I have a really good feeling about our new strategy of attracting young parents to Our Circle, and Our Pages, and website. But as I read some of the posts, the thought hit me right between the eyes, as I stared at the letters A.E.D.; every single one of us knows that this is not simply about a sign with a big number, like a city limits sign.
Being so like-minded about Our Children, I believe that if we could hang a sign up that was RSS and would actually record when we helped a Child directly or indirectly; and then continue doing all we possibly can each day, and coming back here and realizing the sign wasn’t blank anymore….
That is the feeling I got as I read those letters, that this nice young couple, who struck me as very Good Parents, with a happy family atmosphere, would be another way to get that #1 on SOMEBODY’S SIGN!!!! I believe I will start a list that everyone can see, when they come by, and list it on G+ and Facebook also.
If you have a history of child abuse, having your own children can trigger strong memories and feelings that you may have repressed. This may happen when a child is born, or at later ages when you remember specific abuse to you. You may be shocked and overwhelmed by your anger, and feel like you can’t control it. But you can learn new ways to manage your emotions and break your old patterns.
Remember, you are the most important person in your child’s world. It’s worth the effort to make a change, and you don’t have to go it alone. Help and support are available.
Tips for changing your reactions
Learn what is age appropriate and what is not. Having realistic expectations of what children can handle at certain ages will help you avoid frustration and anger at normal child behavior. For example, newborns are not going to sleep through the night without a peep, and toddlers are not going to be able to sit quietly for extended periods of time.
Develop new parenting skills. While learning to control your emotions is critical, you also need a game plan of what you are going to do instead. Start by learning appropriate discipline techniques and how to set clear boundaries for your children. Parenting classes, books, and seminars are a way to get this information. You can also turn to other parents for tips and advice.
Take care of yourself. If you are not getting enough rest and support or you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are much more likely to succumb to anger. Sleep deprivation, common in parents of young children, adds to moodiness and irritability—exactly what you are trying to avoid.
Get professional help. Breaking the cycle of abuse can be very difficult if the patterns are strongly entrenched. If you can’t seem to stop yourself no matter how hard you try, it’s time to get help, be it therapy, parenting classes, or other interventions. Your children will thank you for it.
Learn how you can get your emotions under control. The first step to getting your emotions under control is realizing that they are there. If you were abused as a child, you may have an especially difficult time getting in touch with your range of emotions. You may have had to deny or repress them as a child, and now they spill out without your control.
Do you see yourself in some of these descriptions, painful as it may be? Do you feel angry and frustrated and don’t know where to turn? Raising children is one of life’s greatest challenges and can trigger anger and frustration in the most even-tempered. If you grew up in a household where screaming and shouting or violence was the norm, you may not know any other way to raise your kids.
Recognizing that you have a problem is the biggest step to getting help. If you yourself were raised in an abusive situation, that can be extremely difficult. Children experience their world as normal. It may have been normal in your family to be slapped or pushed for little to no reason, or that mother was too drunk to cook dinner. It may have been normal for your parents to call you stupid, clumsy, or worthless. Or it may have been normal to watch your mother get beaten up by your father.
It is only as adults that we have the perspective to step back and take a hard look at what is normal and what is abusive. Read the above sections on the types of abuse and warning signs. Do any of those ring a bell for you now? Or from when you were a child? The following is a list of warning signs that you may be crossing the line into abuse:
How do you know when you’ve crossed the line?
You can’t stop the anger. What starts as a swat on the backside may turn into multiple hits getting harder and harder. You may shake your child harder and harder and finally throw him or her down. You find yourself screaming louder and louder and can’t stop yourself.
You feel emotionally disconnected from your child. You may feel so overwhelmed that you don’t want anything to do with your child. Day after day, you just want to be left alone and for your child to be quiet.
Meeting the daily needs of your child seems impossible. While everyone struggles with balancing dressing, feeding, and getting kids to school or other activities, if you continually can’t manage to do it, it’s a sign that something might be wrong.
Other people have expressed concern. It may be easy to bristle at other people expressing concern. However, consider carefully what they have to say. Are the words coming from someone you normally respect and trust? Denial is not an uncommon reaction.
A Clark County preschool teacher is charged with beating her daughter.
