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What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers

What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers
Keeping Children Safe

Friday, July 29, 2011

Can't We All Just Get Along?

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
(Dorothy Law Nolte)
The above quote is so true. Children do, indeed, learn what they live. They live by example. This blog is about child safety. If adults fail to set a proper example for children, what proper examples do children have to emulate? The absence of positive role models affects the safety, security, stability, and the happiness of children. It affects the ability to raise children into good, compassionate, happy adults.
In school young children are always evaluated on their ability to “play well with others.” If children see their parents consistently squabbling with one another or squabbling with other parents and neighbors, that is setting a negative example.
When children are being witness to the current political climate in Congress which is filled with squabbling, partisanship, and lack of cooperation, will that not send a message that lack of cooperation is acceptable?
Parents not only need to set good examples for children, but Congress does as well. Our country is at risk of defaulting on their debts in four days if the Congress does not compromise and solve the situation.  The right wing faction of Congress, in particular some of the freshmen Congressman who were elected by members of the Tea Party, are willing to let our country default on its debts for their own political expediency.
America is literally being held hostage by the Tea Party-supported members of Congress who are willing to sacrifice the well-being of their constituents just to satisfy the Tea Party demands. The inability of the United States government to pay its bills affects whether or not senior citizens will get their social security checks, whether or not veterans will receive benefits, and it affects health care and the education of our children.
It’s reality check time! How can we expect children to play well with others when adults won’t?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Risk of Suicide Among Children and Teenagers

"If tears could build a stairway,
And memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to Heaven
And bring you home again." (Author Unknown)

The news of the tragic suicide of young Olympic skier, Jeret Peterson, is another circumstance that brings to light how fragile the psyche of children and teenagers can be. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Center for Disease Control report that suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24.
A child or teenager taking his or her own life is devastating to everyone. It often leaves the suicide victim’s family and friends feeling a sense of responsibility and guilt for being unable to prevent it.
As children and teens grow up, they often feel stress, confusion, peer pressure and concerns about meeting the expectations of their parents and other family members. Sometimes it all becomes too overwhelming.
As parents and family, we can try to help prevent such tragedy in our own families by looking for the signs of potential suicide risk in children. Such risks include difficulty concentrating, performing poorly in school work, withdrawal from family and friends, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, changes in eating and sleeping habits or in hygiene and personal appearance. Other indicators include persistent boredom and rebellious or even violent behavior.
Other worrisome signs are when children or teens make statements inferring that they won’t be a problem much longer, or if they start giving away cherished possessions.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Touch - Bad Touch

"I don't want expensive gifts. I don't want to be bought. I have everything I want. I just want someone to be there for me, to make me feel safe and secure." (Princess Diana)

Statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys have been sexually abused by the time they reach the age of 18. Even more alarming is the statistic showing that every two minutes a child is sexually molested and that such exploitation reaches across all socio-economic, religious, and ethnic factions.
Unfortunately, many children who are abuse victims either blame themselves or believe that no one will believe them, and, as a consequence, they suffer the abuse in silence. Statistics show that 30% of children who have suffered sexual abuse never tell anyone.
In order to create a safe environment for our children,  parents must become educated about sexual abuse. In order create a community atmosphere that does not tolerate child sexual abuse, parents must speak out.
Above all, parents must educate their children about the difference between good touch and bad touch. My book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers (available through the publisher, Headline Kids, and through, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million) touches upon the subject of educating children about the difference between good touch and bad touch and explains to children what they should do if they suspect they have been sexually exploited in any way.
Explain to your children that good touch is when Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, or Grandpa hug or kiss them goodnight or give a goodbye hug or kiss if they are going somewhere. Explain to your children that bad touch is any touch that makes them feel weird or uncomfortable, frightened or nervous.
 Encourage your children to always tell if something like that happens to them. Most importantly, tell your children that they have the right to say No to anyone who asks them to do something that makes them feel frightened, weird, or uncomfortable. More specifics on the topic are provided in my book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Protect Your Child from Bullying

“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

With school starting back soon, parents and children may be concerned about coping with the bullying problem that is in most schools. The prevalent attitude among some adults, whether they are parents, grandparents, teachers, or other child caregivers, that "Boys will be boys" and then their tendency to turn a blind eye to the bulllying dilemma only worsens the situation.

Bullying is a serious problem among American youth. It’s a problem that must be officially and effectively addressed by our schools and communities, including principals, teachers, community leaders, parents and students.

