Tag Archives: parenting

Raising Sons

Portrait by Joshua Reynolds of Elizabeth Herbert, Countess of Pembroke, with her son (c. 1765), Source https://hoocher.com (PD-Art, Age-100)

Raising children is an enormously challenging endeavor, under the best of circumstances.  Human beings are complicated creatures.  Abuse adds dark forces to the mix.  It shapes us as children and impacts the parents we become.

Modeling Behavior

Parents attempt to model the behavior they want their children to adopt; strive to give their children the things they, themselves, never had.

If we are to raise sons who do not abuse the women in their lives, we must – first and foremost – protect them against exposure to abusive men [1].  By this I mean not only men who might molest them, but men who treat us (and them) badly.

Consciously and unconsciously, boys take their cues from the men in the lives.  This is only natural.  It is not to say, however, that we as their mothers have no influence.  We have tremendous influence, not only through what we say but what we do.

Children are observant.  They watch us closely.  They see how we react under pressure, see the choices we make in our own lives.  And they seek to imitate us.

Teaching Abuse

The example we set is important.  When we submit to abuse, we teach our sons – however inadvertently – that abuse is acceptable.  When we tolerate abuse by men in the public eye, we teach our sons that women are not worthy of respect.

Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches…who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp…who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!” (Amos 6: 4-6).

The politicians involved in tawdry sex scandals; the men in power who harass and assault women as a matter of course; the athletes who treat women as playthings; the men who commit date rape, who view quaaludes and rohypnol as expedient means to an end; the college students who consider themselves entitled to sex with blindly intoxicated coeds; the men who cheat regularly on their wives (not to mention those who batter the women in their lives to death) were all once boys.

All sons. Continue reading


Filed under Abuse of Power, bullying, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Politics, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

Precious Cargo

Baby carseat, Author Snibban (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Twenty-three young children so far this year have died after being left in locked cars by their caregivers [1].  The average is 133 per year [2].

The majority of these deaths were unintended.  Intended or not, the temperature in a locked car – even a light-colored car with the windows partly open – can rise to 125 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes [3].

The signs of heat stroke include hot, dry skin; dehydration; and extremely high fever.  Even healthy babies are at risk for heat stroke.  In a moderately warm environment, babies in good health may already run a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

As humidity rises, perspiration (the primary cooling mechanism of the body) becomes less effective.  In babies, clothing, cushioned seats, and the placement of an infant carrier below window-level further reduce evaporation.

There are devices available and in development to remind a parent or guardian of the baby in the backseat.  These range in price from $25 and up.  Women can, also, make a habit of placing their handbags in the backseat (adjacent to the baby).  Few women will leave a car without first retrieving their handbag.

Nothing can replace mindfulness of the precious cargo we carry.

[1]  ABC 7 – Eyewitness News,  “Number of Child Hot-Car Deaths in 2016 Reaches 23”, 7/28/16,  http://abc7.com/family/number-of-child-hot-car-deaths-in-2016-reaches-23/1445637/.

[2]  Thingamababy, “A Look at Three Child Car Heat Death Safety Devices”, 7/19/07, http://www.thingamababy.com/baby/2007/07/babysafety.html.

[3]  Injury Prevention, “Heat Exposure in an Enclosed Automobile” by Lynn Gibbs, David Lawrence, and Mel Kohn, MD (reprinted from Journal of the Louisiana State Medical Society, Vol. 147 (12) 1995), http://www.injuryprevention.org/states/la/hotcars/hotcars.htm.



Filed under Child Abuse, Neglect


“Girl before a Mirror” by Pablo Picasso (1932), (Fair Use)

In this political season, there is a great deal of emphasis on image. Candidates craft their images with care, choosing just the right setting, just the right music, just the right wording for political ads, campaign photos, and sound bites.

These carefully crafted images are not necessarily a true reflection of the candidate’s character – more like a carnival house of mirrors, with everything distorted.

What about the images abuse victims have of themselves? How accurate are those?

One crucial distinction between the images politicians design for themselves, and those abuse victims carry over from childhood, is that victims do not get to choose their images. In large part, those are crafted by the adults around them.

However, when the mirror is cracked, twisted, and deformed, so is the image reflected in it. Continue reading


Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Politics, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women