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For those who want to help prevent child abuse

Maya
March 17th, 2007, 04:02 PM
The topic of child abuse seems to come up quite often on the board so I thought it would be good to encourage everyone to also be aware of some of the signs. Maybe we can make a difference.


Child abuse can manifest itself in as many ways as there are reasons why people commit acts of abuse. When dealing with suspicious situations, keep in mind that anyone can be an abuser. It is not safe to assume that a family member, friend or any other person is not capable of abusing a child. There are 4 major types of abuse: physical, sexual, emotional and neglect.


Physical abuse is any injury purposely inflicted upon a child. This can include kicking, biting, violent shaking, hair pulling, choking, burning or beating. Unfortunately, this list is not all inclusive as there are so many unimaginable ways that children are being abused. If a child has numerous fractures, welts or bruises in various stages of healing, then there is good reason to be suspicious. Unless you are an actual witness to an act of violence, there isn't any fool proof method to ensure that an injury does indeed indicate abuse; children get hurt all of the time while playing. A good rule of thumb is that any "questionable" injuries are not likely to happen more than once. If there is a pattern of injuries with explanations that don't add up, this is a serious red flag and should be brought to the attention of Social Services or some other form of authority in your area.


Sexual abuse is any sexual act between a child and an adult. Actual intercourse does not have to occur for a child to be considered sexually abused. Children can be forced to observe or participate in various sexual acts. This form of abuse is more difficult to reveal.


Emotional abuse is verbal abuse or an attitude that is degrading a child. This can include name calling, screaming, shaming or negatively comparing a child to another "good" child. Emotional abuse can have long lasting effects on the social and mental health development of a child.


Neglect is failing to provide for a child's basic needs. This can include inappropriate clothing for the weather, unhealthy food (or no food at all), lack of supervision, denial of medical care to a sick or injured child or denial of love and affection.


In most cases, abused children will not just come out and tell you that they are being abused. There is a fear of what might happen to them if they tell and possibly even a feeling of betraying the abuser. Some children are lead to believe that the abuse is their fault and so they feel ashamed to tell anyone. However, there are some signs you can keep an eye out for (other than the physical marks themselves). Following is a list of some of those signs:


-withdrawal from family and friends

-sleeplessness

-irrational fears

-depression

-anxiety

-change in weight

-nightmares

-anger

-low self-esteem

-privacy issues


This list includes only a few signs that can point to abuse. If a child has a couple of these signs, that does not necessarily mean that a child is being abused. Also, all abused children do not exhibit these signs.


No reason is ever a good enough reason to abuse a child. People who were abused as children sometimes find themselves in a never-ending cycle of abuse. Parents who move frequently and don't have any medical records for their children, may be hiding something. Anything that seems suspicious is a possible clue.


Reporting child abuse can be quite a sticky situation and most people would prefer to stay out of it, but for a child's sake, it is better to be safe than sorry. Look in your phone book for Social Services or other local agencies that deal with abused children -- most of the time you can call in your suspicion without even leaving them your name.


The best way to help an abused child or prevent it from happening to your child is by educating yourself and watching for the signs. Teach your child what is and is not acceptable from others and believe your child if they tell you that something is wrong. Children can't always speak for themselves, so we have to speak up for them.

CyberKitten
March 18th, 2007, 03:13 AM
I am in a position where I often have had to report child abuse and have had some unpleasant experiences (usually with the abuser) so i thank you for posting that!! I am especially outraged and angered by people who abuse children when they are supposed to be the child's care giver or parent!!! I have no - none, zero, zilch - concern for people who abuse children!! They are the dregs of society in my book!!

I have seen everything from babies coming in to the ER with a sexually transmitted illness to things in my work with Doctors without Borders that I won't even post here because it is too gruesome and disgusting!! But even in Canada, I have treated pregnant 13 year olds in the ER who tell me "bad things are going on at home" and when pressed for more info, discover that the "father" of the "baby" really is not the boyfriend who she claimed loved her but lived several hours away is actually sitting home - at her home - because it's HER father! I could go on and on and on..... It's frustrating and we do what we can but often these children still love the abusers!! (This is all they know, they have no other parents and there are never any winners - they see themselves as the "bad one" for telling and breaking up the family if dad goes to jail and if they are placed in a foster home while dad gets to stay home while he awaits trial, they feel they have been punished for telling. It is such a no win situation!!!!

