April Child Abuse Prevention
Stress is a part of everyday life, but it’s how you manage it that counts. It is more beneficial for yourself and love ones when you are able to take control of your thoughts, emotions and actions. When you are stressed it’s important to practice self-care. Here are some ways we can manage stress moments.
- Take time out to focus on the positive and relax. (dance, sing, spend time with your pet(s), walk, hike, keep a gratitude journal and write in it every day.)
- Take a couple minutes to become aware of your breathing. (visualize taking in something positive with each breath, pay attention to the rhythms of your breath, count your breaths slowly and evenly)
- Connect socially (After a stressful event, it is normal to isolate yourself. Make sure to make time to be with your loved ones. Make plans to grab coffee or lunch, take a walk, watch a movie)
- Find support. (don’t be afraid to ask for support. Seek help and support from positive people in your life or go to therapy. Having someone with a sympathetic, listening ear and sharing your stress can really lighten the burden)
- Take care of yourself. (have a regular sleep schedule, eat your comfort food, maintain a normal routine, give yourself a break when you feel stressed)
We know how overwhelming summer can be. Kids are out of school, you may have family coming to town, you may be traveling for the summer, or your kids may be enrolled in summer camp. But with all that is happening, it’s more important than ever to remember protecting kids is the priority. Here are some tips to help parents and caregivers:
- Discuss Boundaries. During the summer, there are friends and family members around who may want to hug, play, tickle your child and even have your child sit on their lap. Boundaries and respect are keys to empowering your kids to say no and/or stop to unwanted touches, pictures, etc. by adults or other children. Let your child and others know this is a decision your child can make based on THEIR comfort level. If your child (or any other child in your life) says “no” or “stop,” their decision (and their boundaries) should be respected.
- Explain Secrets vs Surprises. Secrets are often the way abusers keep children silent (i.e. “This will be our little secret”). Explain to children that secrets are usually about something unsafe or bad and aren’t meant to be told to anyone, and surprises are for fun, good things and are meant to be told. Remind your child that if anyone, an adult, or another child ever asks them to keep a secret, they should tell you or a Safe Adult right away.
- Limit one–on-one situations. If possible, alone time between your child and another adult should be limited. If your kid is in daycare, summer camp, or babysitting, you can come unannounced, call the adult in charge, and follow up questions with your kid.
Anger is a natural human emotion. We shouldn’t feel guilty when we are angry. Raising children is an important job that involves balancing different demands. It is normal to get angry and lose patients from time to time. What matters and it is important is how we react to our anger. An important to part of anger management is recognizing signs of anger. Your body gives you early signs of anger. When you can recognize these signs, you can stop things getting out of control: Physical: Agitation, faster breathing and heart rate, tense shoulders, clenching jaw and hand and negative Thoughts. It is natural to have negative thoughts when we are angry such as “no one ever helps me” “why do you want to upset me?” “If you behaved better, I wouldn’t feel so angry.” If you notice thoughts like these it is a sign that you are angry.
- Identify your anger. When you recognize the signs of anger it is important to know and say you are angry, even if it’s to yourself. “This is making me angry” “I can feel myself getting angry” When we are able to put a name to our emotion, we are acknowledging our emotions and being aware of them
- Take a time out. Once you notice the signs of anger, take a moment to calm down. Notice your breathing and take mindful breaths. Breath in for 2 seconds and breath out for 4 seconds until you notice your heart rate slows down. Go outside for walk, take a warm shower, or listen to smoothing music.
- Reflect on the situation. Once the moment has passed, it is important to reflect on the situation so on the future we know how to handle similar situations better. Ask yourself questions like “Why was I upset about it?” “Can I change something about this or can I just let it go?”
Don’t apologize for being angry. Apologize for losing your temper. Remember. It is normal and okay to feel angry but it is not okay to yell or hurt someone. When you apologize for losing your temper instead of being angry you are showing your children that being angry it is okay but it is important to handle anger in healthy ways.