The stories abound of neighbors abusing children and coming to light. An Indiana, Pennsylvania woman allowed a man to beat her six year old because of bad grades. A Hermitage man accused of sexually abusing a girl. They continue, as always, it seems. So again, I ask that we open our eyes to the close world around us.
I read a link last week about questions to ask our children and now I can't find it. It made sense. We want our children to obey and respect those placed in authority over them, but we need to watch a little closer.
One mother stated they formed a code question so the child wouldn't have to give away she was in trouble. The child could call if she was in an uncomfortable situation (or dangerous) and ask how a "sick" pet was doing. That would be code for "I'm in trouble or I need you to pick me up." We have all been there where peer pressure keeps us pinned to a wall. This method saves face (very important to children) and protects children.
As parents, we need to pick up on subtle signs. I remember one time my daughter acted up after playing with a friend and her older brother. He was eight or nine, she was in kindergarten. Finally, I asked her what was wrong after struggling through a dinner out with my mother and her. She was unpleasant and defiant. She opened up that the brother had shown her a coin with an inappropriate picture on it. She didn't know how to process what she saw, so she behaved unlike herself.
As more and more people have access to our children and grandchildren, we need to open our eyes. Teachers, priests, older adults have preyed on children forever. As Solomon states, "There is nothing new under the sun." As protecting adults, asking the right questions, assuring our children to tell us when something doesn't feel right to them- believe me they know- and keeping eyes and ears open may help prevent abuse. As you know your children, trust your gut as well when a situation doesn't feel right. Unfortunately we can't always be there with them, but letting them know you are a safe person for them to run to and talk may save some. Be a safe adult.