As a parent or caregiver you want the best for your child. But do you sometimes get angry, upset or yell, sometimes feeling a loss of control towards your child or teen? If so, such behaviors could be the result of things that have happened in your childhood or past that causes you become more reactive rather than responding to your child. Such reactive behaviors can however have severe consequences affecting your child's brain development and behavior that can put them at severe risk of acting out behaviors.
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Video Produced by JC Schroder with Star Com Productions
A recent video by Tiffany Alvord provides an excellent example of how a caregiver can unintentionally push a teen towards a premature relationship to get away from problems in the home. However it is unfortunate that these relationships are far from having a fairy tale ending as these often result in further re-victimization, unintended pregnancy, intimate partner violence (IPV) and dropping out of school.

WHAT IS THE RISK? When a teen is exposed to problems in the home or even an "over controlling parent", this affects the way their brain develops and can often lead to unintended consequences. Such as an inability to express how they feel, exhibiting poor academic performance or becoming over critical in obtaining all A's, having low self-esteem, poor social skills, risk of drug and alcohol abuse, even suicidal behavior, criminal activity. For a girl, she is even more at risk of re-victimization from being drawn to a premature intimate relationship that makes her feel important, loved, respected, cared for but instead often leads to early sexual activity, unintended pregnancy, dropping out of school and intimate partner violence. 

DO YOU GET ANGRY, UPSET EASILY? As an adult caregiver, whether biological or not, if you feel you easily become angry, yell or even feel like becoming threatening among those you care for, remember it is highly likely that your daughter will be more easily drawn to someone who is loving and caring, but because they have had boundaries and emotional violations, they are at a greater risk of becoming the victim of abuse in a premature relationship. But the good news is that, for the love of your child you care for, to show them how much you care and love them, you can talk with someone and get assistance so you can provide the best for your child. Remember the behaviors that you model to your child, they learn from you. While how you have become is not your fault, based upon your past, you can make changes to help your child.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? While this video was not likely intended for this purpose, Tiffany Alvord in her song "Never Been Better" is a beautiful song and video that offers an example of how teen girls can be easily drawn to premature relationships when there are problems in the home. Call to talk with someone today at 800-799-7233.  You can also guidelines in The Parent's Pyramid, along with additional information  to help you provide the best for your child.
 
 
A perpetrator, someone who perpetrates wrongdoing, violates trust, communication and boundaries. A perpetrator of relationship violence or child abuse is more often someone close to the victim and often those in a power of authority. Perpetrators can include fathers, mothers, both males or females, siblings, teachers, principals, police officers, coaches, priests, etc. It can also include those who carry not only authority, but those who help and are kind to others, those who go to church, a good father, a good mother, a community volunteer, etc.  Movies and media, often characterize perpetrators as "bad" people (and while it is true that what perpetrators do is bad), this unfortunately gives a false sense of reality and makes it easier for both children and adults to become victimized. For example, a child who has trust in a father, but the father uses his position to groom and violate the child. It is common that victims have their boundaries and trust violated. This carries a lifetime of risk of being re-victimized. 
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When a victim needs help, if the perpetrator finds out, makes them feel even more at risk of being left alone making them even more angry. The video below demonstrates this, how finding a way to get help can mean life or death.

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A perpetrator however while they have been violated and exposed to abuse and neglect or family dysfunction earlier in their life, they are still accountable and responsible for their behavior. As an adult they should be able to understand right-from-wrong and often use controlling behaviors to get what they want. They usually have low self esteem, are quiet and shy and usually do not have close friends. Perpetrators do however know they are doing wrong and need to get some help. Especially for those who are around children and those having difficulty in relationship. Perpetrators often never validate children and adults, and have poor boundary control. 
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People need to understand that those who usually hurt people are those who they are related to, love them and know them. People need to understand that it is not your fault even though the perpetrators says, "I because threatening because you did not listen to me and I got angry because you did....." or "I did it because I love and care about you and you need to listen to me, I am your father and when you do not listen I get angry". Unfortunately for many it is difficult for them to distinguish  "I better behave the way they want or they will get upset at me" from love, trust and respect for one's own self. Many also have difficulty in knowing that their own needs, desires, thoughts and feelings are theirs and nobody has any right to violate them. No parent, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, teacher, police officer, priest, etc. has a right to violate you.  
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Not all forms of abuse are physical or sexual, but in all cases of abuse, it started with controlling behaviors. In most of these cases of abuse the perpetrator is a loving and caring person, and as long as the victim does as the the perpetrator wants, the perpetrator is happy and loving. Most abuse cases are forms of control without the physical violence. The victims often changes their life, needs and boundaries to please the perpetrator. This form of control results in major physical and emotional consequences among the victim. Overtime one can see the physical changes seen in photographs just within months. You can see it in their face and eyes. This unfortunately is excused by saying "I am old' or "they are a teen". However both acute illness and chronic illness are the result. The emotional changes are often seen through tiredness, isolation and depression through changes in activities they used to like. This is often excused by the adult of child saying "I just do not want to do that anymore" or "I used to do that when I was younger" or "I do not feel like being friends with them anymore". They have a loss of self and over time results in changes in their brain that affects learning and have future consequences from the controlled behavior. When brought to the victim's attention, they usually say they are strong and are in control. Unfortunately they are not and are in denial. Overtime physical and emotional health effects get worse. These are usually accepted by the victim as "well I am getting old" or "I am a teen and I don't feel like doing things like I used to do". Victims of control are usually isolated as much as possible by the perpetrator. Often observed by a teen not doing their usual activities and sleep overs that children and teens are common in doing, for example. It is difficult to approach a victim because they will immediately deny. Only they can become motivated to get the help they need. They have to also be prepared by getting help because once the victim tries to get out or leave the relationship is when the perpetrator becomes more physically violent. This is why they victims need appropriate help. When children and teens are exposed to this form of controlling behavior, they see this as the way relationships are and learn to allow this behavior. In most cases they will end up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, and in a relationship with someone who is controlling and abusive. An unfortunate and continued cycle.

