Hope 4 Hurting Kids Helping young people move from hurt and trauma to Hope and Healing. 2018-02-16T13:00:13Z http://hope4hurtingkids.com/feed/atom/ WordPress Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[H4HK FAQs: What Can I Do To Get My Parents Back Together?]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=3095 2017-10-20T01:13:05Z 2018-02-16T13:00:13Z H4HK FAQs are designed to answer questions kids and teens ask when facing difficult situations and circumstances in their lives. It is very common for children whose parents have divorced to hope that their parents might get back together.  Most children of divorce experience this at some point following their parents’ separation.  This desire might last for a long time, and you may get angrier and angrier when it doesn’t happen.  Some kids even try to make deals with their parents or with God.  They might say, God, if you let my parents get back together, I promise to keep my room clean and never to fight with my sister again. Or, they might think to themselves, If I just chip in more and do my chores, then my parents will see the improvement and want to live together again. Have you ever had a thought like that or made a wish or a prayer like that? Some kids even start to come up with plans for how they can make their parents get back together.  Maybe you’ve had some of these thoughts: If I pretend to be sick, then both of my parents will worry about me and want to spend time with me.  While they’re taking care of me they will remember how much they love one another and want to get back together. It is natural for you to wish for the time back when your family was whole.  It’s hard to lose anything.  It is really hard to lose the family structure that we have come to know and rely on.  However, the fact of the matter is that most divorced people do not get back together again.  While you might wish for your parents to get remarried so that you can be one big happy family again, it is better for you in the long run to accept the divorce so that you can begin to move forward with your life. It will not always be easy, and it is important that you have trusted people who you can talk to about the emotions you are feeling and any troubles you might be having adjusting to new circumstances.  Remember that, just because your parents won’t be getting back together, that doesn’t mean that they love you any less or that you have to choose between them.  Things will be different from now on in terms of where you live and who you get to spend time with (that will be tough), but both your Mom and your Dad are still your parents, and that won’t change. Find answers to other frequently asked questions on our H4HK FAQs Page. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post H4HK FAQs: What Can I Do To Get My Parents Back Together? appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Get My Parents Back Together

H4HK FAQs are designed to answer questions kids and teens ask when facing difficult situations and circumstances in their lives.

It is very common for children whose parents have divorced to hope that their parents might get back together.  Most children of divorce experience this at some point following their parents’ separation.  This desire might last for a long time, and you may get angrier and angrier when it doesn’t happen.  Some kids even try to make deals with their parents or with God.  They might say,

God, if you let my parents get back together, I promise to keep my room clean and never to fight with my sister again.

Or, they might think to themselves,

If I just chip in more and do my chores, then my parents will see the improvement and want to live together again.

Have you ever had a thought like that or made a wish or a prayer like that?

Some kids even start to come up with plans for how they can make their parents get back together.  Maybe you’ve had some of these thoughts:

If I pretend to be sick, then both of my parents will worry about me and want to spend time with me.  While they’re taking care of me they will remember how much they love one another and want to get back together.

It is natural for you to wish for the time back when your family was whole.  It’s hard to lose anything.  It is really hard to lose the family structure that we have come to know and rely on.  However, the fact of the matter is that most divorced people do not get back together again.  While you might wish for your parents to get remarried so that you can be one big happy family again, it is better for you in the long run to accept the divorce so that you can begin to move forward with your life.

It will not always be easy, and it is important that you have trusted people who you can talk to about the emotions you are feeling and any troubles you might be having adjusting to new circumstances.  Remember that, just because your parents won’t be getting back together, that doesn’t mean that they love you any less or that you have to choose between them.  Things will be different from now on in terms of where you live and who you get to spend time with (that will be tough), but both your Mom and your Dad are still your parents, and that won’t change.

Find answers to other frequently asked questions on our H4HK FAQs Page. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post H4HK FAQs: What Can I Do To Get My Parents Back Together? appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Linda Ranson Jacobs http://blog.dc4k.org <![CDATA[The Brain Train – The Engine]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2428 2017-10-20T15:14:03Z 2018-02-14T13:00:52Z I like to think of the brain system as the “brain train”. A Quick Review The caboose (the brain stem) is the train car attached to the rear of the train and used primarily by the train crew. In older days, back when trains actually had a caboose, it was used as a place of protection where soldiers, or the crew, were stationed to protect the train from raiders and robbers and keep it safe. The brain stem is all about fight, flight or freeze. The brain stem asks, “Am I safe?” The passenger car (the limbic system) is the place where the people ride on the train and enjoy each other’s company. The limbic system is all about emotions and asks, “Am I loved?” Last week we looked at this emotional part of the brain. The part of the brain that says, “Everything is about me!” Understanding when a child is in the emotional part of the brain is important because we need to have empathy for them and what they are experiencing. The Upper Level of the Brain As we move up the brain this week, we will discuss the upper level of the brain. This is the part of the brain where we want the child of divorce to access. The upper level of the brain (the frontal lobes) is where you find: Impulse control Empathy Working memory Sustained attention The ability to plan, prioritize, initiate Organization Time management (Ever notice single parents are almost always late?) Goals and stick-to-it-iveness For Leaders The upper level of the brain is where we need to be as leaders when working with children of divorce. It is in this level of the brain that you will be effective leaders. Think about it. Working with some of these children can be a real challenge. It takes impulse control to keep from getting upset with some of their behaviors. It certainly takes empathy when you must feel what they are feeling and you need to put yourself in their place for a few minutes. What must it feel like when you wanted to see your mom and she didn’t show up for dinner this week or last week or the last ten weeks? I’m sure you can go down the list above and see the importance of Remembering what a child told you three weeks ago the last time they were at church Paying attention to each child of divorce Planning in advance, prioritizing and initiating projects effectively Being organized for every class Being on time and prepared in advance Being committed to stick with the child of divorce and be helpful and serving their family. In Children of Divorce For the child of divorce we want them to be able to access the upper level of the brain so they can learn how to process the divorce and move forward with their lives. The child has to be in this state in order to learn and solve conflicts. We learn problem solving in a social system. Children of divorce don’t have an opportunity to learn this when being shuffled from home to home, or in homes where there is a lot of fighting or living with a single parent who is too stressed to pay much attention to the needs of their children. While not all single parents are like this, many who are just experiencing the heartbreak of a divorce will live in the emotional part of their brain. Plus, many children of divorce are isolated and left alone after school – zoning in front of a TV, playing video games and suffering the Internet. We want them to be in the frontal lobes so they experience sustained attention. So they can learn to belong and feel what it is like to empathize with another person. It is important for the church and church activities/classes to welcome the child of divorce into the church family. These children need to see, feel and be a part of something that emulates a family environment. In these types of environments we can nurture the frontal lobes. In his book Think Smart: A Neuroscientist’s Prescription for Improving Your Brain’s Performance, Richard Restak says, “I’ve found that many prisoners, especially those serving time for violent crimes, suffer from deficiencies in frontal lobe function. They can’t plan their lives or control either their emotions or their behaviors.” “If the frontal lobes are not nurtured and developed…then we as a society can expect o pay deadly in terms of more crime, broken homes, drug use and violence..” (Richard Restak, 1994) If you’ve read much research on children of divorce you already know that children of divorce have a higher chance of ending up incarcerated than children in two-parent homes. Richard Restak’s comments should send shock waves into the church realm if we are serious about ministering to the child of divorce in our children’s programs. Did the “broken homes” jump out at you? It did me. What if your church could be one of the tools to help kids develop and nurture their frontal lobes? The main thing these kids need is your love and empathy for what they are experiencing. When they experience a healthy family type atmosphere where they feel safe physically and emotionally, and where they feel loved and accepted, then they can access the higher level of the brain, the frontal lobes. It is in this state they will learn to solve problems. They will be able to create choices. Remember the child in the brain stem can’t make choices. The child in the limbic loves to make choices, and the child in the frontal lobes can offer choices. The upper level of the brain or the cortex loves to learn. The Brain Train Engine In the Brain Train, the engine (cortex) is the place where the engineer runs the train. All the decisions about running the train are made in this car. Cortex/frontal lobe loves to learn, creates choices, organizes, has [...]

The post The Brain Train – The Engine appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Brain TrainI like to think of the brain system as the “brain train”.

A Quick Review

The caboose (the brain stem) is the train car attached to the rear of the train and used primarily by the train crew. In older days, back when trains actually had a caboose, it was used as a place of protection where soldiers, or the crew, were stationed to protect the train from raiders and robbers and keep it safe. The brain stem is all about fight, flight or freeze. The brain stem asks,

“Am I safe?”

The passenger car (the limbic system) is the place where the people ride on the train and enjoy each other’s company. The limbic system is all about emotions and asks,

“Am I loved?”

Last week we looked at this emotional part of the brain. The part of the brain that says,

“Everything is about me!”

Understanding when a child is in the emotional part of the brain is important because we need to have empathy for them and what they are experiencing.

The Upper Level of the Brain

As we move up the brain this week, we will discuss the upper level of the brain. This is the part of the brain where we want the child of divorce to access. The upper level of the brain (the frontal lobes) is where you find:

  • Impulse control
  • Empathy
  • Working memory
  • Sustained attention
  • The ability to plan, prioritize, initiate
  • Organization
  • Time management (Ever notice single parents are almost always late?)
  • Goals and stick-to-it-iveness

For Leaders

The upper level of the brain is where we need to be as leaders when working with children of divorce. It is in this level of the brain that you will be effective leaders. Think about it. Working with some of these children can be a real challenge. It takes impulse control to keep from getting upset with some of their behaviors. It certainly takes empathy when you must feel what they are feeling and you need to put yourself in their place for a few minutes. What must it feel like when you wanted to see your mom and she didn’t show up for dinner this week or last week or the last ten weeks?