In a way, they are akin to stray kittens!! They need a good home and sometimes, they are lucky enough to find a good family who will help them discover how a good family does in fact live but others will end up back home incurring the wrath of other family members because one family member (usually dad but it can be anyone - uncle, mom, brother - you name it...) is now gone and in jail and sometimes, the family income has gone with him. (and more often than not, it is a him tho not always.)

Anyway---- I have seen the other side of it and it is NOT good!!

mummummum
March 19th, 2007, 03:25 AM
Great post Maya ~ very comprehensive. :thumbs up

Maya
March 26th, 2007, 03:49 AM
Thank you both for your replies. It sounds like you really understand the situation CK. I also say the exact same thing about the children being akin to stray kittens.:sad:

Its such a shame children don't have more rights and options. I try to talk about it when I get the chance because I think a big part of the problem is still the hush hush attitude so many people still have. These horrible things have a tendancy to happen in the "dark" and the "silence". I'm positive if more people stop ignoring the reality of it that things will improve.:pray: I also have no sympathy for the abusers but I do wonder what we can do to "help" them stop doing what they do.

I know its complicated too because often children do still care for thier abuser/s and blame themselves in order to make sense of it all. Very frustrating and sad.

~michelle~
March 26th, 2007, 08:20 AM
heres another check list of common indicator. In my feild I frequently deal with cases of maltreatment and abuse as well

Maya
March 26th, 2007, 04:10 PM
Wow thanks for posting that~michelle~. Every teacher, doctor, EVERYONE should know those things.

Unftortunately children with a lot of those signs just get further maltreatment from teachers and others.:sad: Often if kids in school are dirty or having learning difficulties they get more neglected/abused for "bad behaviour" or for "not trying". I wish everyone knew those signs weren't in the power of the child to control most of the time.

Quins-mum
March 26th, 2007, 06:05 PM
Awesome post. They are trying to bring a new law in over here in NZ where parents are NOT allowed to smack their children AT ALL.

What do you guys think of that?

CyberKitten
March 26th, 2007, 07:45 PM
I approve of that - Sweden has a law like that and several groups I belong to (pediatricians, other medical groups) lobby for it!! I can only hope it happens!!

So many parents may mean well and believe a small hit may not hurt but the psychological impact is not good and I have personally seen a few children die after a "small" smack. There are instances where a parent may not have known of a pre existing condition and viola, one smack and they are at the ER. There are so many better ways to discipline and teach children!!!! It is not worth the chance!!!

I hear some fundamentalist religious groups promoting the spare the rod, spoil the rod nonsense but that's all it is, nonsense. Nothing good comes from any kind of violence! And I do not EVER want to have to tell a parent "I'm sorry but your child has died because...." And yes, while the stats of that are .8% or so likely, it is still too high. One death is too many - I have seen five.

Maya
March 27th, 2007, 06:24 PM
They are trying to bring a new law in over here in NZ where parents are NOT allowed to smack their children AT ALL.

I think thats wonderful, it shouldn't be legal to assault children anymore!


I often see parents dragging youngsters by an arm and I can't help but wonder how many dislocations result from that. How would they like to be man handled by someone three times thier size?? I think it gets back into that property issue again though, similar to pet ownership.

CyberKitten
March 27th, 2007, 06:26 PM
I know Maya, do not cringe when you see that in a store or anywhere in public? If I do see it in our hospital, I say something to the parent. But I feel I have no jurisdiction - unless that person is my patient - if I see it in another place. But it really is upsetting!!!

I even hate to hear a parent yelling at a child in public.

Maya
March 27th, 2007, 11:11 PM
Yes its really upsetting to see that. Once I saw a man pulling his daughters ear practically lifting her off the ground and I said you know that is child abuse. He shouted at me to f!!! off, I had the presence of mind to say that is also child abuse, you shouldn't be using language like that in front of your children. He had three little ones with him.

I don't usually say anything but will stop and show that I see what they are doing. I've also reported a couple of cases. Once for a family that asked me to because they didn't want to get involved, which was silly because they don't even take your name when you call. The other time was something I witnessed when I was waiting for a bus, I had to or I would have felt I was just as much to blame for not doing anything. The police didn't act very quickly though and asked me to explain the situation twice which was frustrating. I don't know what became of that incident but the other one seemed to improve the situation for the child.

SARAH
March 28th, 2007, 07:57 AM
Obese children will die younger than their parents: report

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 | 4:58 PM ET
CBC News

About one-quarter of Canadians aged two to 17 are overweight or obese, and they are expected to live shorter lives than their parents, the Commons health committee warned Tuesday.

