August 2017 E-Press

Happy month of August! We are excited to share with you this month’s E-Press which includes protective factor handouts about strengthening and nurturing the parent-child relationship, information about how to access the new Supervised Visitation Training Manual, and a chart explaining which childhood sexual behaviors are typical, concerning, and red flags based on a child’s stage of development.

August 2017 Epress

We hope you enjoy this month’s edition!


 

Supervised Visitation

 The Institute for Family Violence Studies

Florida State University

August EPRESS

Questions from Directors

In the last phone conference, you asked us to alert you to program changes. Where do we send those?

Send them either to koehme@fsu.edu or to Mlodes@fsu.edu

We are trying to fix a stubborn “red” box on our A and V Report. Who can help us?

We can. Call us at 850-644-6303 or 850-644-1715.

We have a case in which the father had behaved badly in court, and the judge ruled against him on several issues. These cases sometimes go on for years, and now three years later it turns out that the father is a much steadier parent when it comes to visitation and compliance. How can we convey that to the judge?

Stick to the facts. Remember that your role is not advocate for the parent, but eyes and ears for the court and protector of the child and vulnerable parties. Your role is to observe (monitor), facilitate (including levels of modeling and coaching), educate, and document. That said, you are free at any point to add detail to your visit notes if you think the information you are providing presents a more accurate picture of the visits. Still, always remember that you are not in a position to have ALL the information needed for the court to make a decision. You have one piece of the puzzle of this family. Keep your boundaries. They are essential to protecting you and your staff.

Did you know that strong non-violent problem solving skills have been shown to be protective against almost all forms of violence? (Centers for Disease Control, Connecting the Dots, 2017).

Tune in to the next phone conference on August 16 to learn how you can use supervised visitation to help build the problem solving skills of parents and children!

 

NEWS

At the Clearinghouse we’ve had a staff change. Our new Project Coordinator is Morgan Lodes. Her email is mlodes@fsu.edu and

phone number: 850-645-1715.

OSCEOLA WINS AWARD FOR SECOND YEAR IN A ROW!

CONGRATULATIONS to the Osceola Family Visitation Center for being selected for the 2017 Best of Kissimmee Awards for Social Services Organization! For details and more information please view this website:
2017 Best of Kissimmee Awards – Social Services Organization

If you are unable to view the link above, please copy and paste the following into your web browser:
http://kissimmee.center-online.org/smtkxptd_OSCEOLA-FAMILY-VISITATION-CENTER

 

Photo of the Month! The Children’s Justice Center helps parents get their kids ready for school with free school supplies.  Congrats!

 

Accessing the New Supervised Visitation Training Manual

For those of you who did not make the July phone conference, we are re-posting the directions on accessing the training manual.

**You can use the following instructions to navigate on the IFVS website to where the manual is located. Or you can use this link to take you directly to the document: http://familyvio.csw.fsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Supervised-Visitation-Manual-2017-Edition.pdf

  1. Type http://familyvio.csw.fsu.edu/ in your web browser
  2.  Once on the home page, click on the supervised visitation tab.
  1. Click on Manuals & Materials 
  1. Click on New 2017 Manual for Providers and this will open a PDF document which is the new training manual.

Acessing New Chapters for the Child Sexual Abuse Referrals Training Manual

As chapters are completed for this new manual, they will be uploaded to the IFVS website periodically. The following screenshots will show you how to navigate to the page that has the chapters.

  1. Type http://familyvio.csw.fsu.edu/ in your web browser
  2. Once on the home page, click on the supervised visitation tab.
  1. Click on New Training Manual- In Progress
  1. Once you are on this page, you can access any chapter that says Read Chapter. Any chapter that says Coming Soon, is not currently available and will be uploaded in the future. 
New Protective Factor Handouts

 

Use these to build family strengths

 

Be sure to review them with parents – don’t just hand them out. Spend a minute describing what you are giving them!