If your child is a target of a bully, he or she undoubtedly feels fearful, completely alone, and utterly helpless. Feeling fearful of such aggression is natural, but you, as parents, need to help your children realize that they are not alone. There is hope and there is help.

Some bullies make a show of false bravado. They tease and harass, but they are all bark and no bite, as the old saying goes. If the victim of the bully were to call his bluff, he may discover beneath a real cream puff.

Most bullies, however, have some kind of advantage or power over their victims. Most, unfortunately, want to inflict verbal, emotional or physical harm on their targets. It is this type of bullying that is a threatening and ever-increasing problem for your children. Such bullying can take the form of direct attacks on them, such as hitting, taunting, name-calling, malicious sexual remarks, and stealing or damaging their belongings. It can also take the form of more subtle attacks, such as spreading rumors about your child or enlisting cohorts to reject and exclude your child. How can your child deal with this deliberately aggressive and potentially harmful bully?

Advise your child to always tell you if he or she is being picked on or bullied in any way. Advise them to tell the teacher as well. Help your child to understand that telling a responsible adult about a bully is not being a baby. It is being smart. 

Advise your child that ignoring the bully and simply walking away from his aggressiveness may work with some bullies. Using humor might get the bully to stop as well. Bullies often give up when they don't get the expected response from their intended victim.

Additional strategies for dealing with bullying can be found in my children's book to be published at the end of May 2013. It is called The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale. The book is not only a fun and imaginative school story about a big bully, the kids he picks on, and a little boy robot who tries to lead the charge to stop the bullying problem in their school, but it is also an informational book. It includes two sections of  researched and effective strategies and resources for children, parents, and teachers to help them better deal with today’s ever-increasing bullying problem.



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Leaving Children in Hot Parked Cars

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." (Nelson Mandela)

With temperatures this past week rising to the triple digits in a large portion of the nation, it is a good time to remember that children should never be left ina hot parked car on hot summer days. Statistics show that in 2010, forty-nine children died of heat stroke from being left in parked cars on hot days.

According to Kids/, "A child’s body temperature climbs three to five times faster than an adult’s, especially in a hot car. In less than 30 minutes, the temperature inside a car can increase 35 degrees. An infant can die in as little as 15 minutes even on a mild 75-degree day."

Never leave a child in a hot, parked car. If you see a child, or even a pet, left in a hot car, call 911 immediately.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Every Child Deserves a Safe and Happy Childhood

"Children are living jewels, dropped unsustained from heaven." (Robert Pollok)

Parents, grandparents, teachers, and other kinds of child caregivers need to polish and treasure those jewels that are our children and do whatever it takes to keep them safe, secure and happy. Every child deserves to have a safe, happy, and carefree childhood. In today's world there are so many things that threaten the safety, the security, and the happiness of our children. Such threats can range from neglect at home, bullying at school, to the very real and dangerous threats of exploitation and predator harm.

All of these are issues that I hope some of you will comment about and help to get an active discussion going. As it is said, "If we are not a part of the solution, we are a part of the problem."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Protecting our children from abduction and predator harm

Why I Wrote and Published What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers:
As a former teacher, I have mentored students in every capacity of their educational development. As a mother and grandmother, I share concerns with all parents for the safety of children. Love of children and concern for their safety and welfare is the motivating factor behind the development of my book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers.
Current statistics from The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children show that about 260,000 children are abducted every year in the United States. The number of children who are reported as missing every year in the United States is 800,000.That averages about 2000 children a day. The following statistics are even more alarming:
• Forty percent of children in stereotypical kidnappings are killed.
• Four percent of children are never found.
• Seventy-nine percent of kidnappings are carried out by strangers and twenty-one percent by acquaintances.
Almost seventy-five percent of American parents fear that their children might become victims of abduction.
The aforementioned statistics on abducted and missing children are what make such a book as What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers such an important guide book to add to children’s and parent’s home book collections and to include in teachers’ classroom collections and in libraries in elementary and middle schools across the United States. The book can be acquired through the publisher website, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million.
In addition, I offer workshops to schools and other educational institutions or organizations. The workshops reinforce for children, in a fun and creative way, some of the information and strategies presented in What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers.

Information for scheduling workshops can be accessed through the publisher, Headline Books, Inc. ( or through the author at or through Facebook, Linked In or My Space. Brochures on the workshops are available upon request.

Care to share your thoughts on the increasing predator threat to our children's safety?