If you feel you are unable to express how you feel, violated, distrusted, threatened against, or that you no longer have a voice or your opinion is never heard, etc. it is time to get some help. Remembering that a therapist is only as good as the information you provide them. So always be honest when you get help. Remember a victim is usually re-victimized and a perpetrator is usually a caring and loving person. Both victims and perpetrators need help!

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National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233
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Teen Dating Violence Hotline
1-866-331-9474
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National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-4673
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National Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-422-4453


 
 
Pro Consumer Safety recognizes International Youth Day, by providing educational materials to empower adults to "think globally, but act locally" for the sake of children. Adults must model positive, healthy behaviors to the children in their life and among those in their community.   
International Youth Day: In 1998 the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the 12th of August to be declared as International Youth Day. This years theme, "Youth and Mental Health" helps to raise awareness and overcome stigma and discrimination. While this is highly needed, lets also keep in mind that brain and behavior research has shown that a child or teen exposed to abuse and violence can also be a contributing factor to developing a mental health disorder later in their late teen and early adult years. However when adults seek mental health services them selves and model healthy behavior can significantly reduce this risk.

Child's Environment & Brain Development: A child's brain will adapt to the environment it is exposed to, in order to survive.  As a result, children are often a product of their environment including those around them, from whom they learn from. From biological parents to non-traditional parents (current and past boyfriends, girlfriends, grandparents, and other caregivers who have been involved in the child's life) all have the responsibility of letting of of their own "adult" issues and be there for the best interest of the child or teen. And this is especially important for younger teens. Younger teens need the stability of adult caregivers. For those adults who have been involved in their upbringing, from biological to non-traditional caregivers need to remain consistent. The modeling of adults will help the teen to also learn about communication and relationships. Data has shown that more and more children and teens are being raised in non-traditional homes by a single parent along with one or more non-biological caregivers who have been involved in the child's life. These adults all need to understand how their relationship plays a role in the child's development. It's not about the adult. It's about the child.
 
Children need to feel:
  • Safe and secure (not scared or confused)
  • Needed (being included, feeling important, feeling helpful)
  • Acknowledged (ability express their own needs and feelings, and having them respected, have their personal boundaries honored, honoring their passion for activities)

Think Global but Act Local  

For our children’s sake, think globally, but act locally by modeling positive, healthy behaviors to the children in your life and among those in your community! 

The following describes the educational materials that are downloadable below:
  • Healthy Parenting Tips: Exposing children to various learning activities, allowing them to explore their own interests and passions (not yours), will help to promote brain development and learning.
  • Parental Relationships: Parental relationships are one of the leading causes of relationship dysfunction and exposure to abuse, that has a negative impact on their development, learning, self esteem, etc.
  • Child Abuse & Neglect: These items provide resources, traumatic effects and exposure to child abuse and neglect.

HEALTHY PARENTING TIPS                                                                                                                                          
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A Parent's Pyramid
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Importance of Play
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Guidelines for Parents: Electronic Devices
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Children's Book List for Parents
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Promoting Teen's Passion for Activities-Improving Brain Development
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Anyone can be a Biological Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy
PARENTAL RELATIONSHIPS                                                                                                                                        
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How does your relationship rate?
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Relationship Abuse & Children
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Signs of Relationship Abuse
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Stalking
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How relationship abuse affects children
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How relationship abuse affects child development
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Parent dysfunction & children feel
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How children learn relationship dysfunction is normal
CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT                                                                                                                                            
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Emotional abuse is child abuse
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Emotional abuse is child abuse
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Emotional abuse is child abuse
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Myths & facts of child abuse
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Yelling at a child is verbal abuse
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Don't blame the teens years, it's from abuse
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Guidelines for parents: developmental sexual behaviors in children

Questions or information on how you can learn more about how parents can decrease risky behaviors among their children during their adolescence years, please contact Dr. Safety at DrSafety@proconsumersafety.com