POSTPONED – Ask an Expert Clinical Series – Parenting Conversation

Ask an Expert – Parenting + Sexualized Behaviour Conversations With Our Clinical Expert

Join us for an informal 60 minute virtual session with our Child Therapist. Learn information related to parenting and supporting children and youth who display concerning sexualized behaviours.

Or maybe you want to join us to discuss a situation or behaviour your child is engaging in and get some advice on what is developmentally appropriate, how to support and respond.

Our expert will give a short overview of the Sexualized Behaviour Support Program (SBSP) and share about frequent concerns and conversations. This will leave plenty of time for participants to join in a discussion and to both privately and publicly ask questions.

Dates:

POSTPONED – October 26 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. via Zoom

New date: November 9th from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. via Zoom

 

Register via Eventbrite here for the Nov. 9 session

Ask an Expert Clinical Series – Sexualized Behaviour FAQs

Ask an Expert – Sexualized Behaviour FAQs and conversation with our clinical expert

Join one of our child therapists for a virtual conversation about sexualized behaviour. Bring your questions and concerns or come to just to hear more.

Curious about the sexualized behaviour your child/youth may be displaying? CASASC offers a specialized counselling program that helps children and youth up to age 18 who are presenting with individual sexual behaviour problems or concerns.

In this session, our child therapist will give a short 15 minute overview of the sexualized behaviour program, frequent concerns and conversations. We will then leave 45 minutes of time for participants to ask questions and join in discussion with our clinical expert.

Date:

August 23 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. via Zoom

Register via Eventbrite here

iRespect Myself, iNourish My Body – Recipe 2

 

The second recipe in our weekly self-care, iRespect Myself, iNourish My Body recipe series is brought to you by Ressie, CASASC’s resident iRespect unicorn. Ressie shares with us a great kids recipe for delicious quesadillas (what kid doesn’t love quesadillas?!).

Taking time to slow down and cook with our loved ones is another way to practice self-care, but also, a great way to spend time with one another and promote feelings of love and togetherness.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your adult helper and let’s get cooking.

 

This post is part of CASASC’s Respect Month – a month-long awareness campaign that acknowledges Sexual Violence Awareness Month through the concept of respect.

iRespect Myself, iNourish My Body – Recipe 1

The first recipe in our weekly self-care: iRespect Myself, iNourish My Body recipe series is a super easy, “pack now, eat later” Greek chicken bowl that is perfect for those busy weekday lunch ideas.

A great balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats; this Greek Chicken Bowl has everything you need to give your body back everything it requires to help you power through to the end of your workday.

Let’s all take a little bit of time this month to slow down, practice self-love and gratitude, and give back to our bodies.

 

This post is part of CASASC’s Respect Month – a month-long awareness campaign that acknowledges Sexual Violence Awareness Month through the concept of respect.

Five tips to keep your children safe online

The following has some tips for your child’s online safety.

Protect Kids Online is an informative, one-stop website that provides free cyber-safety, education and strategies to parents of kids, teens and preteens. This website offers information about the ever-changing online interests of young people and the potential risks they face. This website effectively categorizes information by content and age.

If you suspect your child could be a victim of luring, sextortion or grooming, you should immediately report your concern to the RCMP and to Cybertip – Canada’s national tip line for reporting child sexual abuse and exploitation on the Internet.

Although located in the United States, The Child Rescue Coalition is an excellent resource that highlights the challenges of keeping children safe on the internet and other digital technologies. This organization provides current and timely information on their Instagram blog posts.

The following are five tips to help keep children and teens safe online:

1)Communicate with your children regularly:

Open, frequent and ongoing communication with your child is essential and should be a top priority regardless of how busy you are. Open communication ensures your children will trust you enough to tell you what’s going in their world.

2) Screen caregivers thoroughly:

Make sure you know who is taking care of your children.

3)Talk about body parts accurately:

This may be uncomfortable, but it is one of the most important tips. When children know the proper names of their body parts, they can properly express to you what has happened to them and you will be clear on what they are talking about. This should be done as soon as children are old enough to understand (i.e. by pre-school age).

4)Encourage boundaries:

Teach your children that their bodies belong to them and it’s okay for them to have boundaries and have their voices heard. If, for example, they do not want to hug or kiss someone, they do not have to.

5)Teach the difference between safe and unsafe secrets and touches:

This is so important that we named our program No Secrets. Ensure children know the difference between a safe secret (like keeping a birthday celebration a secret) and an unsafe secret (like the bus driver asking you to stay behind to go to the candy store and to not telling your parents)and a safe touch (like a touch that make you feel happy, loved and proud. This could be a high five) and an unsafe touch (i.e. a touch that makes you feel uncomfortable, upset and/or disgusting. This could be someone touching a part of your body you ae not comfortable with). Reinforce these regularly with different examples, so your children are able to determine what is safe or unsafe.