I’m sure you can go down the list above and see the importance of

  • Remembering what a child told you three weeks ago the last time they were at church
  • Paying attention to each child of divorce
  • Planning in advance, prioritizing and initiating projects effectively
  • Being organized for every class
  • Being on time and prepared in advance
  • Being committed to stick with the child of divorce and be helpful and serving their family.

In Children of Divorce

For the child of divorce we want them to be able to access the upper level of the brain so they can learn how to process the divorce and move forward with their lives. The child has to be in this state in order to learn and solve conflicts. We learn problem solving in a social system. Children of divorce don’t have an opportunity to learn this when being shuffled from home to home, or in homes where there is a lot of fighting or living with a single parent who is too stressed to pay much attention to the needs of their children. While not all single parents are like this, many who are just experiencing the heartbreak of a divorce will live in the emotional part of their brain. Plus, many children of divorce are isolated and left alone after school – zoning in front of a TV, playing video games and suffering the Internet.

We want them to be in the frontal lobes so they experience sustained attention. So they can learn to belong and feel what it is like to empathize with another person. It is important for the church and church activities/classes to welcome the child of divorce into the church family. These children need to see, feel and be a part of something that emulates a family environment. In these types of environments we can nurture the frontal lobes.

In his book Think Smart: A Neuroscientist’s Prescription for Improving Your Brain’s Performance, Richard Restak says,

“I’ve found that many prisoners, especially those serving time for violent crimes, suffer from deficiencies in frontal lobe function. They can’t plan their lives or control either their emotions or their behaviors.”

“If the frontal lobes are not nurtured and developed…then we as a society can expect o pay deadly in terms of more crime, broken homes, drug use and violence..” (Richard Restak, 1994)

If you’ve read much research on children of divorce you already know that children of divorce have a higher chance of ending up incarcerated than children in two-parent homes. Richard Restak’s comments should send shock waves into the church realm if we are serious about ministering to the child of divorce in our children’s programs. Did the “broken homes” jump out at you? It did me. What if your church could be one of the tools to help kids develop and nurture their frontal lobes?

The main thing these kids need is your love and empathy for what they are experiencing. When they experience a healthy family type atmosphere where they feel safe physically and emotionally, and where they feel loved and accepted, then they can access the higher level of the brain, the frontal lobes.

It is in this state they will learn to solve problems. They will be able to create choices. Remember the child in the brain stem can’t make choices. The child in the limbic loves to make choices, and the child in the frontal lobes can offer choices. The upper level of the brain or the cortex loves to learn.

The Brain Train Engine

In the Brain Train, the engine (cortex) is the place where the engineer runs the train. All the decisions about running the train are made in this car. Cortex/frontal lobe loves to learn, creates choices, organizes, has working memory, has foresight, planning and follow-through actions. “The frontal lobes are also responsible for our most evolved feelings and behaviors such as ethics, altruism and compassion.” (“Think Smart”, Richard Restak) “What can I learn?” of “How can I solve this problem?” (Dr. Becky Bailey, “Conscious Discipline” www.consciousdiscipline.com 1-800-842-2846)

Some of you might ask why does a child go from the cortex down to the brain stem? The answer is because the child needs to. The child doesn’t have the wiring to get him or herself out of the brain stem; the child needs adults to help.

Another important piece of information to remember is that, even though we have all this brain information and we are learning how to help children move from the lower levels of their brain to the upper levels where they can learn and problem solve, children can still “unhook” the brain by telling themselves they are worthless!

A Brain Train Hypothetical Scenario

Brain Train Scenario: The child of divorce comes into your class and you can tell right away they don’t want to be there. Their head is down and they are refusing to look at you. Or worst case scenario they hide under a table or pew. Or they go sit in the corner with their hoodie over their head refuse to look up and take the hoodie off. What do you do? For the most part in the past we have mishandled this type of situation by saying things like, “Oh come on now. Things can’t be that bad.” Or we try to happy up the child by saying, “Come on, give me a smile.” Or, “Quit being silly! Get out from under that table.” Or, “Take that hoodie off. I can’t see that beautiful face of yours.” When we do this, we don’t help the child feel safe but instead we literally push them down into feeling unworthy.

What we have been doing hasn’t been working. I know because I used to do that and because I’ve had hundreds of children’s leaders tell me this. Most recently at the International Children’s Pastor’s Conference in Orlando, Fl in January 2012 several children’s leaders came up and said,

“I know what I’ve been doing hasn’t been working but I just haven’t known what to say. Why hasn’t someone shared this with us before now?”

Here is a brain smart way to handle one of these types of situations.

Brain stem – describe what the child’s actions are.

“Your head is going like this. And your face looks like this.” (You make the same movements and facial expression.) When the child looks toward you and they will look toward you because they want to see what you are doing, then you are starting the movement up the brain train.

Limbic system – add empathy.

“Seems to me you might be …. um…. upset?” Don’t tell the child what they are feeling but use the words “seems to me”. “Seems to me you don’t want to be here.” Or, “Seems to me that you might be sad?” Usually at this point the child will mutter something like, “Yeh, I didn’t want to come today because I was sad, or upset or mad that daddy forgot to come get me this weekend.” Of course if you are a kid and you were expecting your dad to come and get you and take you for the weekend, you don’t want to be at church! The child may be thinking, “What is he comes while I’m at church and he gets mad because I wasn’t waiting on him?”

At this point you can add empathy by saying something like, “Oh my. I understand. If I was waiting for my dad and he didn’t come I’d be upset too. What can I do to help you?” Then give the child some choices. “Would you like to just stand here by me for awhile until you get a little more comfortable? Or would you like to get a drink of water before we get started?”

Let the child make a choice. I have been surprised more than once when a child will give me other options such as, “Well, maybe I could go help the other teacher.” Or, “I think I’ll just sit over here in the corner for awhile.” To which I always add, “That seems like a good choice and then when you feel like it you can join the rest of the group.”

Let your words and your teaching impact with tenderness upon these children. Love them through this time in their lives and teach to their brains!

“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” Deuteronomy 32:2 (NIV)

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on March 09, 2012.

The post The Brain Train – The Engine appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[What to Do If You Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2653 2017-10-20T15:10:13Z 2018-02-12T13:00:49Z Welcome to part 6 of our 10 part series on child abuse and neglect. Today, we will be discussing what you should do if you suspect potential abuse or neglect.   General Goals Before we jump into the specifics about what to do when you suspect abuse or neglect, there are some overarching goals, or guiding principles, which we should all have when it comes to abuse and neglect, particularly the church. These include: Protecting the child from any further harm Stopping the offender’s abuse Healing the victim’s brokenness Restoring the family (or helping victims to mourn the loss of relationship where this is not possible) Although there is a legal system and various state agencies set up to deal with issues of abuse and neglect, as the church we cannot and must not forget that our primary goal is ultimate healing and restoration through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ must guide us in all that we do. What To Do When You Suspect Abuse or Neglect? What to do when you suspect abuse or neglect is a very serious thing, and you should have a plan both as an individual and as a church. As an individual, if you suspect abuse or neglect you should: Pray for guidance in how to handle the situation. Document what you have observed that has led to your suspicions. This should be done in writing. Do not approach the child (we will talk later about how to talk to a child who has told you they are being abused or whom you find out has been abused or neglected). Follow your church’s policy on reporting suspected abuse. As an individual who works with kids, you should check your state laws to determine if you are required to report the suspected abuse to authorities or if reporting it to the designated person in your church is sufficient. You can find out more about this in the section of this article on who is required to report suspected abuse and neglect. Of course, as a church, we should be training our volunteers in the list above, but we also need to have a church wide plan for dealing with instances of suspected abuse or neglect. Once you suspect abuse or neglect, that it not the right time to try to develop a policy for dealing with. Your church generally, and your children’s ministry in particular, should have a policy in place for dealing with suspected abuse and neglect long before you ever encounter it. These policies will vary by church, and based on state law, but the policies should generally: Have a point person at your church (a children’s ministry director, family ministry coordinator or executive pastor) who is the individual ultimately responsible for receiving reports of suspected abuse and reporting those suspicions to the appropriate authorities. Have a clear and easy system of reporting. For example, volunteers should report to the person in charge of the program they are working in, or the church’s “point person” if that leader is not available. Program leaders should report all suspicions to the church’s abuse and neglect “point person.” Stress the need for confidentiality. If the suspected abuse involves a volunteer, or staff, at the church, that person should be immediately removed from working with children pending the resolution of an investigation. Parents should be notified, where appropriate. Note that caution should be used where the suspected abuse or neglect was, or may have been, at the hands of parents. Train your volunteers and staff on the signs of abuse and neglect and the procedure for, and importance of, reporting suspected neglect abuse. Churches should also check with their counsel and/or insurance carrier regarding responsibility for reporting suspicions. For more resources for learning about, and dealing with child abuse and neglect, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Child Abuse & Neglect Help Center. For more resources for learning about, and dealing with sexual abuse and rape, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Sexual Abuse & Rape Help Center. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on October 05, 2011.

