in: Child Abuse, Observations | 3

I wrote a review for a book title It’s OK to Tell earlier today on the News and Reviews Blog, and I won’t repeat what I said about the book here, but reading it I did have a thought that was completely unrelated to the book.

In it, Lauren talks about the “absence” of her mother due to health issues, and the void that left in her live. She goes on to talk about how she was a lonely child who never felt like she belonged anywhere, and how the pedophile in her life sensed that, and used that to groom her for abuse. It’s not an unfamiliar story to me, and I’m sure it’s not to many others. It’s pretty common for kids who are missing positive role models, who have an underdeveloped sense of themselves, to fall prey to abusers. I’d say it’s the same thing when you look at kids who are being destroyed by bullying as well. It’s the kids without a healthy sense of themselves; who they are, what their place in the world is, etc. who are hurt, yet we continually focus all of our prevention attempts on the outside behavior of strangers we can’t control.

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Instead of raising kids with a healthy sense of themselves, who feel loved, safe, and have the tools available to them to deal with bullying, or to possibly protect themselves from abusers, we spend all of our resources trying to keep abusers away from them, or launch giant anti-bullying campaigns that will only do some marginal amount of good.

Look, I’m not saying that those attempts aren’t good things, but if we think we can completely wipe out any bad thing from invading the childhoods of millions of kids, we’re sadly mistaken. What kids need most are the tools that help them deal with being bullied, to avoid being targeted because they feel safe, confidant, and loved, no matter what else may be coming at them from the outside world. They need positive role models, people who are capable of listening to them, and who they know they are safe with.

Simply put, the best thing you can do to protect your kids from abuse and bullying, is to be a good parent. Short of that, the best thing an extended family can do is fill in the gaps and provide a good, safe, loving atmosphere for the children in it, and lastly, a community can provide good role models, leaders, teachers, social workers, etc. who do the same. Give kids the tools to protect themselves, and you’ll find a lot less abuse and bullying, because there won’t be easy targets.

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3 Responses

  1. I have that very same thought. When my son was school age I couldn’t understand where the child advocates had gone. When I went to school in the 60-70’s I couldn’t be believed about abuse to the few I told,but their were teachers,principals,Sunday school teachers,librarians,lunch ladies,janitors,pastors,shop keepers,who cared about positive messages & interactions with me & other children.
    Now one can’t even get help with troubled children,let alone the fall between the cracks, quiet ones.

  2. I couldn’t disagree with you more Fai. I entered kindergarten in 1963 and graduate Highschool in 1975. All That time I was being severaly abused by my step mother (hit in the head with a baseball bat, burned, forced to inhale toxic chemicals) There were times I was in the Nurses room 3 0r 4 times a week. My mother had her convinced I did things to myself to get attention. That’s what the nurse told everyone else. One male teacher I had in 5th grade went so far as to tease me each time I had bruises on my face about my boyfriend slugging me because I tried to kiss him again. Him and the nurse were abusers in their own right. My dad who pretended to believe I was just a very clumsy child, took me to the ER 3 times on 1 Sat. That finallf got DCFS get called but when they came they kept asking me if my FATHER abused me. I was about 9 and answered truthfully No my FATHER (with the emphasis) didn’t. But they never even considered the fact that it could have been a mother. I’m 54 years old now and still have 3 grand mals a day from her loving care. My experience with the schools in the 60s and the 70s was not great.

  3. […] Thing. I found parts of it reminded me of my own thoughts a couple of months back about making kids easy targets for those who would abuse or bully them. It’s the damage caused to kids that makes them […]

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