If you follow these tips and have regular conversations with your children about body safety and how their body belongs only to them, the risk of sexual abuse is greatly reduced.

Develop your child’s media literacy skills – Internet + Media Mini-edu Session

Today’s lesson, and the final for the Internet + Media series, focuses on media literacy.

Media literacy means being able to see, review and think about the media a person is watching or reading – to understand what the message of the media is. Media is everywhere: TV shows, advertisements, movies, music, video games, magazines and newspapers. Having strong media literacy skills as a child helps to develop the ability to think about what the main message a piece of media is and how the message relates to the child’s world and values.

Consider the following tips to help your child develop media literacy skills:

1)Watch with them

Have a family movie night or tune in with your kids for their Saturday morning cartoons. By watching together, you can see exactly what messages your child is seeing. You can ask questions about what they think they are seeing and how they believe it fits with your family’s values.

2)Let them be the DJ

Let your child pick the radio station or what songs play in the car ride to school. Not only will it give you more of an idea of what kind of music they like, but you can ask questions about what they are listening to. Ask them what the lyrics mean and what the singer is expressing in their song. What does your child like about the song?

3)Encourage them to create their own media

When children are given a chance to create media, they can think more about what goes into the message they are trying to send out. You can guide them to make a magazine, film a short video or create a family TikTok video.

4)Have a conversation about representation

An important skill in media literacy is recognizing who is and who is not represented in a piece of media and how people are portrayed. By asking these questions to your child and having a conversation about representation, it allows for honest conversations about values, diversity and inclusion.

Developing media literacy skills can help strengthen a child’s sense of identity and belonging and have a greater respect for others.

For more information about media literacy, visit mediasmarts.ca for more parent tips about media literacy.

 

 

Prevent cyberbullying through respect – Internet + Media Mini-edu Session

Cyberbullying is a disrespectful act that does not consider another person’s feelings of safety and belonging. Cyberbullying can involve spreading rumors online, posting embarrassing photos and videos without consent, calling people names and creating separate accounts to bully someone. Cyberbullying can happen between people of the same gender, age or popularity. It can happen to anyone at any time.

Prevent Cyberbullying:

When trying to prevent cyberbullying from happening in your home or in your classroom, it is important to consider the following:

1)Teach respect
When respect is the norm for interacting with others online, cyberbullying is less likely to happen or to be tolerated. When children are taught to think before they post, share or comment on something online, harmful words or actions are less likely to happen. Students whose parents set up boundaries and instill values of being respectful online were more than thirty three percent less likely to be rude or mean to others online (1).

2)Teach what is and is not a joke
Bullying, along with cyberbullying, sometimes involves trying to play off harsh words or actions as “it’s a joke.” Joking and teasing can strengthen the relationship between two people (i.e., classmates and friends) and can create positive relationships and humour (2), however, teasing can quickly become bullying. If the other friend or peer is not getting the joke, or says they want the joking to stop, it is important for others to listen and respect their wishes and boundaries.

Help your youth respond to cyberbullying

If your youth comes to you to say they are experiencing cyberbullying or online harassment, it is important to consider the following:

1)Respond Appropriately
Try not to over or underreact to a youth being cyberbullied. Overreacting can harm a youth socially and does not teach them appropriate ways to deal with cyberbullying. Underreacting can lead to the child not feeling supported and could lead to more bullying. Even though cyberbullying happens online, it has real effects on an individual’s emotional, social, academic and physical well-being.

2)Teach to not Fight Back and instead Gather Evidence, Report, Delete or Block. 

When your child is dealing with cyberbullying from strangers or peers, it is important as the adult or parent to follow the steps listed:

  • Encourage your child to not fight back against any harassment or bullying. Not fighting back will make the bullying more likely to stop.
  • When gathering evidence, it is important to record any identifying information (names, usernames, location, contact information, time, date, bullying behaviour, etc.).
  • Next, report the harassment or bullying to the social media or website’s help centre, to the school, or to the police as needed.
  • Finally, delete or block the person as needed (especially if they are a stranger online). Your child or the website’s help centre can show you the steps to do this.

Everyone deserves respect both online and offline. As children explore online for creative, social, and learning reasons, it is important to be aware that cyberbullying can happen, but it can be prevented and dealt with.

For any further questions about cyberbullying, or internet safety, please reach out to the CASASC Edu Team at education@casasc.ca or check out more tips at MediaSmarts.ca.

 

 

 

[1] https://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/guides/ywca-guide-for-trusted-adults.pdf

[2] Lee, A. M. (2020, October 22). The Difference Between Teasing and Bullying. Retrieved January 19, 2021, from https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/common-challenges/bullying/difference-between-teasing-and-bullying

Develop confidence with your youth online – Internet + Media Mini-edu Session

The CASASC education team would like to share some mini-edu lessons about Internet safety and media literacy over the coming weeks for parents and their children.

