Child abuse is a fact in our society and matter of great concern for most parents throughout our country. The Boy Scouts of America shares in this concern.
One of the best strategies for child abuse prevention is for parents to have an ongoing communication with their children. Often this is difficult, especially for working parents and parents with adolescents. But it is worthwhile to talk to your children every day and take time to observe. Encourage your children to share their concerns and problems with you. BY doing this you are not an inquisitor, but a concerned parent.
The most obvious abuses in which we are able to detect in children are physical and sexual abuse.
Indicators To Be Watchful For Are
Bruises - Usually bruises are seen on the back, bock of legs, buttocks, eyes, cheeks or back of ears. Also there are bruises located to the back of the forearms sustained while children attempt to block the blows.
Extreme behavior changes - For example, an outgoing child becomes sullen or introverted. A well behaved child becomes aggressive.
Suicide threats or attempts - Very young children can become depressed and attempt suicide, and not just teen-agers. Do not treat suicide threats or attempts lightly.
Sexual Behaviors - Sexually abused children have problems with regressing developmentally achieved tasks. (Example: reverting to bedwetting) They also participate in excessive masturbation and exploratory sexual activity with other children.
Do not blame yourself. Sexual abuse is a fact in our society. Many individuals who molest children find work through employment and community activities which gives them access to children. The vast majority of abuse cases occur in situations where the child knows and trusts the adult. So do your homework well, but remember a community and national consciousness is needed before we can stop sexual molestation in our society.
All registered leaders are required to see a film related to child abuse, which is provided by the Boys Scouts of America. When you suspect a child has been abused or a child has told you they have been abused, you need to direct your call to Mr. Kent Caraway, Scouting Executive of Indian Nations Council. His phone number is 743-6125. The Scout office will in turn notify the Protective Services in your area. If you feel the child may be in immediate danger then you should contact the law enforcement at 911 or your local police department.
For More Information:
"Child Abuse" Let's talk about it - A statement by the Boy Scouts of America.
How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse
National Child Abuse Hotline, Child Help USA toll free 24 hour hotline 1-800-422-4453.
Ethics In Action
Ethics in Action is an activities program for Cub Scouts designed to reinforce the character-building goals that have always been part of the Scout program. These activities encourage Cub Scouts and their leaders to "think a little deeper" about values and about some of the decisions and consequences of decisions that are a normal part of growing up. The activities also try to enhance boys' respect and concern for others by having them see things from different points of view. But above all, Ethics in Action activities are FUN. They are part of the 'game with a purpose' that is Scouting.
Today's Cub Scouts are growing up in a very complicated world. They are faced with conflicting messages that are often hard to sort out. Some influences peer pressure, for example , may provide boys with the positive support they need to help them do the right thing. Or peer pressure may work the other way and urge boys to act in ways that sharply contradict the positive values that their parents are trying to encourage.
This program was created to answer parents' requests for help. Ethics in Action activities enhance character formation; that is, the development and reinforcement of the worthwhile qualities that are part of the Cub Scout Promise and Law of the Pack.
Each Ethics in Action activity is introduced in an easy-to-follow format so that leaders may fit them into the regular den schedule. Many of the activities require little preparation, and all can be managed by first-time as well as experienced leaders. Councils will provide leader training to introduce and explain the new materials. Various activities will be discussed in greater detail at roundtables throughout the year.
The Ethics In Action Program
There are 14 activity modules in the Ethics in Action program. Each is built around a single theme. The themes are:
BE A FRIEND. Promotes discussion of what friendship means, and how friends act toward each other.
BE AWARE AND CARE-1. Discusses physical handicaps with an emphasis on blindness.
BE AWARE AND CARE-2. Discusses other physical handicaps, suggests ways to prepare for getting to know elderly people.
CARING AND SHARING. A mock court scenario is used to deal with the issues of taking care of one's own things and showing respect for the property of others.
CONSUMER ALERT. Helps boys analyze commercial messages on television and in printed advertisement.
DIFFERENCES. Explores attitudes towards differences in people.
FIRE! FIRE!. Explores the responsible use of fire and deals with the kinds of decisions regarding fire that Cub Scouts and Webelos are likely to face.
HARD LESSONS. Show boys what it is like to have learning disabilities and underscores the need for understanding problems faced by children and adults with learning disabilities.
KINDNESS COUNTS. Stresses responsibility to animals, both at home and in the wild.
PEACE IS... Discusses ways to introduce the positive aspects of peace and suggests ways boys can contribute to worldwide understanding and peace.
SAYING HELLO. SAYING GOODBYE. Provides ways to help boys who are joining or leaving the group.
SAYING NO! Helps reinforce information that boys already know about personal safely, drug use, etc., through production of a public service announcement.
SHOPLIFTING IS JUST PLAIN WRONG. This activity involves a field trip to see a store security system and provides information that boys should know about the consequences of shoplifting.
WHAT WE SAY. Deals with name-calling and tale-bearing that, though typical behavior for boys of this age, can be disruptive and painful.
WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN. provides help for leaders in discussing special problems of an individual Scout of the group.
The above information was taken from BSA Publication No. 3015 and is available at your local Scout Service Center.