The post What to Do If You Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

If You Suspect Child Abuse or NeglectWelcome to part 6 of our 10 part series on child abuse and neglect. Today, we will be discussing what you should do if you suspect potential abuse or neglect.  

General Goals

Before we jump into the specifics about what to do when you suspect abuse or neglect, there are some overarching goals, or guiding principles, which we should all have when it comes to abuse and neglect, particularly the church. These include:

  • Protecting the child from any further harm
  • Stopping the offender’s abuse
  • Healing the victim’s brokenness
  • Restoring the family (or helping victims to mourn the loss of relationship where this is not possible)

Although there is a legal system and various state agencies set up to deal with issues of abuse and neglect, as the church we cannot and must not forget that our primary goal is ultimate healing and restoration through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ must guide us in all that we do.

What To Do When You Suspect Abuse or Neglect?

What to do when you suspect abuse or neglect is a very serious thing, and you should have a plan both as an individual and as a church. As an individual, if you suspect abuse or neglect you should:

  • Pray for guidance in how to handle the situation.
  • Document what you have observed that has led to your suspicions. This should be done in writing.
  • Do not approach the child (we will talk later about how to talk to a child who has told you they are being abused or whom you find out has been abused or neglected).
  • Follow your church’s policy on reporting suspected abuse.
  • As an individual who works with kids, you should check your state laws to determine if you are required to report the suspected abuse to authorities or if reporting it to the designated person in your church is sufficient. You can find out more about this in the section of this article on who is required to report suspected abuse and neglect.

Of course, as a church, we should be training our volunteers in the list above, but we also need to have a church wide plan for dealing with instances of suspected abuse or neglect. Once you suspect abuse or neglect, that it not the right time to try to develop a policy for dealing with. Your church generally, and your children’s ministry in particular, should have a policy in place for dealing with suspected abuse and neglect long before you ever encounter it. These policies will vary by church, and based on state law, but the policies should generally:

  • Have a point person at your church (a children’s ministry director, family ministry coordinator or executive pastor) who is the individual ultimately responsible for receiving reports of suspected abuse and reporting those suspicions to the appropriate authorities.
  • Have a clear and easy system of reporting. For example, volunteers should report to the person in charge of the program they are working in, or the church’s “point person” if that leader is not available. Program leaders should report all suspicions to the church’s abuse and neglect “point person.”
  • Stress the need for confidentiality.
  • If the suspected abuse involves a volunteer, or staff, at the church, that person should be immediately removed from working with children pending the resolution of an investigation.
  • Parents should be notified, where appropriate. Note that caution should be used where the suspected abuse or neglect was, or may have been, at the hands of parents.
  • Train your volunteers and staff on the signs of abuse and neglect and the procedure for, and importance of, reporting suspected neglect abuse.
  • Churches should also check with their counsel and/or insurance carrier regarding responsibility for reporting suspicions.
For more resources for learning about, and dealing with child abuse and neglect, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Child Abuse & Neglect Help Center. For more resources for learning about, and dealing with sexual abuse and rape, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Sexual Abuse & Rape Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on October 05, 2011.

The post What to Do If You Suspect Child Abuse or Neglect appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[H4HK FAQs: How Can I Respect and Honor My Parents After A Divorce?]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=3096 2017-10-20T01:12:41Z 2018-02-09T13:00:15Z H4HK FAQs are designed to answer questions kids and teens ask when facing difficult situations and circumstances in their lives. When your parents divorce, you entire world changes.  Many times, you are find out or are given information about one parent or the other which impacts your view of them.  Perhaps one of your parents made bad decisions which and betrayed the trust of your other parent causing the divorce.  Sometimes, your parents’ actions will cause you pain. You may even feel like between you and your parent, you are the one acting like the adult these days.  Given all of that, how can you continue to respect or honor your parents? It is important to separate the the person from the position in your effort to respect and honor both of your parents.  Despite the actions of your parents, they have been put in your life and given the position of parent.  You can respect and honor that position regardless of the acts of the individuals in those positions.  Put another way, even though you’re your mother’s actions have left your father depressed and despondent, you can still respect her role as mother when it comes to setting rules and boundaries. Keep in mind that respect is a choice you make.  Oftentimes in our society, you will hear that “respect is earned.” This is not true. Respect is given. Respect is a choice.  It is a choice to honor and respect a person regardless of your feelings towards them.  You choose to treat a person a certain way whether they deserve it or not because you know that it is the right thing to do.  Respect is not, and can not, be granted on a “quid pro quo” basis.  You don’t choose to respect your parents because they respect you or because they treat you the way you feel you should be treated.  You respect them because YOU make the choice to do so regardless of their actions. Keep in mind that respect does not always mean affirming the actions of, or agreeing with the stance of, your parent.  If one of your parents is making destructive choices, or worse yet encouraging you to do the same, the most respectful thing you can sometimes do is turn away for a time or a season.  If your father’s house is unsafe, honor and respect does not demand that you stay there.  If your mother and father can not get along in the same room, honor does not dictate that you subject yourself to that drama on your graduation or wedding day. Sometimes, respecting and honoring your parents has to start with forgiveness.  Quit holding on to the bitterness that you are feeling, and choose to forgive your parent.  You will not be able to honor or respect them so long as you are harboring resentment towards them.  It will not be easy, but choosing to honor and respect your parents can free you up emotionally and start you down the road of healing. Find answers to other frequently asked questions on our H4HK FAQs Page. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post H4HK FAQs: How Can I Respect and Honor My Parents After A Divorce? appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Respect and Honor My Parents After A Divorce

H4HK FAQs are designed to answer questions kids and teens ask when facing difficult situations and circumstances in their lives.

When your parents divorce, you entire world changes.  Many times, you are find out or are given information about one parent or the other which impacts your view of them.  Perhaps one of your parents made bad decisions which and betrayed the trust of your other parent causing the divorce.  Sometimes, your parents’ actions will cause you pain. You may even feel like between you and your parent, you are the one acting like the adult these days.  Given all of that, how can you continue to respect or honor your parents?

It is important to separate the the person from the position in your effort to respect and honor both of your parents.  Despite the actions of your parents, they have been put in your life and given the position of parent.  You can respect and honor that position regardless of the acts of the individuals in those positions.  Put another way, even though you’re your mother’s actions have left your father depressed and despondent, you can still respect her role as mother when it comes to setting rules and boundaries.

Keep in mind that respect is a choice you make.  Oftentimes in our society, you will hear that “respect is earned.” This is not true. Respect is given. Respect is a choice.  It is a choice to honor and respect a person regardless of your feelings towards them.  You choose to treat a person a certain way whether they deserve it or not because you know that it is the right thing to do.  Respect is not, and can not, be granted on a “quid pro quo” basis.  You don’t choose to respect your parents because they respect you or because they treat you the way you feel you should be treated.  You respect them because YOU make the choice to do so regardless of their actions.

Keep in mind that respect does not always mean affirming the actions of, or agreeing with the stance of, your parent.  If one of your parents is making destructive choices, or worse yet encouraging you to do the same, the most respectful thing you can sometimes do is turn away for a time or a season.  If your father’s house is unsafe, honor and respect does not demand that you stay there.  If your mother and father can not get along in the same room, honor does not dictate that you subject yourself to that drama on your graduation or wedding day.

Sometimes, respecting and honoring your parents has to start with forgiveness.  Quit holding on to the bitterness that you are feeling, and choose to forgive your parent.  You will not be able to honor or respect them so long as you are harboring resentment towards them.  It will not be easy, but choosing to honor and respect your parents can free you up emotionally and start you down the road of healing.

Find answers to other frequently asked questions on our H4HK FAQs Page. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post H4HK FAQs: How Can I Respect and Honor My Parents After A Divorce? appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Hope 4 Hurting Kids http://hope4hurtingkids.com <![CDATA[Helping Your Child Deal With Divorce]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=4031 2018-02-07T22:44:18Z 2018-02-08T13:00:53Z Helping Your Child Deal With Divorce is a tri-fold pamphlet we’ve designed for parents. If you are a divorced or divorcing parent who is looking for information on how to help your child, this pamphlet is for you. It is also designed for those who work with kids who might be asked by a parent how to help their child. The pamphlet covers basic information like how to tell you child, helping your child to grieve, dealing with emotions and helping your child after the divorce. It also includes links, books and other resources that might be helpful. You can access a pdf version of the pamphlet by clicking the photo above or here. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post Helping Your Child Deal With Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Helping Your Child Deal With Divorce is a tri-fold pamphlet we’ve designed for parents. If you are a divorced or divorcing parent who is looking for information on how to help your child, this pamphlet is for you. It is also designed for those who work with kids who might be asked by a parent how to help their child. The pamphlet covers basic information like how to tell you child, helping your child to grieve, dealing with emotions and helping your child after the divorce. It also includes links, books and other resources that might be helpful. You can access a pdf version of the pamphlet by clicking the photo above or here.