 

 You and Your Child

Learning about Children Ages 3-8

Strengthening the Nurturing and Attachment Protective Factor

Children ages 3-8 are reaching several developmental milestones from learning how to communicate and asking questions, to wanting independence and building confidence in all aspects of life. When parents take the time to understand how their child is changing, they can strengthen and nurture the parent-child relationship. One way parents can connect with their children is by learning more about their child, from what they like to what they dislike. The following are 4 ways parents can learn more about their children:

  1. Eat different foods (veggies, fruits, grains): Trying different foods or making food in new ways, while being mindful of allergies, can help parents understand what their children likes or dislikes.
  2. Read various types of books (adventures, sports, insects or bugs, fairytales): Reading to children is incredibly important to a child’s development. Parents can read various types of books to their children to learn what their child’s interests are.
  3. Do different activities (a board game, flying kites, going swimming, sports, identifying insects): Engaging in activities gives children the opportunity to explore different hobbies and gives parents the opportunity to learn about what activities their child enjoys doing.
  4. Go to new places (different parks, libraries, recreation centers, museums): Children ages 3-8 are curious about the world around them. Taking them to new places around your community can help them learn about their home and surroundings. As parents go to these new places with their children, they can observe how their children react to what’s around them. With observation, parents may learn new things about their child’s preferences; some children may prefer to be outside at a park, than inside at a museum.

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Child Development: Preschoolers (3-5 years of age). Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/preschoolers.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/middle.html

 

You and Your Child

Learning about Children Ages 9-12

Strengthening the Nurturing and Attachment Protective Factor

Middle childhood (9-12) is an interesting time for both parents and children. At this age, children have a strong desire for independence and to build relationships outside of the family. It is critical that parents make efforts to stay connected and involved with their child in order to strengthen and nurture the parent-child relationship. Here are 3 ways parents can learn more about their child during middle childhood:

  1. Prioritize eating together: Parents can make breakfast or dinner a place for children to share information about their day, have some fun, and connect. Parents can ask their children simple questions like, “How are you feeling this morning, are you ready for school? “or “How was your day?” Children may not provide detailed responses, but that’s okay; the goal is for parents to show their child they care and are listening.
  2. Discuss life challenges (in school, sports, or friendships): Parents can have meaningful conversations about life challenges with their child. Parents can create a designated time during the week where they sit down and talk with their children about whatever they’re experiencing in life. Parents can start the conversation by mentioning observations like, “I noticed that you looked frustrated coming home from school today and I wanted to know how you’re feeling?” Doing this shows children that their parents care, which strengthens the parent-child relationship and helps parents learn more about their child’s life.
  3. Attend their activities/events (sports games, school events): Parents can learn more about their child by attending the activities or events that their child participates in. Many children develop friendships through the activities and school clubs they’re involved in. Attending these events will help a parent learn more about the friendships their child is developing and what interests their child cares about.

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Middle Childhood. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/middle2.html

You and Your Child

Learning about Children Ages 13-18

Strengthening the Nurturing and Attachment Protective Factor

Teenagers undergo many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. During this age period, teens become more independent, explore their own interests, and spend less time with their parents. While teenagers may distance themselves from their parents, it is critical that parents continue to make time to understand and learn more about their children. Here are 3 ways parents can continue to learning about their teenager:

  1. Ask about their feelings. Teenagers can experience moodiness, and episodes of sadness and depression. They are going through so many changes that it can affect their grades, and everyday functioning. Parents can learn about their child’s well-being by showing interest and having conversations about how their child is feeling. It is important that children know that parents are listening and are a source of support.
  2. Discuss relationships (close friends, classmates, boyfriends or girlfriends): parents can learn more about their child’s relationships by having conversations about his or her friendships, classmates, or even romantic interests. Parents can talk about these relationships by having a non-judgmental tone and asking their children about how they feel in the relationship (if they feel safe and if it’s a positive relationship.)
  3. Stay involved in their school life/activities. As children get older, it is common for interests to change, or for children to become focused on only one or two activities. Parents can learn about their child’s interests by showing up to his or her school events or activities, and knowing what their child is involved in. Additionally, school becomes increasingly more independent as children get older. However, children still need support and parents can check in with their children about school assignments, projects, and upcoming events, to understand how their children are performing academically.

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Teenagers. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/positiveparenting/adolescence2.html

 

Understanding Childhood Sexual Behaviors

By: Elena Simonsen

At the phone conference training last week, we talked about red flags at visits. Here is a more detailed analysis.