Respect is very important to our organization and learning how to be respectful in the digital world will help youth become more empowered and informed citizens. They will be better able to problem solve and safely explore what is going on online. Below is a question a parent asked us during our last Social Media Takeover.

Parent Question: How do I set rules or expectations for my youth’s Internet usage? How can I monitor what they are doing online to make sure it is appropriate?

CASASC Response:

Wow, what great questions.

Parents naturally want to be aware of what their children are interested in and what they are viewing online. Research suggests that youth do want their parents to help set expectations and guide them to know what right or wrong behaviour is. Students whose parents set up boundaries and instill values of being respectful online were more than thirty three percent less likely to be rude or mean to others online (1)

The Canadian website MediaSmarts has many resources to help parents and youth develop more confidence regarding internet usage. MediaSmarts suggests the following tips to help develop rules and expectations around Internet use:

  1. Be judgement free and have open communication

When your child knows they can talk to you about anything without judgement, they are more likely to come to you when they have a problem online. Sixty six percent of youth who came to their parent with an online issue felt better afterwards (1)

  1. Explain the reasoning behind a rule or expectation

When youth know why you are setting an expectation or rule, they feel better about following them. For example, you may say no devices in the bedroom at night, or no being online after 10 pm, because research shows youth need sleep in order to physically grow and be mentally, emotionally and academically well (2)

  1. Make Respect, or the Golden Rule, the highest expectation

When respect — treating others how you wish to be treated — is the highest expectation while being online, youth are more likely to think about what they post or say online and share what they expect of others online. This creates a safer online environment for them.

When it comes to knowing what your children are doing online, the best way to find out is to ask them. Have them show and explain the social media and websites they are using. Set aside a time to look online together. This will not only let you see what your child is doing online, but it will also help you feel more connected to your child and increase quality family time together.

 

  1. https://mediasmarts.ca/sites/default/files/guides/ywca-guide-for-trusted-adults.pdf
  2. https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/behavior-and-development/screen-time-and-digital-media

How to deal with bullies Pt. 1 – Topics For Parents Mini-edu Session

There are many different types of bullying that can be experienced by children and adults alike. Some are obvious to spot while others can be more subtle. The different types of bullying that we look at below are some of the ways that bullying could be happening:

Physical bullying:

Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching and pushing or damaging property. Physical bullying causes both short-term and long-term damage.

Verbal bullying:

Verbal bulling includes name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse. While verbal bullying can start off harmless, it can escalate to levels which start affecting the individual target.

Social bullying:

Social bullying, sometimes referred to as covert bullying, is often harder to recognize and can be carried out behind the bullied person’s back. It is designed to harm someone’s social reputation and/or cause humiliation.

Social bullying can include:

  • Lying and spreading rumours
  • Negative facial or physical gestures, menacing or contemptuous looks
  • Playing nasty jokes to embarrass and humiliate
  • Mimicking unkindly
  • Encouraging others to socially exclude someone
  • Damaging someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.

Cyber-bulling:

The Cyber Bullying Research Centre defines cyber bullying as: the intentional and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, phones, and other electronic devices.

Cyber bullying can be overt or covert bullying behaviours using digital technologies including hardware such as computers and smartphones, and software such as social media, instant messaging, texts, websites and other online platforms.

Cyber bullying can happen at any time. It can be in public or in private and sometimes only known to the target and the person bullying.

Cyber bullying can include:

  • Abusive or hurtful texts, emails or posts, images or videos
  • Deliberately excluding others online
  • Nasty gossip or rumours
  • Imitating others online or using their log-in.

Bullying Is Meant to Hurt

Verbal bullying is different from teasing. It’s not done to make friends, or to relate to someone. Just the opposite: The goal is to embarrass the victim and make the bully look better and stronger.

The tricky thing is that bullying may start out as teasing. But when it’s done over and over and is meant to be hurtful or threatening, it becomes bullying.

Verbal bullying includes calling a victim names, taunting and sexual harassment. It can happen in person, through texting, and online through social media and email.

Bullying also involves an imbalance of power. Bullying victims usually don’t provoke it. Rather, kids may not be able to defend themselves because of their physical size, or because of their social position in school or in a group. And if a victim gets upset, bullies typically don’t stop. The bullying may even get worse.

Unlike kids who are being bullied, kids who are being teased can influence whether it continues or ends. If they get upset, the teaser usually stops.

Sometimes, kids who are trying to tease end up bullying. For example, a child may say something mean-spirited to another, thinking it’s playful. This can lead to an argument. Or a child may react angrily to a comment that’s friendly, which may cause other kids to keep their distance.