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post Helping Your Child Deal With Divorce appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Linda Ranson Jacobs http://blog.dc4k.org <![CDATA[The Emotional Brain, Part 2 – How to Work With A Child in the Emotional Part of the Brain]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2426 2017-10-20T15:14:37Z 2018-02-07T13:00:52Z Last week, we introduced the limbic system (the emotional part of the brain) and explained how it affects children of divorce. Children in the limbic system or the emotional part of the brain wonder if they are loved. They wonder if anyone cares about them. It is all about emotions. Divorce and the Limbic System of the Brain When I think back to when I went through a divorce, I now realize that I lived in for many weeks in the emotional part of my brain. I couldn’t analyze or get organized, and I was late to every appointment. I even had trouble making eye contact with people because I was afraid the person I was talking to might not like me. And it didn’t end there, over the years, I know I have reverted back to that state on a number of occasions. All that, and I was an adult at the time. Think about the children coming to your church who are experiencing the divorce of their parents! The Issue of Serotonin Production Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that affects our emotional states. Serotonin plays an important role in the limbic system, and divorce can impact the level of serotonin in the brain. Children who suffer abuse or emotional upheaval appear to have a lower production of serotonin. Serotonin could be described as one of the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Adequate levels of serotonin are commonly associated with a number of positive outcomes including: It can keep one from becoming overwhelmed. It can act as calming music. It helps bond us with each other. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to a number of negative outcomes including: Aggression Obsessive-compulsive behaviors Depression Violence Addiction Impulsivity. Dr. Becky Bailey’s (http://www.consciousdiscipline.com, 800-842-2846) from a Conscious Discipline workshop in Wichita, Kansas explains the issue of serotonin in terms of outcomes in our society: “We have a big serotonin problem in our world today. One in 32 adults are incarcerated in the U.S. (impulsivity/aggressive behaviors). One in three adults are depressed. Lower serotonin levels are associated with aggressive behaviors in children. Regarding working with children: ‘If my voice is getting louder, I’m getting aggressive; I have a lowered serotonin.’ Increasing the Levels of Serotonin Higher levels of serotonin will help children of divorce to cope. Ms. Bailey goes explains a number of ways to increase serotonin including: Stretching always lowers stress and raises serotonin. Mastery or mastering a challenge (ever feel good after you have mastered something?) Stretching Breathing from the diaphragm or belly breathing (ever watch a newborn baby breathe while sleeping?) Eating carbohydrates Potatoes (but only while you are eating them) Pizza – serotonin in a circle Fries – serotonin in a stick Making a commitment and carrying through with it Help children set a goal, achieve the goal and then check off when they have accomplished this goal. It’s the checking off the goal that helps them feel better about themselves. Hearing ‘You did it’ gives small bits of serotonin to a child. “Look at you. You walked across the room. You did it.” Or, “You brought your Bible today. You did it.” Children in the limbic part of the brain also do well with choices. To them their world is out of their control. Giving them choices empowers them. (We will look more at the issue of giving choices in a later article.) Other Tips There are a number of additional things you can do to help kids suffering through the divorce of their parents who are living in the emotional part of their brain. They include: Develop some simple rituals, and use them consistently. These rituals could be as simple as a fist bump every time a child enters your room. Give children choices. “Do you want to sit in the red chair or on the white bench?” “Do you want to look up the scripture by yourself or do you want me to help you?” Be close by if they want a hug. Use this or similar language. “You’re telling me to go away, so I will move back a little bit, but I won’t leave you alone with these scary feelings. When you’re ready, I am right here to hug you.” (http://www.stressfreekids.com/9771/kids-temper-tantrums-and-meltdowns) Reassure each child that they are wanted and loved by Jesus. Send a missing child a note to tell them everyone missed them. Remember if they are visiting the other parent every other weekend, you’ll need to be prepared to do this often and do it consistently as the child will begin to rely on that connection with you. Use empathy with these children. “Seems to me that you are sad (mad, disappointed, embarrassed) today. What can I do to help you feel better” Or, “What can I do to help you get involved in our activities” Or, “Get you started?” Don’t tell the child how they are feeling but use words like, “seems to me”. Don’t Give Up! Most importantly, don’t give up on these children. They really do want to belong. For their future well- being, they need to connect and form positive relationships. These are the children who upon hearing the words “Jesus loves you” will not be able to understand them. They will need for you to “be” Jesus to them. It might take longer for some of these children to come around, but the children are worth it. Jesus does love these children, and He didn’t create any child to be thrown away. “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them” (Hosea 11:4). For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on March 02, 2012.

The post The Emotional Brain, Part 2 – How to Work With A Child in the Emotional Part of the Brain appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Emotional Brain Work With A ChildLast week, we introduced the limbic system (the emotional part of the brain) and explained how it affects children of divorce. Children in the limbic system or the emotional part of the brain wonder if they are loved. They wonder if anyone cares about them. It is all about emotions.

Divorce and the Limbic System of the Brain

When I think back to when I went through a divorce, I now realize that I lived in for many weeks in the emotional part of my brain. I couldn’t analyze or get organized, and I was late to every appointment. I even had trouble making eye contact with people because I was afraid the person I was talking to might not like me. And it didn’t end there, over the years, I know I have reverted back to that state on a number of occasions. All that, and I was an adult at the time. Think about the children coming to your church who are experiencing the divorce of their parents!

The Issue of Serotonin Production

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that affects our emotional states. Serotonin plays an important role in the limbic system, and divorce can impact the level of serotonin in the brain. Children who suffer abuse or emotional upheaval appear to have a lower production of serotonin.

Serotonin could be described as one of the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Adequate levels of serotonin are commonly associated with a number of positive outcomes including:

  • It can keep one from becoming overwhelmed.
  • It can act as calming music.
  • It helps bond us with each other.

Low levels of serotonin have been linked to a number of negative outcomes including:

  • Aggression
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors
  • Depression
  • Violence
  • Addiction
  • Impulsivity.

Dr. Becky Bailey’s (http://www.consciousdiscipline.com, 800-842-2846) from a Conscious Discipline workshop in Wichita, Kansas explains the issue of serotonin in terms of outcomes in our society:

“We have a big serotonin problem in our world today.

  • One in 32 adults are incarcerated in the U.S. (impulsivity/aggressive behaviors).
  • One in three adults are depressed.
  • Lower serotonin levels are associated with aggressive behaviors in children.
  • Regarding working with children: ‘If my voice is getting louder, I’m getting aggressive; I have a lowered serotonin.’

Increasing the Levels of Serotonin

Higher levels of serotonin will help children of divorce to cope.

Ms. Bailey goes explains a number of ways to increase serotonin including:

  • Stretching always lowers stress and raises serotonin.
  • Mastery or mastering a challenge (ever feel good after you have mastered something?)
  • Stretching
  • Breathing from the diaphragm or belly breathing (ever watch a newborn baby breathe while sleeping?)
  • Eating carbohydrates
    • Potatoes (but only while you are eating them)
    • Pizza – serotonin in a circle
    • Fries – serotonin in a stick
  • Making a commitment and carrying through with it
  • Help children set a goal, achieve the goal and then check off when they have accomplished this goal. It’s the checking off the goal that helps them feel better about themselves.
  • Hearing ‘You did it’ gives small bits of serotonin to a child. “Look at you. You walked across the room. You did it.” Or, “You brought your Bible today. You did it.”

Children in the limbic part of the brain also do well with choices. To them their world is out of their control. Giving them choices empowers them. (We will look more at the issue of giving choices in a later article.)

Other Tips

There are a number of additional things you can do to help kids suffering through the divorce of their parents who are living in the emotional part of their brain. They include:

  • Develop some simple rituals, and use them consistently. These rituals could be as simple as a fist bump every time a child enters your room.
  • Give children choices. “Do you want to sit in the red chair or on the white bench?” “Do you want to look up the scripture by yourself or do you want me to help you?”
  • Be close by if they want a hug. Use this or similar language. “You’re telling me to go away, so I will move back a little bit, but I won’t leave you alone with these scary feelings. When you’re ready, I am right here to hug you.” (http://www.stressfreekids.com/9771/kids-temper-tantrums-and-meltdowns)
  • Reassure each child that they are wanted and loved by Jesus.
  • Send a missing child a note to tell them everyone missed them. Remember if they are visiting the other parent every other weekend, you’ll need to be prepared to do this often and do it consistently as the child will begin to rely on that connection with you.
  • Use empathy with these children. “Seems to me that you are sad (mad, disappointed, embarrassed) today. What can I do to help you feel better” Or, “What can I do to help you get involved in our activities” Or, “Get you started?” Don’t tell the child how they are feeling but use words like, “seems to me”.

Don’t Give Up!

Most importantly, don’t give up on these children. They really do want to belong. For their future well- being, they need to connect and form positive relationships. These are the children who upon hearing the words “Jesus loves you” will not be able to understand them. They will need for you to “be” Jesus to them. It might take longer for some of these children to come around, but the children are worth it. Jesus does love these children, and He didn’t create any child to be thrown away.

“I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them” (Hosea 11:4).

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on March 02, 2012.