Through different stages of development, children will exhibit typical sexual behaviors, even as young as ages 2-4 years old. It is essential that parents and visit monitors understand what is typical and age-appropriate sexual behavior for children. When children exhibit problematic or concerning sexual behaviors, it can indicate that the child experienced/or is experiencing sexual abuse or has been exposed to inappropriate, and sexually explicit material.

The following chart breaks down childhood sexual behaviors by stage of development, and categorized in to which behaviors are typical, concerning, and which behaviors are red flags. While typical childhood sexual behaviors are common and not alarming, these behaviors are not always appropriate in public. Parents and program staff can correct those behaviors if they’re exhibited during a visit.

When concerning behaviors are observed during a visit, such as a young child rubbing their body against another person’s body, program staff should intervene, ask the child to stop performing the behavior, and document the incident in the case file. In visits where red flags are present, such as a twelve-year-old touching their private parts during visitation, monitors should immediately terminate the visit, document the event in the case file, and notify the court.

 

Childhood Sexual Behaviors
Stage of Development Typical Behaviors Concerning Behaviors “Red Flags”
Toddler

(ages 2-4)

·         Touching genitals (including masturbation) in private or in public

·         Rubbing genitals with hands or against objects

·         Trying to touch women’s breasts

·         Taking off clothing/ walking around nude

·         Trying to look at other people while they are naked, such as peering under restroom stalls

·         Asking questions about bodies and bodily functions

·         Talking to children their age about “poop” and “pee”

·         Rubbing body against others

·         Trying to put tongue into others’ mouths when kissing

·         Touching others’ genitals

·         Imitating sexual intercourse or movements associated with sex

·         Asking a peer or adult to perform specific sexual behaviors

·         Putting things inside of their genitals

·         Touching animals’ genitals

·         Engaging in sexual behavior with someone with whom there is a 4+ year age difference

·         Displaying numerous types of sexual behavior every day

·         Child is distressed or in pain as a result of sexual behavior

·         Sexual behavior is related to physical aggression

·         Sexual behavior that involves coercion

·         Persistently engaging in sexual behaviors

·         Pretending toys are having sex

·         Mouthing private parts

Early Childhood (ages 5-8) ·         Purposely touching their genitals (i.e., masturbating) alone or in front of others

·         Trying to look at other people while they are naked, such as peering under restroom stalls

·         Kissing or hand-holding

·         Talking about private parts

·         Exploring private parts with children of the same age such as “playing doctor”

·         Rubbing body against others

·         Trying to put tongue into others’ mouths when kissing

·         Touching others’ genitals

·         Imitating sexual intercourse or movements associated with sex

·         Asking a peer or adult to perform specific sexual behaviors

·         Putting things inside of their genitals

·         Touching animals’ genitals

·         Engaging in sexual behavior with someone with whom there is a 4+ year age difference

·         Child is distressed or in pain as a result of sexual behavior

·         Sexual behavior is related to physical aggression

·         Sexual behavior that involves coercion

·         Persistently engaging in sexual behaviors

·         Pretending toys are having sex

·         Mouthing private parts

·         Sexual interactions with a younger child or older adult

 

Late Childhood (ages 9-12) ·         Purposely touching their genitals (i.e., masturbating), usually alone

·         Playing games involving sexual behavior with children of the same age

·         Trying to see others naked or undressing

·         Looking at pictures of people that are fully or partially nude

·         Looking at sexual content in the media (e.g., on the internet, television, music, magazines, etc.)