Police were called Wednesday night to search for Cheryl Lockhart’s daughter. It was reported that she hadn’t returned home from school. Authorities say the girl reported that she didn’t go home because she was afraid. The girl told social services that she was bruised when Lockhart pulled her down the stairs. Cheryl Lockhart, a teacher at Hannah McClure Elementary, was charged with second degree child abuse.
The school superintendent says they will decide on her job status once the matter is resolved.
Child abuse reports increase after new laws took effect Jan. 1
The new year brought new laws aimed at improving child abuse prevention and detection in Pennsylvania.
A total of 23 new laws went into effect as a result of recommendations by the Pennsylvania Task Force on Child Prevention following the Jerry Sandusky scandal in 2011. Implementation of the new laws have been staggered over the last couple months, but most went into effect Jan. 1.
“We have been very busy at the beginning of the year. More so than at this time last year,” Lisa Stevens, executive director of Schuylkill County Children & Youth Services, said Wednesday.
Among the major changes are the state’s definition of child abuse and who are considered mandatory reports and alleged perpetrators of abuse.
Bodily abuse was previously defined as “severe pain” and “serious impairment.” It is now legally characterized as causing “substantial pain.” The lower threshold for abuse has brought more cases to the Children & Youth staff.
“Many of those calls that were law enforcement referrals are now abuse cases,” Stevens said.
As of Jan. 14, Stevens said the agency has 42 reports of suspected abuse and 46 reports of abuse since the start of the year. There are also 270 pending non-abuse cases.
“We certainly don’t want to discourage any calls, but with the mandated reporting expansion, we are seeing an influx of calls,” Stevens said.
Anyone who comes into contact with a child or is directly responsible for their care and supervision is considered a mandatory reporter. Those who file a case of suspected child abuse in good faith are now protected by law from employment discrimination.
“Another big group of people it affects is teachers and anyone employed in a school setting,” Heidi Eckert, child abuse supervisor at the Schuylkill Children & Youth, said.
Previously, they were not considered perpetrators of abuse. Any allegations had to go through an internal review at the school and then the case would be referred to law enforcement, she said. Criminal charges would then lead to the involvement of Children & Youth. That process was also referred to as “chain-of-command” reporting.
“That whole protocol has been eliminated,” Eckert said.
As a mandatory reporter, any suspicions of abuse must be reported to the state within 48 hours or that person may face legal repercussions.
The failure to report suspected child abuse now carries harsher penalties. A first offense is now a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison.
Child abuse can also be the result of a caretaker’s failure to act, and now includes things like preventing a sibling from injuring a child. The definition was broadened to include “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly” failing to prevent injury.
“That’s a different way of thinking for us because those words can be interpreted differently,” Eckert said. “Until case law is set on those definitions, it is going to be interesting.”
The definition of an alleged perpetrator was also expanded to include anyone responsible for the welfare of a child. Before the new regulations, some people who did not live with the child could be prosecuted for assault, but could not be put onto the state child abuse registry.
Now, the county department has been involved in more custody cases as Children & Youth is required to provide the court with information it was previously not privileged.
“We had no idea how many custody cases were going on in Schuylkill County until these new laws,” Stevens said.
Stevens said her department has been providing information for about 40 to 50 cases a month. Before the new regulations, she said it was about four or five cases a month.
Clearance requirements have also expanded to include anyone working with children and need to be updated every 36 months. All mandatory reporters are required to have three hours of state-approved training and continuing education on detecting child abuse and reporting procedures.
New regulations were being planned for the last several years, but Stevens said the Sandusky case excelled implementation.
Sandusky, a former Penn State football coach, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison after being convicted of 45 counts of sex abuse in June 2012.
While some county agencies with smaller staffs may be having a harder time with the influx of new cases, Stevens said her department was already planning to add employees.
“We have some additional positions in our budget we have not filled yet,” Stevens said.
Stevens said three additional case worker positions were included in this year’s budget. Due to an increase in cases, Stevens said the positions will likely be used for a screener, an abuse investigator and a non-abuse investigator.
The county department currently has eight general intake workers and five child abuse specialists. Stevens said the original plan was to fill those positions by April, but that may now be moved up.