Hi, It’s Len. The creator of singleparenting.us and author of the book, “Adventures in Single Parenting”.
I would like to talk a little about child abuse today. There have been two compelling events in recent times that have forced this topic to the headlines. One is the conviction of Jerry Sandusky on 45 counts of child abuse. The other is the introduction of a bill in Wisconsin, one feature of which was to declare that single parent families are more likely to have child abuse occur than two parent families are.
While I do not wish to enter the controversy over the Wisconsin bill there does appear to be support for the notion that children in single parent homes have potentially more exposure to abuse than children in two parent families. Partially this is due to more reliance on child care providers and babysitters.
Scanning the news, it is not hard to find stories of children injured by their mother’s boyfriend as one example.
But this brings us to a crucial conclusion well supported by evidence. Most physical and sexual abuse of children comes from people we know and trust, not from random acts of violence by strangers. Sure there are kidnappings, rapes and pother random acts by strangers but that is not the norm. One estimate is that 90% of child sexual abuse is from someone we know and trust.
Just to throw around some statistics, the graph on the next screen shows that the number of deaths due to child abuse and neglect has been rising steadily and now stands near 5 deaths per day in the united States. This is an incredible number.
The next graph shows the types of child abuse and indicates that 78 % is neglect while 9.2% is sexual abuse and 17.6% is physical abuse.
Huge numbers! Now what can we as parents do and especially as single parents? What is our first line of defense? First and foremost, be aware. In my particular case, my children where both subjected to totally inappropriate, sexually explicit behavior by a baby sitter who was the teen daughter of a close family friend and business acquaintance and was therefore highly trusted. It was many years after the fact when I became aware of the behavior.
So first and foremost, we need to listen to our kids and pay close attention to them if they don’t want to stay with a particular babysitter, friend, or Uncle Bob. Unfortunately we need to be suspicious of anyone who wants to spend time alone with our kids no matter what the reason. I am not suggesting paranoia, just good common sense.
The Boy Scouts have a program where no adult is permitted alone with one child for any reason at all. There must always be at least another child present; good program.
So my advice: listen carefully, observe appropriately and encourage your kids to talk to you. Make sure they are aware of what constitutes inappropriate behavior and touching and be sure they feel safe with you that they can tell you anything without fear of reprisal. And if they do tell you Uncle Bob is misbehaving, believe them and take action as necessary to nip it In the bud. I hope you never have to have Uncle Bob arrested but if you do, your kids are worth it.
Now go ahead and subscribe to my channel. Also leave me a comment and tell me what you think or ask a question. Let’s talk. Finally, go check out my website singleparenting.us. Let’s get to know each other.
Good luck in the days, months and years ahead!
My wish for you is that your children grow up healthy, wealthy and strong and contribute to society in a positive way and that you maintain your sanity in the process.
We will talk again. Bye for now!