·         Asking for more privacy, avoiding talking to adults about sexual issues

·         Being sexually interested in peers of the same age

·         Obsession with sex

·         Engaging in oral sex or sexual intercourse

·         Often and/or purposefully trying to look at others while they are naked or undressing

·         Joking about sexual assault

 

·         Intrusive, planned, forced, or aggressive sexual behaviors

·         Engaging in sexual behavior in public

·         Engaging in sexual behavior regularly

·         Sexual interactions with a younger child or older adult

Adolescents (ages 13-17) ·         Masturbating when alone

·         Beginning to experiment with sex

·         Enjoying watching others when they are naked or engaging in sex

·         Engaging in dating behaviors (kissing, hugging, dating)

·         Asking questions about the body, relationships, and sex

·         Discussing sex with peers

·         Viewing pornography or sexual pictures

·         Sexual interest in older adults or younger children

·         Interest in violent sex (e.g., viewing violent pornography)

·         Joking about sexual assault

 

·         Masturbation in public

·         Sexual interactions with a younger child or older adult

·         Intrusive, planned, forced, or aggressive sexual behaviors

·         Engaging in sexual behavior in public

 

 

Case Scenario 1

A visit monitor is having a conversation with a visiting parent, Tom, when she notices that Tom’s four-year-old daughter, Maria, is playing with two toys. The visit monitor can’t tell what she’s doing with the dolls, and she leans in closer to ask, “Maria, I see you’re playing with these two dolls. What are they doing?” Maria responds “This is the daddy doll. This is the baby doll.  The daddy doll is touching the other doll in the private place, like daddy does.” The visit monitors asks, “What do you mean?” and Maria says, “They’re having sex.”

  • What kind of behavior is this? (Typical, concerning, or a red flag)?
  • After identifying what kind of behavior this is, what should the visit monitor do?

Case Scenario 2

Twin siblings, one boy and one girl, who are five-years-old are sitting next to each other during visitation and are holding hands. At one point during the visit, the sister leans over and quickly gives her brother a kiss on the cheek and he giggles.

  • What kind of behavior is this (typical, concerning, or a red flag)?
  • After identifying what kind of behavior this is, what should the visit monitor do?

Case Scenario 3

Caleb is thirteen years old and is visiting his father, John, for visitation. During the visitation, Caleb is telling his dad a story about something that happened at school. Caleb told his father that he received a lunch-detention after screaming “rape” when he and his friends were rough housing during school one day. Caleb expressed his frustration to his father, “Yelling rape is not even that big of a deal, it was just a joke.”

  • What kind of behavior is this? (Typical, concerning, or a red flag)
  • After identifying what kind of behavior this is, what should the visit monitor do?

Case Scenario Answers

Case Scenario 1

  • This behavior is a red flag that might indicate sexual abuse.
  • The visit monitor should act calmly to terminate the visit. Document the statements and behavior, make an abuse report (dial 1-800-96-abuse) and alert the court and case manager. It is not typical behavior for a four-year-old to have dolls act out sexual behaviors and the child may have disclosed sexual abuse by her father.
  • Be sure to do the above in a way that does not upset the child. Use a calm voice, without alarm or fear. Allow the investigator to proceed. Do not try to investigate on your own (don’t quiz the child or the father).

Case Scenario 2

  • At this age, this is a typical behavior.
  • The visit monitor does not need to intervene, but if one sibling exhibits signs of distress when this behavior happens, the visit monitor should immediately intervene and separate the siblings.

Case Scenario 3

  • This behavior is concerning.
  • The visit monitor should encourage the parent, John, to discuss why joking about sexual assault is never okay. Additionally, the visit monitor should make a note of Caleb’s story in the case file and pay attention for any other concerning behaviors.

Conclusion

Understanding the typical development of a child’s sexual behavior is essential in making sure that a child is growing in a way that is healthy and safe. When children exhibit concerning or red flag behaviors parents and monitors must intervene right away, try to correct the behavior, and seek proper help in addressing the behavior.

References

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. (2009). Sexual Development and Behavior in Children: Information for Parents and Caregivers. Retrieved from http://nctsn.org/nctsn_assets/pdfs/caring/sexualdevelopmentandbehavior.pdf

 

Kellogg, N. (2009). Clinical Report- The Evaluation of Sexual Behaviors in Children. Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/3/992.figures-only

National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth. (2012). Childhood Sexual Development. Retrieved from http://www.ncsby.org/content/childhood-sexual-development

Stop It Now! (n.d.) What is Age-Appropriate? Retrieved from http://www.stopitnow.org/ohc-content/what-is-age-appropriate

NSPCC. (n.d.) Healthy Sexual Behaviour. Retrieved from https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/healthy-sexual-behaviour-children-young-people/

About Karen Oehme