I do not think there is quite anything so frightening as the prospect, as a parent, that harm may come to our children in any way shape or form. It is clear that though we may go to the greatest lengths to keep our children safe there are predators in the community and the Pagan Community is no different from any other community. Children are at their most vulnerable when alone whether that pertains to physical isolation or emotional loneliness.

This month Leshanki would like to share some tips with parents on how to keep our children safe from predators. It is important that we know the people with whom our children spend their time. In most cases abuse of a child is at the hands of someone that the child is familiar with such as A relative, family friend, an adult of the child's friend, or a person of authority in the child's life such as a caregiver, babysitter or teacher.

We advise to take the time to teach our children what is appropriate behaviour and what is considered inappropriate behaviour.

Help build your child's confidence by acting out, in safety, and discussing what a child should say and do when faced with inappropriate behaviour.

Always be open and ready to listen to your child should they feel the need to speak with you.

Keep an eye out for changes in your child's behaviour.

Always be interested in your child's extra curricular activities and never be afraid to speak up if someones behaviour toward your child is unacceptable. This sets a wonderful example for your child and helps subside fear or shame should your child need to approach you on a difficult issue.

Always keep the home as a safe haven for your children and the entire family.

Teach children that no secrets should be kept from yourself unless it is a birthday surprise or something along those lines, and if someone wants them to keep a secret it is usually a warning that they should always speak with you.

If a child is confused by or feels uneasy about another persons behaviour always encourage your children that you are their for them , to listen and nut out any confusing issues they may have.
Never leave your children alone or unattended at public events.

Always try to be open and honest and to the point when discussing sexual issues with your children.

Encourage questions and always practise interest no matter how bizarre the questions may be. (and they come up with some doozies)

Always meet your teenagers friends, try and meet their friends families and find out as much as you can about them.

Never ever be afraid to say no to your teenager.

Read the books and listen to the music your teenagers find interesting.

Meet all adults who spend time with your teenager. This includes all spiritual teachers. Let the other adults in your teenagers life know that you are the parent, you are the one in control. Also let them know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate in regards to your teenager.

Never be afraid to voice your opinion in regards to your child.

A predator is more likely to go looking elsewhere if they can see that your child is protected by your own watchful eye.

Never be afraid to report any cases of abuse or any suspicious behaviour. Such things are handled with discretion and compassion. If you feel your complaint is not taken seriously go further up the ladder until someone does.

Speak to your local police.
Your family doctor.
Your local hospital.

Most importantly never panic. Our children should live safe and happy lives with the best love and care we can give.

For more information on keeping your child safe please refer to the following websites. .au/kids_safe_online .html .html _partners/law_enforcement.htm


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