• Creatively W R

The Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which defines children's rights to protection, education, health care, shelter, and proper nourishment, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1959. The Convention on the Rights of the Child describes a child as a person, a member of the family and community, with age and developmentally appropriate rights and obligations. The Convention firmly emphasizes the focus on the overall child by recognizing children's rights in this way.

Children's rights are a subset of human rights that deal specifically with the protection and care that children are entitled to. Children's rights are vital since they apply to their survival, development, and protection against abuse, neglect, and exploitation, as well as their right to participate in familial, cultural, and social life. People often forget that children are individuals, with the same basic human rights as adults, as well as additional rights that recognize their special needs. Parents, children are not your property or helpless objects, they are human beings who have their own set of rights!

We recognize the need, but what is the government doing to ensure that children's rights are respected in the United States? Consider all the children who have been separated from their families and have been trafficked or died because of this president's negligence to the border crisis. I'm simply highlighting border policies that facilitate human trafficking, which includes both adults and children. While some countries' constitutions have sections dedicated to children's rights, the United States continues to struggle to prove that it cares for and protects its children. The United States has a long way to go in terms of strengthening and safeguarding children's access to their rights. According to the UAB human rights center, the United States has been complicit in the violation of many children's rights. Children have suffered and continue to live in poverty, with parents who lack job security, some who do not attend school, and others who do not receive adequate judicial retribution.

It's April 2022, and all I've heard and seen are news of children being murdered or seriously hurt. Children of all ages are being murdered by other children, and court systems are failing to protect children by keeping them with unstable caregivers and in abusive homes. Yes, I understand that if a child-protective agency has reasonable cause, they can file a petition with the Family Court to have assistance in the child's protection. The problem with judicial system is that they may not allow children to express their choices, instead making decisions for them or pressuring them into making a specific option. In some circumstances, the judge is on the side of the parent, and the child is returned to the parent. I realize that the goal is to reunite the child with his or her family, but what happens if there is sufficient evidence that the child cannot thrive in this environment? How can you be sure you're making the best choice for the child? Who says you must make that choice? Why not inquire as to what the child desires? Let's face it, they're the ones who must deal with the consequences of your decision. As a social worker who has worked in the foster care system, I've seen countless examples where this has occurred, and cases like these make my mind spin.

Let's face it, some of these agencies have poor service quality; you have some staff who care and want to help, and others who are burned out and don't. The process is shaky, and children are sometimes put with foster parents who are not always looking out for their best interests. Adult figures in these children’s’ lives, such as teachers, mentors, tutors, and care providers, see them daily and can detect when a child is being mistreated but refuse to report it.

So, what can we do to help protect children's rights in the United States? What are some approaches to improving children's access to their rights? Sponsoring a child, adopting a child, becoming a foster parent, donating, and praying are all obvious possibilities, but it’s not enough. Donating and sponsoring children has been polluted by greed and dishonesty, making it difficult for people to give because they have no idea where the money is going. To be honest, it's tough to say; we need more petitions, groups, and compassionate and sincere people to speak up.

Finally, I'd want to leave you with a quote from the world vison, “we believe every child deserves a childhood, surrounded by protective families and communities, free from violence, and with the opportunity to thrive and the experience the abundant life god promised.”

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  • Creatively W R

Child Abuse Prevention is being observed this month. Child abuse is a national tragedy that kills three children every day and affects millions of children and families each year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. It's critical that we all work together to form and support families so that tragedies like this don't happen all the time; in fact, tragedies like this shouldn't happen at all.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was signed into law on January 31st, 1974, and is the most important federal law addressing child abuse and neglect. The goal of CAPTA is to provide comprehensive care to child abuse victims and future victims by integrating services from several agencies, including legal, educational, mental health, and social service organizations. The following is a breakdown of the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act's definition of abuse and neglect:

  • Neglect is defined as failing to meet a child's basic needs.

  • Neglect can be physical, mental, or financial (e.g., lack of appropriate supervision or failure to provide necessary food, shelter, or medical care).

  • Emotional (for example, ignoring a child's emotional needs or exposing a child to domestic abuse).

  • Educational (e.g., failure to educate a child or attend to special education needs).

Brain damage, developmental delays, learning disabilities, relationship issues, violent behavior, and depression have all been related to abuse and neglect. Survivors of child abuse and neglect are more likely to face problems later in life, such as poor academic performance, drug use, teen pregnancy, and criminal activity, all of which impact not only the kid and family but society as well. Let's pause for a moment and dissect that. Even though the social cost may be minimal in comparison to an individual's traumatic experience, it's important to remember that abuse has long-reaching effects that extend well beyond the homes where it occurs.

The Administration for Children and Families is committed to assisting families by promoting policies that strengthen marriage and assist parents in raising their children in a happy and healthy environment. It's 2022, and I've been asking myself the same questions for the past few years since despite all the policies and resources in place, child abuse and neglect continue to be a global issue. Who is fighting for these children? Who is helping these kids? Who's protecting these kids? So, what can we do as a country to assist prevent child abuse and neglect? They go into detail in the community resource packet, titled "Gateways to Prevention," identifying ways that individuals can help increase awareness and techniques that can be implemented. The following items are listed:

  • Child Abuse Prevention Overview: Definitions and statistics on child abuse and neglect are provided, as well as an overview of why prevention is so important in dealing with the issue.

  • What Organizations Can Do: They can suggest activities and materials for preventing child abuse, as well as resources for dealing with the media.

  • What Individuals Can Do: Provide information on how to prevent child abuse and neglect, how to spot and report suspected maltreatment, and parenting tips.

  • Resource Directories: Provide information on national organizations that are working to prevent child abuse in conjunction with their state and local chapters, as well as organizations that can provide technical assistance.