The post The Emotional Brain, Part 2 – How to Work With A Child in the Emotional Part of the Brain appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[Recognizing Signs of Potential Child Abuse and Neglect]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2652 2017-10-20T14:48:45Z 2018-02-05T13:00:49Z Welcome to part 5 of our 10 part series on child abuse and neglect. Today, we will be looking at signs to look for indicating potential abuse or neglect.  RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF POTENTIAL ABUSE AND NEGLECT As those who work with children, and those interested in ministering to at risk kids, it is important that we understand the warning signs of potential abuse and neglect. This section includes some general guidance as well as specific things to look for in both children and their parents for the different types of abuse and neglect. I have gathered this information from the various sources listed at the end of this article. Accordingly, I have not endeavored to cite a source on each individual sign. The single best source I have found, and the starting point for many of the items in these lists, is the publication What is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing Signs and Symptoms from The Child Welfare Information Gateway of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The signs listed in this section may be indicators of abuse and neglect. The existence of one sign or even the prolonged existence of one sign does not necessarily prove the existence of abuse of neglect and may be related to other factors. While we must be on the lookout for potential signs of abuse and neglect, we must also proceed with caution in concluding that abuse or neglect is present based only on these signs. We will talk more later in this article about what to do when you suspect abuse, but it is important to remember that false accusations of abuse or neglect can harm not only the accused by the child you are trying to protect in the first place. In the end, the best way to assess a situation is to have a personal relationship with the child that you have developed beforehand that will allow you to discern what is going on. Of course, this is not always possible. Each section includes potential signs of abuse to look for in the children and to look for in parents. The section of general signs also includes things to look for specifically related to the relationship between the child and the parent. General Signs and Information We will look at signs to look for when it comes to specific types of abuse and neglect later, but the following represent general signs that a child might be suffering maltreatment. Things to look for in children: Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen Lacks adult supervision Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home Things to look for in parents: Shows little concern for the child Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs Things to look for in the relationship between the child and parent: Rarely touch or look at each other Consider their relationship entirely negative State that they do not like each other Physical Abuse Things to look for in children: Burns Bites Bruises Welts Lacerations or Cuts Broken bones Black eyes Hair loss Fading bruises or other marks Seems frightened of parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home Shrinks at the approach of adults Seems always watchful or on alert for something bad to happen Reports injury by a parent or another adult caregiver Injuries appear to have a pattern (as from a foreign object) Uncommon location for injuries (e.g., underarms, neck, back, stomach, thighs) Shies away from touch Flinches at sudden movement Appears afraid to go home Wears inappropriate clothing (e.g., a coat on a warm day) to cover up bruises Recurring injuries with inconsistent, implausible or guarded explanations Hesitation regarding showing certain body parts Acts out aggression on others Fear Withdrawal Depression Has fantasies, artwork or threats of violence Regression Nightmares Insomnia Things to look for in parents: Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child’s injury Describes the child as “evil,” or in some other very negative way Uses harsh physical discipline with the child Has a history of abuse as a child Emotional Abuse Things to look for in children: Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression Is inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example) Is inappropriately infantile (frequently rocking or head-banging, for example) Excessively withdrawn, fearful or anxious about doing something wrong Is delayed in physical or emotional development Has attempted suicide Reports a lack of attachment to the parent Doesn’t seem to be attached to caregiver Dramatic changes in behavior Unusual fears for the child’s age Inability to react with emotion Inability to develop emotional bonds with others Hides eyes Lowered gaze Biting lips or tongue Forcing a smile Fidgeting Annoyance Defensiveness Exaggeration Confusion or denial Feeling of nakedness, defeat, alienation or lack of worth Regression Poor self-esteem Angry acts Withdrawal Insecurity Alcohol or drug abuse Depression Difficulty in relationships Eating disorders Sleep disorders/nightmares Speech disorders Developmental delays Nervous disorders or somatic symptoms Things to look for in parents: Constantly blames, belittles, or berates the child Is unconcerned about the child and refuses to consider offers of help for the child’s problems Overtly rejects the child Sexual Abuse Things to look for in children: Has difficulty walking or sitting Suddenly refuses to participate in physical activities Reports nightmares or bedwetting Experiences a sudden change [...]

The post Recognizing Signs of Potential Child Abuse and Neglect appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Recognizing SignsWelcome to part 5 of our 10 part series on child abuse and neglect. Today, we will be looking at signs to look for indicating potential abuse or neglect. 

RECOGNIZING SIGNS OF POTENTIAL ABUSE AND NEGLECT

As those who work with children, and those interested in ministering to at risk kids, it is important that we understand the warning signs of potential abuse and neglect. This section includes some general guidance as well as specific things to look for in both children and their parents for the different types of abuse and neglect. I have gathered this information from the various sources listed at the end of this article. Accordingly, I have not endeavored to cite a source on each individual sign. The single best source I have found, and the starting point for many of the items in these lists, is the publication What is Child Abuse and Neglect? Recognizing Signs and Symptoms from The Child Welfare Information Gateway of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The signs listed in this section may be indicators of abuse and neglect. The existence of one sign or even the prolonged existence of one sign does not necessarily prove the existence of abuse of neglect and may be related to other factors. While we must be on the lookout for potential signs of abuse and neglect, we must also proceed with caution in concluding that abuse or neglect is present based only on these signs. We will talk more later in this article about what to do when you suspect abuse, but it is important to remember that false accusations of abuse or neglect can harm not only the accused by the child you are trying to protect in the first place. In the end, the best way to assess a situation is to have a personal relationship with the child that you have developed beforehand that will allow you to discern what is going on. Of course, this is not always possible.

Each section includes potential signs of abuse to look for in the children and to look for in parents. The section of general signs also includes things to look for specifically related to the relationship between the child and the parent.

General Signs and Information

We will look at signs to look for when it comes to specific types of abuse and neglect later, but the following represent general signs that a child might be suffering maltreatment.

Things to look for in children:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

Things to look for in parents:

  • Shows little concern for the child
  • Denies the existence of—or blames the child for—the child’s problems in school or at home
  • Asks teachers or other caregivers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

Things to look for in the relationship between the child and parent:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each other

Physical Abuse

Things to look for in children:

  • Burns
  • Bites
  • Bruises
  • Welts
  • Lacerations or Cuts
  • Broken bones
  • Black eyes
  • Hair loss
  • Fading bruises or other marks
  • Seems frightened of parents and protests or cries when it is time to go home
  • Shrinks at the approach of adults
  • Seems always watchful or on alert for something bad to happen
  • Reports injury by a parent or another adult caregiver
  • Injuries appear to have a pattern (as from a foreign object)
  • Uncommon location for injuries (e.g., underarms, neck, back, stomach, thighs)
  • Shies away from touch
  • Flinches at sudden movement
  • Appears afraid to go home
  • Wears inappropriate clothing (e.g., a coat on a warm day) to cover up bruises
  • Recurring injuries with inconsistent, implausible or guarded explanations
  • Hesitation regarding showing certain body parts
  • Acts out aggression on others
  • Fear
  • Withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Has fantasies, artwork or threats of violence
  • Regression
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia

Things to look for in parents:

  • Offers conflicting, unconvincing, or no explanation for the child’s injury
  • Describes the child as “evil,” or in some other very negative way
  • Uses harsh physical discipline with the child
  • Has a history of abuse as a child

Emotional Abuse

Things to look for in children:

  • Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression
  • Is inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example)
  • Is inappropriately infantile (frequently rocking or head-banging, for example)
  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful or anxious about doing something wrong
  • Is delayed in physical or emotional development
  • Has attempted suicide
  • Reports a lack of attachment to the parent
  • Doesn’t seem to be attached to caregiver
  • Dramatic changes in behavior
  • Unusual fears for the child’s age
  • Inability to react with emotion
  • Inability to develop emotional bonds with others
  • Hides eyes
  • Lowered gaze
  • Biting lips or tongue
  • Forcing a smile
  • Fidgeting
  • Annoyance
  • Defensiveness
  • Exaggeration
  • Confusion or denial
  • Feeling of nakedness, defeat, alienation or lack of worth
  • Regression
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Angry acts
  • Withdrawal
  • Insecurity
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Depression
  • Difficulty in relationships
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders/nightmares
  • Speech disorders
  • Developmental delays
  • Nervous disorders or somatic symptoms

Things to look for in parents:

  • Constantly blames, belittles, or berates the child
  • Is unconcerned about the child and refuses to consider offers of help for the child’s problems
  • Overtly rejects the child

Sexual Abuse

Things to look for in children:

  • Has difficulty walking or sitting
  • Suddenly refuses to participate in physical activities
  • Reports nightmares or bedwetting
  • Experiences a sudden change in appetite
  • Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
  • Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14
  • Runs away
  • Reports sexual abuse by a parent or another adult caregiver
  • Makes a strong effort to avoid a specific person without an obvious reason
  • Compulsive masturbation and teaching others to masturbate
  • Excessive curiosity about sex or sexuality
  • Stained, torn or bloody underclothing
  • Frequent, unexplained, sore throats, yeast or urinary tract infections
  • Bed wetting
  • Soiling pants
  • Playing with feces
  • Complaints of pain or itching in genitalia
  • Excessive bathing
  • Withdrawn or aggressive
  • Sexual inference in artwork
  • Overly compulsive behavior
  • Fears and phobias
  • Sleep problems
  • Fire starting
  • Somatic symptoms (e.g., stomach aches, headaches, etc.)

Things to look for in parents:

  • Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact with other children, especially of the opposite sex
  • Is secretive and isolated
  • Is jealous or controlling with family members

Neglect

For purposes of signs of neglect, we have not endeavored to break them down by type of neglect. Recognizing the particular type of neglect is not nearly as important as knowing the signs of neglect themselves.