An all-party committee report titled Healthy Weight for Healthy Kids calls on the federal government to stop the trend toward increasing obesity levels among Canadian children by the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, and to decrease levels by at least 25 per cent by 2020.

The excess weight puts children at risk of a range of preventable health problems, including Type 2 diabetes, susceptibility to heart attack and stroke, joint problems and mental health issues.

"It has been said that obesity outranks both smoking and drinking now in its effects on health and health costs," said committee chair Rob Merrifield, a Conservative MP for the Alberta riding of Yellowhead.

"For the first time in recorded history, today's younger generation will live shorter lives than their parents. Yet parents, and this is, I believe, the most alarming statistic that we found, do not recognize the problem."

According to a survey by the Canadian Medical Association, nine per cent of parents identified their children as being overweight or obese.

Rates among aboriginal children are worse, with 55 per cent living on reserves being overweight or obese, compared with 41 per cent for First Nations children living off reserves, said the report.

Children on reserves are also snacking on processed, high-sugar foods, but statistics suggest obesity levels go down considerably if one meal a day is made of traditional First Nations food, Merrifield said.

The report calls on the federal government to immediately:

Start a comprehensive public awareness campaign.
Mandate standardized labels on the front of packages.
Remove trans fats from the Canadian diet and replace them with an alternative low in saturated fat.

"We have to change the paradigm so that it's unfashionable to overeat and it's very fashionable to exercise more," Merrifield said.

It will probably take a generation to change the culture, but it is possible, said Conservative MP Steven Fletcher, who sits on the committee.

In response to the report, non-profit consumer group Centre for Science in the Public Interest renewed its calls to limit commercially motivated pressures on children to eat, drink and be inactive.

The Commons committee's report called for a review of the food and beverage industry's self-regulation of their advertising to children.

CyberKitten
March 28th, 2007, 12:19 PM
The obesity discussion has been with us (in my work I mean) for some time and it soooo alarms me!! I see children in my practice now who are so overweight. I do hold parents responsible. They should be making good meals for their children, not subbing fast food. I see nothing wrong with the occasional trip to Macd if good food is selected - ie milk and not pop/soda but it is also frustrating to see many places (including hospitals and schools) making money in "partnership" with coke and other soft drink companies - having machines easily available. Now many schools are subbing fruit drinks but they still have as much sugar. As one of my close friends and often driving partner to work = who is a pediatric dentist - says, the best drink is water! He sees so many more cavities - that is a whole other study. Not only will they not live as long, their teeth are not going to last either!! I know from taking histories or reading the ones my nurses take - that many children drink pop and not milk with their meals. Personally, I cannot imagine that but it happens!!!! Gawd!!!

Anyway - I'll get off my soapbox - am prob speaking to the converted, lol

Furbaby Momma
March 28th, 2007, 12:32 PM
Thank You so much for starting this thread Maya, and Thank You Cyberkitten, and Michelle for adding additional information that can help stop or identify abuse.

If anyone see's something that obviously is not right, call the Police they will make sure that the child will be safe from the hands of their abuser.

Sarah great information you shared, with children being overweight today. When I was young there was no vcr's, dvd's, computers, play stations, IPOD's...etc, to entertain us we played outside. So it would be great if parents watched how their children are fed today, and encouraging them to go outside and play. Being an overweight child you loose self esteem, due to the cruelty of being ridiculed and called nasty names from other children.

Maya
March 29th, 2007, 07:50 PM
Yes SARAH I totally agree that obesity/malnutrition can be a form of abuse. I think we need to be careful not to blame all parents too quickly though because some are not able to provide healthy choices like fresh fruits, veggies, lean meats or dairy etc.. on a regular basis. I think this is abuse in the bigger picture e.g the minimum wages that are too low for people to thrive leading to cycles of poverty and health problems. Of course it is often just lack of education or simply unhealthy choices for those who are able to participate in recreation and healthy eating.

Poverty feeds child obesity
Ted Brellisford, the Hamilton Spectator

Kids who have safe spaces to play like these children playing in the gym at the Hamilton East Kiwanis Boys and Girls Club after school, are less likely to be overweight or obese than kids from neighbourhoods where there are no recreational facilities.

By Marissa Nelson
The Hamilton Spectator
(Nov 5, 2005)

Fat kids are lazy, eat too much and play too many video games.

