SHELTER keeps abreast of current issues by monitoring news related to children, teenagers and social work. We have included a selection of current issues with links to further helpful websites, researched and adapted by a qualified counsellor from SHELTER.
When abuse has been discovered, parents often say there were no obvious signs to make them suspect their child was being abused, even when the abuser was their partner. However, although the following behaviour does not necessarily indicate abuse, sometimes a child who is being abused will:
Domestic violence is not acceptable - ever!
Domestic violence affects people of every class, age, race, disability, and sexuality. The violence can begin at any stage of a relationship and may continue after the relationship has ended.
It's usually women who are at the receiving end of domestic violence, and it is often men who are responsible. The violence may involve physical abuse, sexual assault and threats. Sometimes it's more subtle, like making someone feel worthless; not letting them have any money; or not allowing them to leave the home. Social isolation and emotional abuse as well as physical violence can have long-lasting effects.
Here are some examples of how children can be affected by domestic violence:
It's really important to take some action to protect yourself and your children. You may worry that seeking help means your children will be taken away by the Social Welfare Department. This is very rare and only happens in the most serious cases. Talk to your children about how they feel.
You may be experiencing violence at home, but you may want to stay with the person and try to sort out some of the problems. There are professionals who can offer counselling. Please contact SHELTER and we may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help.
Victims of domestic violence may be frightened that if they seek help the violence will get worse. However, you have the right to be protected and live in a safe environment with your children.
If you do decide to leave your spouse, there are places where you and your children can go to in an emergency. For example, Women's Aid Organization offers a safe refuge and ongoing support to families fleeing domestic violence. You can contact them at 603-79563488.
Drug and alcohol abuse by parents can have a serious effect on their children. Though not all parents who abuse drugs or alcohol mistreat or neglect their children, sometimes, the children can be put at considerable risk.
There are many important things to consider before you decide to leave a child alone. These include:
For example, most parents would think it is okay to leave a sixteen-year-old alone for the evening, but to leave them for a week may well be unacceptable to some.
Many young children play outdoors with other children without a parent or carer being present. Most people would agree that outdoor play is an important part of growing up but in reality, as they are unsupervised, they can be considered 'alone'.
You are the best judge of your child's level of maturity and responsibility.
When deciding to use a babysitter remember to:
Chat rooms and messaging can be great fun, but remember, you never really know who you are talking to online. It could be someone trying to trick you, some kind of weirdo, or someone really dangerous.
Here are some tips to help you keep safe:
Useful Links :
Useful Links :
Postnatal depression is a very common problem
Some signs of depression are:
These come at a time when mothers feel they should be happy and fulfilled, which can make it more difficult for them to admit to the problem and seek help.
If you are feeling depressed, it is important to contact your doctor for advice and treatment. Other family members should be helpful and supportive, for the baby's sake as well as the mother's. It is very important that a baby feels safe and secure in the first few weeks of his/her life, and an adult needs to provide this security.
Children can have mental health problems too - between 10 - 20% of children and young people under 18 have experienced such problems. This can be very distressing for the child, parents and family. Like adults, they can vary from common disorders to serious mental illnesses.
If you're worried about your child, contact your doctor. It is also often helpful to talk with teachers and other professional people who know your child. They may be able to give you help and advice.
Traditionally, the family focus is on the mother-child relationship and it is easy for dads to feel a bit left out. To help dads with their crucial parenting role, we have listed the following useful tips:
Many parents say their children play the most important part in their lives. They bring joy and laughter. But being a parent isn't always easy. It can be challenging and exhausting. At such times parents who are normally loving and caring can find themselves 'losing it' and hitting their children.
Most parents think hitting children is not right, yet, in times of stress, anger or frustration, they find themselves lashing out. But many feel guilty afterwards and want to find better ways of handling difficult behaviour.
The following techniques work with any child, regardless of temperament, background, culture or tradition. They build on a child's natural wish to please you, and will ensure a happier child and less stressed parents.
Babies behave as they do to get their needs met. When they cry or don't sleep, they are not doing this to be 'naughty' or to wind you up.
Toddlers: Most naughty behaviour in toddlers is part of normal development. All toddlers test limits, try to be independent, get into everything, get mad and have tantrums.
School-age children: Being 'cheeky' or disobedient may be an indication of the natural desire in your child to assert independence and show he/she has a mind of his/her own.
Teenagers: It is normal for young people to challenge you more - their friends start to exert a greater influence and they just can't go along with everything parents want.
Working at positive discipline takes a lot of energy. No parent can do it perfectly all the time. All parents have behaved in ways they regret - shouting or smacking. If it happens, say you are sorry, make up and try again. This teaches children a valuable lesson.
Parents may believe there are occasions when only a smack will do. For example, your child is really cheeky and disobedient; your toddler runs into the road; or one of your children bites a playmate. It can be tempting to think a smack sorts out these incidents quickly, but it does nothing to teach your child how you want him to behave. Instead, it:
These days we know a great deal more about why children behave as they do, and about the effects of smacking. Our parents did the best they could at the time. Modern parents choose parenting without the pain, for child or adults.
Thousands of children under sixteen run away from home every year. One in eight young people have been physically hurt and one in nine have been sexually assaulted whilst away from home.
Why do young people run away?
Young people who have run away or are thinking about it may do so because they are being bullied, having relationship (or sex) problems, or may be lonely. They may be having trouble with their parents or think they're about to be thrown out. They could be living in fear. They could be facing abuse.