Parents teach children from an early age to listen to adults, to obey mom and dad, listen to the teacher, and respect the clergy, police, and other grown-ups, especially those adults who represent authority figures. Parents teach children to “respect your elders.” By teaching children to respect authority and elders, unequivocally, and without question, is in reality setting up a child for exploitation.
Children should learn to question what does not feel right in the environment around them. One of the most important things a child can learn is to listen to him or herself. It is imperative a child recognizes when he or she is feeling frightened or uncomfortable around someone. Teach a child to listen to his or her internal warning bells as they begin to signal danger is near.
Does the child suddenly feel like all the hairs on the back of his or her neck are standing up? Is the child’s stomach turning and fluttering like butterflies? Do the child’s hands feel sweaty and cold? Is the child’s heart racing or pounding? Has his or her mouth gone dry suddenly? All of these maybe warning signs that something is causing the child to feel uncomfortable or fearful.
Tell children to what extreme he or she should “obey” or “listen” to an adult authority figure like a doctor, teacher, scout leader, minister, or police officer. Explain that unless a parent is present no adult should ever ask the child to remove his or her clothes for any reason. Children have the right to have their parent present if he or she is feels uncomfortable about a situation. Tell a child any legitimate adult would not prevent a parent from being present or ask them to take off their clothes or touch or be touched in any private part of their body.
On the news this week New York Police Officer Trent Young, who runs the Iron Tiger Marital Arts School out of his home abused his power of authority when he had a 15 year old girl strip, claiming it was a “rite of passage” and that she had to “prove her obedience” to him by doing what he said. After she removed her clothes, he raped her, and continually abused her sexually from 2005, an estimated 20-40 times in various locations. The officer attempted this “rite of passage” on one other 15-year-old girl but she refused to take off her clothes.
Adults expect children to follow the directions of adults, simply “because I said so.” Early on, a parent will admonish a child who tells him or her “No!” with “Don’t you tell me no young man I am your mother” or “I am your father!” What a great disservice a parent does a child to teach them to do something simply because I am an adult and you are a child. Teach children to say “No!” to adults, to question what he or she is being asked to do and to tell a parent or adult when the warning bells begin ringing loud and clear telling him or her that danger is near! Children can learn to show respect to adults who deserve respect and to kick the buttocks of those adults who try to hurt them! Our job, as a parent, is to empower our children with knowledge, and teach them how to stay safe in the New Year ahead!
The year 2007 is now gone and 2008 cannot seem to wait to arrive I pray that all of our children stay safe and that children still missing come home and are back with their families soon. My prayer for each one of you is angels above you, angels below you, and angels all around each one of you to keep you safe in the days ahead.