  • Posters: These strategies are listed to help people better understand their role in preventing child abuse.

The four fundamental categories of childhood abuse are neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse. While each of the categories might be experienced independently, they are witnessed together. I'd like you to realize that both boys and girls are as vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Children of all races and ethnicities are affected by child abuse. Many people believe that domestic violence just affects women, but it also impacts men.

According to statistics from the domestic violence hotline database, domestic abuse not only affects a child's mental health but also affects their ability to focus and learn in school. In these children's life, failure to achieve in school might lead to even more significant issues. Even if a child is not directly harmed, he or she will be exposed to domestic violence in the family. They are still affected by the scenario's stress. Children who witness domestic abuse experience increased tension, worry, and emotional challenges.

“Abused women are 70 percent more likely to get heart disease, 80 percent more likely to have a stroke, and 60 percent more likely to develop asthma," according to the report. These health problems add to survivors' misery while also putting additional strain on the healthcare system. According to the CDC, the cost of healthcare can reach more than $4.1 billion, yet some of that money is lost in lost productivity owing to injuries and premature mortality. Here are some ideas for what we can do as a society:

  • We need to invest more into after-school programs and facilities with crisis workers, counselors, therapists, and mental health care workers who can provide a safe refuge for children who are being harmed at home.

  • We need to invest more in parent education programs, and in some situations, parents who have proved that they are unsuitable to parent or have children in the home should be obliged to attend. We should make it mandatory rather than providing individuals the option to participate in these programs.

  • More mentorship and respite care programs are needed to educate children healthy boundaries, how to recognize trustworthy adults, how to check with others before doing something, body limits, and how to express themselves!

For the love of Christ, we as a people should use our voices for good and support these initiatives in your communities; children, too, need to be taught about their rights. Why not make programs and services that will keep our children safe mandatory, just as you were able to make wearing a mask or taking a vaccine mandatory? Enough is enough; the children must be protected.

  • Creatively W R

Are you in good emotional shape? Isn't this a question that we should all consider? I know, it's easier said than done; we're all guilty of failing to check in with ourselves as frequently as we should. It should become second nature to us, much like checking our phones or brushing our teeth.

So, what exactly are emotions, and how can we get down to the nitty gritty of them? An emotion is a natural instinctive state of mind generated by one's environment, mood, or interpersonal interactions, according to Oxford. It's frequently defined as a jumble of sensations followed by physical and psychological changes that affect our thinking and behavior.

Emotions are expressed through a variety of bodily activities that are important in our social interactions, social outcomes, and how we communicate our feelings to others (Calvo et al., 2015). Our impulses can tell us what is going on as a way of resolving the problem by involving brain activity, because emotions are the psycho-physiological ways in which we react to an action (Van Dyck et al., 2014). Positive energies can restore reactions to other situations by reflecting our self-consciousness (D'Ascenzo, 2009), "since persons bodily resonate with emotions" (Collins, 2004, pg.6). Robert Pluchik, a well-known psychologist, invented the Wheel of Emotions in 1980 as a manner of explaining how emotions are related to one another.

In a thesis titled "Dancing, Mindfulness, and Our Emotions: Embracing the Mind, Body, and Sole," I go into greater detail regarding emotions and wellness, as well as how to use creative arts and mindfulness to identify, comprehend, and release our bottled-up emotions. The chart below shows how I broke down emotional responses from the Wheel of Emotions.

Since I mostly work with children, I frequently stress the importance of instilling in them a strong and healthy subconscious mind, as well as teaching them to recognize and control their emotions. What are some strategies for teaching our children to recognize and manage their emotions? Teaching your child to communicate their feelings will help in their mental development. Children who understand and control their feelings will be confident in their ability to deal with anything life throws at them. Instead of hitting, a child who can say, "I'm mad at you," or articulate, "that hurts my feelings," is more able to resolve conflicts in a civilized manner. Unfortunately, society frequently portrays expressing emotions as a sign of weakness when it is a sign of incredible strength.

As an adult or authoritative person, consider describing a situation that caused you to experience a certain emotion. This is a fantastic way to teach kids about emotions and how they are normal to experience.

EX: A parent feels angry or depressed because their working hours have been reduced. At the dinner table, your child observes that you're not your usual cheerful self, and they occasionally wonder if they've done something wrong, or they'll ask. Being open and honest with your child or children will allow you to explain that you are angry because your work hours have been reduced, making it more difficult to pay expenses and buy them as many gifts as you used to.

Furthermore, encourage your child or children to talk about what makes them feel a certain emotion. Even though numerous shows, cartoons, and storybooks point it out or even ask children to connect the word with the emotion's face (EX: a red and frowning face would be matched with being angry). I'm not sure if children are understanding the true meaning of emotion and what prompted them to feel it, much less identify it. This technique should be promoted more regularly in households and classrooms.

EX: Timothy sat alone at lunch because he was upset with Brian. Brian backed up and stepped on Timothy's foot while lining up for bathroom time. Brian turned around and stared at Timothy when he said "oww," and then laughed. As a result of his anger, Timothy isolated himself. Both students should be taken apart in this scenario. One can wonder what got Timothy angry in the first place; was it the pain he felt when Brian stepped on his foot, the fact that he laughed, or the fact that he didn't apologize? This begins the dialogue, with Timothy, as far as Brian is concerned, it is a case of teaching children how to take responsibility for their acts, recognize when they are wrong, apologize, and be mindful of such situations in the future. Finally, rather than responding to Brian by saying, "Hey, that's not funny, you stepped on my foot, it hurts," Timothy separated himself in this scenario, which meant he didn't communicate the true emotions he was experiencing.

Mental health is important in all phases of life, including childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, as we all know. Emotional well-being allows you to work well and deal with the stresses of everyday life.

Be well, and don't forget to look after yourself.

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