Things to look for in children:

  • Is frequently absent from school
  • Begs or steals food or money
  • Lacks needed medical or dental care, immunizations, or glasses
  • Is consistently dirty and has severe body odor
  • Lacks sufficient clothing for the weather
  • Is frequently unsupervised, left alone or allowed to play in unsafe conditions
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs
  • States that there is no one at home to provide care
  • Poor hygiene including lice, scabies, severe or untreated diaper rash, bed sores
  • Squinting
  • Untreated injury or illness
  • Lack of immunizations
  • Indicators of prolonged exposure to the elements (sunburn, insect bites, etc.)
  • Height and weight significantly below age level

Things to look for in parents:

  • Appears to be indifferent to the child
  • Seems apathetic or depressed
  • Behaves irrationally or in a bizarre manner
  • Is abusing alcohol or other drugs

A WORD OF WARNING ABOUT SIGNS OF ABUSE AND NEGLECT AS THEY RELATE TO CHILDREN OF DIVORCE

As I was putting this article together and listing the different potential signs of abuse, I noticed some stark similarities between that list and the various reactions you might see from children of divorce. Indeed, many of the “signs” are very similar. Items included in both listings would include the following (and perhaps others):

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home
  • Acts out aggression on others
  • Fear
  • Withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Regression
  • Shows extremes in behavior, such as overly compliant or demanding behavior, extreme passivity, or aggression
  • Is inappropriately adult (parenting other children, for example)
  • Reports a lack of attachment to the parent
  • Dramatic changes in behavior
  • Unusual fears for the child’s age
  • Inability to react with emotion
  • Inability to develop emotional bonds with others
  • Confusion or denial
  • Angry acts
  • Withdrawal
  • Insecurity
  • Difficulty in relationships

While children of divorce are at an increased risk of abuse, we also must be cognizant of the fact that some of the potential signs of abuse may instead be related to the divorce itself. We must be cautious about jumping to conclusions while at the same time be diligent in the protection of children. In short, some discernment is required in ascertaining whether a particular sign could be an indicator of abuse or neglect or is actually just a reaction to their parents’ divorce.

For more resources for learning about, and dealing with child abuse and neglect, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Child Abuse & Neglect Help Center. For more resources for learning about, and dealing with sexual abuse and rape, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Sexual Abuse & Rape Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on October 03, 2011.

The post Recognizing Signs of Potential Child Abuse and Neglect appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[H4HK FAQs: Did I Cause My Parents’ Divorce?]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=3097 2017-10-19T20:07:04Z 2018-02-02T13:00:17Z H4HK FAQs are designed to answer questions kids and teens ask when facing difficult situations and circumstances in their lives. This may seem like a silly question to you.  If it does, that’s great, but there are lots of kids who wonder weather or not they caused their parents’ divorce.  Do you ever wondered if you did something to cause your parents’ divorce?  Do you ever wonder if your parents would still be together if you had behaved better or kept your room cleaner or been nicer to your little sister?  There is a simple answer to those questions, and the question: Did I cause my parents’ divorce? That answer is: NO! Nothing that you did caused your parents to divorce!  And, there is nothing you could have done to keep them from getting divorced in the first place.  Divorce is an adult decision that your parents made based on what they thought would be best.  It is not a decision that is made in a day or a moment.  How you behaved this morning or the fact that you broke Mom’s favorite picture frame have nothing to do with their decision to get a divorce.  Your behavior and your attitude and your decisions have consequences of their own, but they did not influence your parents’ decision to get a divorce.  Chances are your parents were having problems getting along with each other long before they ever told you about the divorce. Sometimes parents do not do a good job of reminding children that the divorce is not their fault.  They may get caught up in their own stuff following a divorce and forget to talk to you about what actually called the divorce.  If you have questions about why your parents are divorced, or getting a divorce, go ahead and ask them.  If they won’t give you any answers, find another trusted adult (like a family friend or someone from church) and talk to them about your concerns.  If you still think that you caused the divorce, make sure you talk to someone about it. Whenever you start to wonder about whether or not you did something to cause the divorce, remember these five words: IT IS NOT MY FAULT! Find answers to other frequently asked questions on our H4HK FAQs Page. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post H4HK FAQs: Did I Cause My Parents’ Divorce? appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Did I Cause My Parents' Divorce

H4HK FAQs are designed to answer questions kids and teens ask when facing difficult situations and circumstances in their lives.

This may seem like a silly question to you.  If it does, that’s great, but there are lots of kids who wonder weather or not they caused their parents’ divorce.  Do you ever wondered if you did something to cause your parents’ divorce?  Do you ever wonder if your parents would still be together if you had behaved better or kept your room cleaner or been nicer to your little sister?  There is a simple answer to those questions, and the question:

Did I cause my parents’ divorce?

That answer is:

NO!

Nothing that you did caused your parents to divorce!  And, there is nothing you could have done to keep them from getting divorced in the first place.  Divorce is an adult decision that your parents made based on what they thought would be best.  It is not a decision that is made in a day or a moment.  How you behaved this morning or the fact that you broke Mom’s favorite picture frame have nothing to do with their decision to get a divorce.  Your behavior and your attitude and your decisions have consequences of their own, but they did not influence your parents’ decision to get a divorce.  Chances are your parents were having problems getting along with each other long before they ever told you about the divorce.

Sometimes parents do not do a good job of reminding children that the divorce is not their fault.  They may get caught up in their own stuff following a divorce and forget to talk to you about what actually called the divorce.  If you have questions about why your parents are divorced, or getting a divorce, go ahead and ask them.  If they won’t give you any answers, find another trusted adult (like a family friend or someone from church) and talk to them about your concerns.  If you still think that you caused the divorce, make sure you talk to someone about it.

Whenever you start to wonder about whether or not you did something to cause the divorce, remember these five words:

IT IS NOT MY FAULT!

Find answers to other frequently asked questions on our H4HK FAQs Page. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

The post H4HK FAQs: Did I Cause My Parents’ Divorce? appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Linda Ranson Jacobs http://blog.dc4k.org <![CDATA[The Emotional Brain, Part 1 – “Do You Love Me?”]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2425 2017-10-20T15:12:38Z 2018-01-31T13:00:52Z Learning about the emotional brain or the limbic part of the brain is an important part of working with the child of divorce. The limbic system is located in the mid part of our brain and serves many functions including: Generating emotions/feelings Directing our emotions Helping to motivate us Directing our drive Arousing our attachment Establishing the ability for us to have attachments and relationships Storing highly charged emotional memories Being territorial Taping events as internally important Controlling appetite and sleep cycles Storing the unconscious part of the brain (everything ever said is stored in this part of the brain) Brain research is showing that nurturing and encouraging environments shape brains for a lifetime of healthy adjustments, to strive and thrive. Our early life wires our brain for connecting and attaching to others. Child abuse, constant stress (like that which comes from living in two homes or generally through the divorce of parents) and discouraging environments may alter brain chemistry and affect a child’s learning ability and scripture memorization. The limbic system or the emotional brain is always asking, “Am I loved?” The limbic system represents an emotional state. Many children of divorce question if their parents still love them. They need reassurance from caring adults. Children from divorced homes retain vivid emotional memories and scenes. Some of the kids coming to your church have emotionally charged memories of parents fighting and arguing. These memories are going to be stored FOREVER in their limbic, but we can also store the Word of God alongside those “charged” memories. That is a biggie! Memories attached to an emotion are remembered. Help give these children an emotionally charged happy memory by bringing in fun along with God’s Word and various church experiences and concepts. I have a wonderful and happy memory of a lady visiting our small country church when I was a child. I remember so clearly the morning she showed up because she could sing prettier than anyone I had ever heard. Everyone turned around to find out where this lovely voice was coming from and where she was sitting. She was so happy and joyful in the Lord. To this day, some fifty odd years later, I can clearly see Miss Lawana, and I can still hear her voice. Happy times create happy memories! Many of these children literally cannot access the upper levels of the brain. (How to help these children access the cortex will be discussed later.) Threatening environments are not conducive to helping children become life-long learners or even to recall scriptures. This can include environments where teachers or leaders tack on threats at the end of instructions and directions. While a simple warning may not be intended as threatening the way it is delivered, to many children it will sound like a threat. The developmental need for the limbic system is connection. Connection gives child impulse control. Impulse control allows cooperation. Connection means harmony, warm support and pleasant feelings. Connection also includes feeling safe. The limbic state only has access to a certain set of skills—what we grew up with, such as name-calling, verbal harassment, etc. All the child can think is “Don’t you love me?” In the past we have used reasoning, rewards and bribery, but none of it has worked long term. That’s because a CD continually plays in the brain what has been said and pumped into the unconscious part of our brain. But we can rewrite the CD. We can help children rewrite the CD. To strengthen this part of the brain, it has to be activated. This is done through connections and adding empathy to the child’s situation. In this part of the brain, “It is all about ME!” For some children who have experienced severe trauma or events that are uncontrollable, such as emotional abuse or violent environments, their brains have been wired to not be successful. These are the children whose attention is difficult to gain. They may fight with others or take a swing at others. In their minds they are protecting themselves. They are territorial and don’t want other kids close or in their way. You will hear them scream things like, “Stop looking at me!” or “You’re in my place.” These children have learned not to be successful. Research shows that children like these need to be in programs and classrooms that offer hope and have an encouraging atmosphere of trust, safety, caring and mutual respect. In other words, these environments can rewire the brain. A program like DivorceCare for Kids (http://www.dc4k.org/) can also help many children of divorce coming to your churches. Many of these children do not do well in large group environments. If your church places these children in large groups, try to find a way to give them a small group environment for part of the time. Some children appear to be resilient when it comes to trauma. This could be from the early brain wiring that took place as infants. These children have experienced stable, warm and nurturing relationships with the adults in their lives. They appear to have high levels of serotonin. They trust their caregivers, their teachers and church workers. They feel safe. They have hope and are encouraged even though they may have a temporary setback. Research shows that support systems bolster resilience. Children who have people to lean on, and those who allow others to lean on them, are able to bounce back faster and cope with trying events. A church family can be one such environment that helps children of divorce become resilient. Come back next week and find out ways to help and what to do when a child is in the limbic part of the brain. For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center. This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on February 24, 2012.