To address these struggles, it’s important to teach kids about the rules of conversation. Help kids sort out when teasing is okay and when it becomes hurtful or borders on bullying. One way to do this is by role-playing with them. This lets kids practice a situation where they get teased, don’t like it, and need to respond.

Questions to Ask Kids About Teasing:

Maybe you’ve heard that kids are teasing your child or your student at school. You can ask a few questions to see whether it’s good-natured or harmful:

  • Are the kids who tease you your friends?
  • Do you like when they tease you?
  • Do you tease them back?
  • If you told them to stop teasing, would they?
  • If you told them that they hurt your feelings, what would they say sorry?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no” or “I don’t know,” then it may be a case of negative teasing or even bullying. It’s important to find out more.

References:

ncab.org.au

understood.org

Signs that a child may have been sexually abused – Topics For Parents Mini-edu Session

Every nine minutes, the American government authorities respond to another report of child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse can include sexual contact with a child, but it may also include other actions, like exposing oneself, sharing obscene images, or taking inappropriate photos or videos of a child.

These crimes can have a serious impact on the life and development of a child, and often continue to impact them later in life. Learning the warning signs of child sexual abuse is often the first step to protecting a child who is in danger.

Signs that a child may have been sexually abused:

It’s not always easy to spot sexual abuse because perpetrators often take steps to hide their actions. Some signs are easier to spot than others. For instance, some warning signs might be noticed by a caretaker or parent and are often red flags that the child needs medical attention.

Listen to your instincts. If you notice something that isn’t right or someone in a child’s life is making you uncomfortable — even if you can’t put your finger on why — it’s important to trust your gut, continue to watch for signs of abuse, and talk to the child who may be experiencing abuse in age-appropriate ways.

Warning signs:

Physical signs:

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Signs of trauma to the genital area, such as unexplained bleeding, bruising, or blood on the sheets, underwear, or other clothing

Behavioral signs:

  • Excessive talk about or knowledge of sexual topics
  • Keeping secrets, not talking as much as usual
  • Not wanting to be left alone with certain people or being afraid to be away from primary caregivers, especially if this is a new behavior
  • Regressive behaviors or resuming behaviors they had grown out of, such as thumb sucking or bedwetting
  • Overly compliant behavior
  • Sexual behavior that is inappropriate for the child’s age
  • Spending an unusual amount of time alone
  • Trying to avoid removing clothing to change or bathe

Emotional signs:

  • Change in eating habits
  • Change in mood or personality, such as increased aggression
  • Decrease in confidence or self-image
  • Excessive worry or fearfulness
  • Increase in unexplained health problems such as stomach aches and headaches
  • Loss or decrease in interest in school, activities, and friends
  • Nightmares or fear of being alone at night
  • Self-harming behaviors

This list may seem overwhelming to keep in mind when looking out for a child in your life, and some signs seem to contradict each other, such as being overly compliant or oppositional, or showing regressive behaviors or advanced sexual behaviors.

The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for signs of child sexual abuse is to keep an eye on sudden changes in behavior. Trust your gut and don’t ignore your feelings if something seems off. If a child tells you that someone makes them uncomfortable, even if they can’t tell you anything specific, listen.

Signs that an adult may be hurting a child

Keeping children safe can be challenging because many perpetrators who sexually abuse children are in positions of trust—93 percent of child sexual assault victims know the perpetrator. This includes family members, members of faith communities, coaches, teachers, and other helping professionals.

Be cautious of an adult who spend time with children and exhibits the following behaviors:

  • Does not respect boundaries or listen when someone tells them “no”
  • Engages in touching that a child or child’s parents/guardians have indicated is unwanted
  • Tries to be a child’s friend rather than filling an adult role in the child’s life
  • Does not seem to have age-appropriate relationships
  • Talks with children about their personal problems or relationships
  • Spends time alone with children outside of their role in the child’s life or makes up excuses to be alone with the child
  • Expresses unusual interest in child’s sexual development, such as commenting on sexual characteristics or sexualizing normal behaviors
  • Gives a child gifts without occasion or reason
  • Spends a lot of time with your child or another child you know
  • Restricts a child’s access to other adults

Taking action isn’t easy, but it’s important

It’s not always easy to identify child sexual abuse — and it can be even more challenging to step in if you suspect something isn’t right. Keeping a child away from the perpetrator may mean major changes in your own life, even if you are outside of the child’s family.

If something seems off, pay attention to that feeling and look into it further. If a child tells you that someone makes them uncomfortable, even if they can’t tell you anything specific, listen. Reach out to local sexual assault services providers.

Even if you were not sure but you have a feeling that there is something wrong going on you can always call child and family services and ask them or report anonymously.

 This information was collected from and is attributed to RAINN.ORG