The post The Emotional Brain, Part 1 – “Do You Love Me?” appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Emotional BrainLearning about the emotional brain or the limbic part of the brain is an important part of working with the child of divorce. The limbic system is located in the mid part of our brain and serves many functions including:

  • Generating emotions/feelings
  • Directing our emotions
  • Helping to motivate us
  • Directing our drive
  • Arousing our attachment
  • Establishing the ability for us to have attachments and relationships
  • Storing highly charged emotional memories
  • Being territorial
  • Taping events as internally important
  • Controlling appetite and sleep cycles
  • Storing the unconscious part of the brain (everything ever said is stored in this part of the brain)

Brain research is showing that nurturing and encouraging environments shape brains for a lifetime of healthy adjustments, to strive and thrive. Our early life wires our brain for connecting and attaching to others. Child abuse, constant stress (like that which comes from living in two homes or generally through the divorce of parents) and discouraging environments may alter brain chemistry and affect a child’s learning ability and scripture memorization.

The limbic system or the emotional brain is always asking, “Am I loved?”

The limbic system represents an emotional state. Many children of divorce question if their parents still love them. They need reassurance from caring adults.

Children from divorced homes retain vivid emotional memories and scenes. Some of the kids coming to your church have emotionally charged memories of parents fighting and arguing. These memories are going to be stored FOREVER in their limbic, but we can also store the Word of God alongside those “charged” memories. That is a biggie! Memories attached to an emotion are remembered. Help give these children an emotionally charged happy memory by bringing in fun along with God’s Word and various church experiences and concepts.

I have a wonderful and happy memory of a lady visiting our small country church when I was a child. I remember so clearly the morning she showed up because she could sing prettier than anyone I had ever heard. Everyone turned around to find out where this lovely voice was coming from and where she was sitting. She was so happy and joyful in the Lord. To this day, some fifty odd years later, I can clearly see Miss Lawana, and I can still hear her voice. Happy times create happy memories!

Many of these children literally cannot access the upper levels of the brain. (How to help these children access the cortex will be discussed later.) Threatening environments are not conducive to helping children become life-long learners or even to recall scriptures. This can include environments where teachers or leaders tack on threats at the end of instructions and directions. While a simple warning may not be intended as threatening the way it is delivered, to many children it will sound like a threat.

The developmental need for the limbic system is connection.

Connection gives child impulse control. Impulse control allows cooperation. Connection means harmony, warm support and pleasant feelings. Connection also includes feeling safe.

The limbic state only has access to a certain set of skills—what we grew up with, such as name-calling, verbal harassment, etc. All the child can think is “Don’t you love me?” In the past we have used reasoning, rewards and bribery, but none of it has worked long term. That’s because a CD continually plays in the brain what has been said and pumped into the unconscious part of our brain. But we can rewrite the CD. We can help children rewrite the CD. To strengthen this part of the brain, it has to be activated. This is done through connections and adding empathy to the child’s situation.

In this part of the brain, “It is all about ME!”

For some children who have experienced severe trauma or events that are uncontrollable, such as emotional abuse or violent environments, their brains have been wired to not be successful. These are the children whose attention is difficult to gain. They may fight with others or take a swing at others. In their minds they are protecting themselves. They are territorial and don’t want other kids close or in their way. You will hear them scream things like, “Stop looking at me!” or “You’re in my place.” These children have learned not to be successful.

Research shows that children like these need to be in programs and classrooms that offer hope and have an encouraging atmosphere of trust, safety, caring and mutual respect. In other words, these environments can rewire the brain. A program like DivorceCare for Kids (http://www.dc4k.org/) can also help many children of divorce coming to your churches.

Many of these children do not do well in large group environments. If your church places these children in large groups, try to find a way to give them a small group environment for part of the time.

Some children appear to be resilient when it comes to trauma. This could be from the early brain wiring that took place as infants. These children have experienced stable, warm and nurturing relationships with the adults in their lives. They appear to have high levels of serotonin. They trust their caregivers, their teachers and church workers. They feel safe. They have hope and are encouraged even though they may have a temporary setback. Research shows that support systems bolster resilience. Children who have people to lean on, and those who allow others to lean on them, are able to bounce back faster and cope with trying events. A church family can be one such environment that helps children of divorce become resilient.

Come back next week and find out ways to help and what to do when a child is in the limbic part of the brain.

For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on February 24, 2012.

The post The Emotional Brain, Part 1 – “Do You Love Me?” appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0
Wayne Stocks <![CDATA[Risks of Child Abuse and Neglect Based on Family Structure]]> http://hope4hurtingkids.com/?p=2651 2017-10-20T13:29:15Z 2018-01-29T13:00:50Z Welcome to part 4 of our 10 part series on child abuse and neglect. Today, we will be exploring the increased risks of child abuse and neglect for children of divorce, cohabiting households and single parent families.  One of the portions of the NIS-4 report that struck us was the increased risk of abuse and neglect for children of divorce, children living in cohabiting relationships and children living in single parent families. Throughout this discussion of different charts and statistics below, you will note that one thing is absolutely consistent; the least risk of child maltreatment is for those children living with married biological parents. Let’s have a look. This first chart looks at all instances of harm standard maltreatment as well as specific rates of abuse and neglect by family structure. By far, the largest risk of maltreatment to kids is when they are in a living situation with one parent and that parent’s cohabiting partner with 57.2 children per thousand in this living arrangement suffering maltreatment. That is 8.4 times higher than the rate for children living with married biological parents (6.8 per thousand). Cohabiting married parents and other married parents, such as step families, have the next lowest rates at 23.5 and 24.4 per thousand respectively. Children in single parent families are maltreated at a rate of 28.4 per thousand. The rates for abuse follow a similar pattern with the exception of the fact that kids living in other married parents and cohabiting biological parent homes are more likely to be abused than those living in single parent families. Neglect follows the same pattern as all maltreatment except for the fact that kids in a home with cohabiting biological parents are slightly more likely to be neglected than those from homes classified as “other married parents.” Sticking with the more stringent Harm Standard, let’s have a look at the different types of abuse defined by the report. Again, for all three types of abuse defined in the study (those being physical, sexual and emotional), the lowest rates of abuse per thousand children are for those kids living with married biological parents. In the instance of physical abuse, children living with a single parent are 3.1 times more likely to be abused at a rate of 5.9 per thousand compared to 1.9 per thousand for married biological parents. Children in “Other Married Parent” families are 5.2 times more likely to be physically abused, and those kids living with a single parent and their cohabiting partner are an astounding 10.1 times more likely to be physically abused than children living with married biological parents. Similarly, sexual abuse is much more likely in single parent (4.8 times), other married parents (10 times) and single parent with a cohabiting partner (19.8 times) households than in married biological parent homes. Indeed, “only” 1 child in every 2,000 living with married biological parents is sexually abused while nearly 20 in every 2,000 children living in a home with a single parent with a cohabiting partner is abused. There is no denying that this living demographic greatly increases the risk of sexual abuse (as well as all other forms of abuse). This living arrangement is all too common for children born to single mothers and those whose parents are divorced. The rates for emotional abuse resulting in harm are similar to those for sexual abuse with 0.8 children per 1,000 suffering emotional abuse when living with married biological parents compared to 2.9 per thousand for those in single parents homes, 5.0 per thousand for those living in step families and with “other married parents,” and 8.2 per thousand living with a single parent who has a cohabiting partner. This next chart looks at instances of harm standard neglect. Physical neglect is the only chart in this entire series where children living with a single parent in a cohabiting relationship are not the highest at risk group. For physical neglect, the risk to children living with neither parent is actually higher (albeit not much higher) than the rate for those living with a single parent with a cohabiting partner. For physical, emotional and educational neglect, children living with biological parents were at the lowest risk of neglect with children living with other married parents slightly higher. The rates for single parents without partners were significantly higher and the rate for children with single parents living with a cohabiting partner were, once again, highest amount these groups. This next chart looks at the severity of harm inflicted based on family type. We will ignore “inferred harm” as this is relatively small compared to the other groups. The risk of serious harm from all maltreatment was, once again, highest for children living with a single parent and their cohabiting partner. At 20.8 per thousand, this was 8 times higher than the rate for children living with married biological parents. The rates for step families (other married parents) and single parent families were 9.1 and 11.9 per thousand respectively. The rate patterns for moderate harm were similar at 4.0 per thousand for children living with married biological parents and 33.0 for children living with a single parent and their cohabiting partner. That is an increased risk of 825%. The rates for other married parents and single parent families were 13.6 and 14.8 per thousand children respectively. These next three graphs compare the NIS-4 study (conducted in 2005/2006) to the NIS-3 study conducted during 1993 and reflect the change in instances of each types of maltreatment. Due to changes in the way the study was conducted between NIS-3 and NIS-4 (additional detail was collected in the later study), they were unable to compare each individual type of family. Instead, for purposes of comparison, family types were grouped into either Single Parents (which would include single-parent families and a single parent cohabiting relationship) or Married Parents (which would include both biological married parents and step-families or other married parents). The results are striking. For every category and type of [...]

The post Risks of Child Abuse and Neglect Based on Family Structure appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>

Risks of Child Abuse and NeglectWelcome to part 4 of our 10 part series on child abuse and neglect. Today, we will be exploring the increased risks of child abuse and neglect for children of divorce, cohabiting households and single parent families. 

One of the portions of the NIS-4 report that struck us was the increased risk of abuse and neglect for children of divorce, children living in cohabiting relationships and children living in single parent families. Throughout this discussion of different charts and statistics below, you will note that one thing is absolutely consistent; the least risk of child maltreatment is for those children living with married biological parents. Let’s have a look.

This first chart looks at all instances of harm standard maltreatment as well as specific rates of abuse and neglect by family structure. By far, the largest risk of maltreatment to kids is when they are in a living situation with one parent and that parent’s cohabiting partner with 57.2 children per thousand in this living arrangement suffering maltreatment. That is 8.4 times higher than the rate for children living with married biological parents (6.8 per thousand). Cohabiting married parents and other married parents, such as step families, have the next lowest rates at 23.5 and 24.4 per thousand respectively. Children in single parent families are maltreated at a rate of 28.4 per thousand.

The rates for abuse follow a similar pattern with the exception of the fact that kids living in other married parents and cohabiting biological parent homes are more likely to be abused than those living in single parent families. Neglect follows the same pattern as all maltreatment except for the fact that kids in a home with cohabiting biological parents are slightly more likely to be neglected than those from homes classified as “other married parents.”

Sticking with the more stringent Harm Standard, let’s have a look at the different types of abuse defined by the report. Again, for all three types of abuse defined in the study (those being physical, sexual and emotional), the lowest rates of abuse per thousand children are for those kids living with married biological parents.

In the instance of physical abuse, children living with a single parent are 3.1 times more likely to be abused at a rate of 5.9 per thousand compared to 1.9 per thousand for married biological parents. Children in “Other Married Parent” families are 5.2 times more likely to be physically abused, and those kids living with a single parent and their cohabiting partner are an astounding 10.1 times more likely to be physically abused than children living with married biological parents.

Similarly, sexual abuse is much more likely in single parent (4.8 times), other married parents (10 times) and single parent with a cohabiting partner (19.8 times) households than in married biological parent homes. Indeed, “only” 1 child in every 2,000 living with married biological parents is sexually abused while nearly 20 in every 2,000 children living in a home with a single parent with a cohabiting partner is abused. There is no denying that this living demographic greatly increases the risk of sexual abuse (as well as all other forms of abuse). This living arrangement is all too common for children born to single mothers and those whose parents are divorced.

The rates for emotional abuse resulting in harm are similar to those for sexual abuse with 0.8 children per 1,000 suffering emotional abuse when living with married biological parents compared to 2.9 per thousand for those in single parents homes, 5.0 per thousand for those living in step families and with “other married parents,” and 8.2 per thousand living with a single parent who has a cohabiting partner.

This next chart looks at instances of harm standard neglect. Physical neglect is the only chart in this entire series where children living with a single parent in a cohabiting relationship are not the highest at risk group. For physical neglect, the risk to children living with neither parent is actually higher (albeit not much higher) than the rate for those living with a single parent with a cohabiting partner.

For physical, emotional and educational neglect, children living with biological parents were at the lowest risk of neglect with children living with other married parents slightly higher. The rates for single parents without partners were significantly higher and the rate for children with single parents living with a cohabiting partner were, once again, highest amount these groups.

This next chart looks at the severity of harm inflicted based on family type. We will ignore “inferred harm” as this is relatively small compared to the other groups. The risk of serious harm from all maltreatment was, once again, highest for children living with a single parent and their cohabiting partner. At 20.8 per thousand, this was 8 times higher than the rate for children living with married biological parents. The rates for step families (other married parents) and single parent families were 9.1 and 11.9 per thousand respectively.

The rate patterns for moderate harm were similar at 4.0 per thousand for children living with married biological parents and 33.0 for children living with a single parent and their cohabiting partner. That is an increased risk of 825%. The rates for other married parents and single parent families were 13.6 and 14.8 per thousand children respectively.

These next three graphs compare the NIS-4 study (conducted in 2005/2006) to the NIS-3 study conducted during 1993 and reflect the change in instances of each types of maltreatment. Due to changes in the way the study was conducted between NIS-3 and NIS-4 (additional detail was collected in the later study), they were unable to compare each individual type of family. Instead, for purposes of comparison, family types were grouped into either Single Parents (which would include single-parent families and a single parent cohabiting relationship) or Married Parents (which would include both biological married parents and step-families or other married parents).

The results are striking. For every category and type of abuse and neglect, the study showed a marked increase in maltreatment in single parent families and a marked decrease in married parent families. For example, still using the harm standard, the rate of total maltreatment decreased 39% in married parent families while increasing 30% in single parent families. The rate of abuse increased 22% in single parent families while decreasing 42% in married parent families. And, the rate for neglect increased 36% in single parent families while at the same time decreasing 33% for married parent families. The implications are clear in these results.

When it comes to types of abuse, physical abuse increased “only” 14% in single parent families while decreasing 24% in married parent families. Sexual abuse and emotional abuse increased 49% and 43% in single parent families while decreasing 62% and 48% in married parent families. Physical neglect increased 42% in single parent families and decreased 28% in married parent families while emotional neglect increased 48% in single parent families while decreasing 44% in married parent families. The results are indisputable, abuse and neglect increased significantly during the time period in single parent families while decreasing significantly in married parent families.

Turning from the harm standard of abuse and neglect to the endangerment standard (which does not generally require proof of harm in order for the abuse to be included in the study); we see that the results are similar in many respects. Under this standard, 15.8 children per thousand living with married biological parents were subjected to maltreatment while over 8.6 times that many were abused in single parent homes where the single parent was cohabiting. An astounding 136.1 children per 1,000 living in “Parent with Cohabiting Partner” households suffered maltreatment that met the endangerment standard. The rates were also high for other categories like other married parents at 51.5 children per 1,000 and single parent families at 66.3 per one thousand children. Numbers for abuse and neglect showed similar patterns with the neglect figures generally being about double or more those of abuse in most categories.

In terms of abuse, we see similar patterns. For instances of physical abuse, the rate per 1,000 children with married biological parents was 2.5 while the rate for single parents was 9.0, the rate for other married parents was 15.4, and the rate for single parents with a cohabiting partner was a whopping 26.2. Sexual abuse was also significantly higher in the parent with cohabiting partner category at 12.1 per 1,000 compared to 0.7 per thousand for kids living with married biological parents. Rates for single parents and other married parents were 3.4 and 5.5 respectively. Emotional abuse was also much higher in unrelated cohabiting households at 15.0 per thousand, 8.3 times higher than the 1.8 per thousand rate for children living with married biological parents. The rate for single parent homes was 5.9 per thousand, and the rate for other married parents was 8.6.

Rates for neglect were similar. Rates for children in households with married biological parents were 6.5, 6.7 and 1.9 per thousand for physical, emotional and educational neglect respectively. The lowest family type category for each type. Single parent cohabiting households were consistently highest at 47.4, 68.2 and 11.9 per thousand for physical, emotional and educational neglect. Unlike abuse, the rates for neglect in other married families were lower than single parent families. Rates for single parent families were 29.4, 24.5 and 10.0 per thousand, while rates for other married parents were 15.1, 21.6 and 3.6 respectively.

These results, taken together with the abuse rates show us a significantly increased rate of maltreatment when an unrelated party is introduced into the family either through marriage (step families) or cohabitation. Rates for single parent families are higher than step-families for abuse but lower for neglect.

Our final chart looks at the severity of harm by family type for all maltreatment classified under the endangerment standard. Serious harm results are similar to those under the harm standard with children in single parent cohabiting household having the highest rate by far at 21.5 children per 1,000. For moderate harm, the rate for children in these households was 49.3 per 1,000 compared to 6.0 per 1,000 for children living with married biological parents, 16.0 for children living with other married parents and 22.4 for children living with single parents. Those children deemed endangered under this standard were 55.0 per 1,000 for children in single parent cohabiting households compared to 6.1 per 1,000 for children living with married biological parents. The rates were 19.6 per thousand for other married parents and 26.3 per 1,000 for single parents.

These graphs, and the study taken as a whole, demonstrate that the rate of neglect and abuse (regardless of the standard used for classification) is highest in homes with a single parent who is cohabiting. Single parent homes and other married parents (including step families) differ in their respective levels depending on the type of abuse and the standard used, but both are always significantly higher than the rates for children living in households comprised of married biological parents. The results are undeniable; children of divorce, children in single parent families and children living in cohabiting homes are at a much greater risk of abuse and neglect.

For more resources for learning about, and dealing with child abuse and neglect, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Child Abuse & Neglect Help Center. For more resources for learning about, and dealing with sexual abuse and rape, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Sexual Abuse & Rape Help Center.

This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on September 28, 2011.

The post Risks of Child Abuse and Neglect Based on Family Structure appeared first on Hope 4 Hurting Kids.

]]>
0