Or do they?

Perhaps obese children come from families who can't afford hockey equipment, dance classes or fees for an after-school activity.

That is closer to the truth, according to a new study that found child obesity rates in lower-income neighbourhoods are higher than those in wealthier neighbourhoods.

Lisa Oliver, a doctoral student at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, took numbers from Statistics Canada and looked at whether socio-economics predicted obesity rates.

They did.rest of article:http://www.hamiltonspectator.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=hamilton/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1131145801432&call_pageid=1132398398819&col=1132398398845

Maya
March 29th, 2007, 10:11 PM
Something else quite interesting on the subject of childhood obesity!

"The UK government is planning to stop funding a study to understand obesity in children. The study fits children with accelerometers to measure how much energy each child uses in a day by moving. The results are surprising. Those children who do sports at school do not burn more calories than those who don't. Furthermore there is no correlation between body mass index and the number of calories used! The results are very interesting, suggesting that genetics and diet are the main reasons for childhood obesity, not sport. The UK government is trying to increase the amount of sport in schools."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6442293.stm

CyberKitten
March 29th, 2007, 11:37 PM
There are a plethora of studies in pediatrics and social work and psychology (I could go on...) that show a high correlation between socioeconomic status and childhood determinants of health - like obesity and other illnesses.

This is the end of the month and I went grocery shopping on my way home and loathe as I am to cite anecdotal "evidence", I saw so many people who had just received whatever end of the month check they live on and their carts were overflowing with pre processed food with all sorts of saturated fats, soda pop galore, frozen pizza, salt and God knows what other kind of additives. Many had children in tow of course! I wanted to scream!!!!! It IS actually cheaper to live while cooking good meals - contrary to popular belief. Make your own spaghetti sauce, get a chicken and use it to make stew and sandwiches and soup and cacciatore and all sorts of good food that will last so much longer than the processed stuff ever will. And none of that stuff takes that long to make either!! Or buy fruit and veggies and make salads. Buy flour and make pizza dough and use the veggies to make veggie pizza!

We have dietitians do clinics for parents all the time and I am beginning to wonder if it is any good. I suspect it may well be like Sesame Street, It does in fact help many children learn but the children whose parents or caregivers do take the time to read to their children and spend time with them when they do their homework will still continue to do better. It is the same principle at work with food.

As for recreation, poverty really is no excuse for obesity though I have read the studies. One need not join a minor hockey league and spend a fortune travelling the province - most kids do not make a road team anyway. But there are co-operatives where one can find second hand skates tho yeah, I know kids like the brand name stuff. Play soccer - that equipment costs barely anything and I do think schools should be forced to have more phys ed - even tho it was not my fav subject, I learned a lot from it and even was on my high school curling team (tho I should point out it was an all girls' Catholic high school that did not have too many kids to choose from but I also played field hockey and even intramural basketball and swam like a fish! Awkward and all but the point was to have fun with our friends.) We also biked a lot and I do not see ,many kids biking now - not half as many as when I was a child. We would bike 10 km to go visit my grandmother and thought nothing of it at all.

And street hockey costs verey little. Get some old equipment, set up a couple nets and find some pucks and hockey sticks and there you go. Even if neighbourhoods would get together and ask corporations for money to help defray the costs of a hockey team or curling team or soccer team. Or swim team. We need to get those kids active.

Our hospital has a summer camp for kids with cancer and they don't stop playing various sports just because they might be ill,. In fact, they NEED the exercise!!! It builds their confidence, self esteem and thus their immune system. Indeed, I am pleased to say the camp was started by one of my former patients (How is that for feeling old even if he was a teen when he had two bone marrow transplants!) who now works at the hospital in a non medical capacity.

But kids who have no chronic illnesses need to ensure they do not develop any and the best ways to prevent that is to be active and eat well!!!! And not have a parent who smokes!!

One of my colleagues who was a phys ed teacher before he became a doctor is constantly lobbying for more phys ed. And we need organized games at recess - and where the heck IS recess anyway? Many schools do not even have that kind of thing. How can a teacher who already has a large amt if stuff on her plate (no pun intended there, lol) and has never studied phys ed be expected to provide quality recreational programs for children in elementary school???

Anyway - once again, off my soapbox, lol

SARAH
March 30th, 2007, 09:02 AM
I can agree with the fact that parents with low or no income have trouble providing the most nutritious foods for their kids. The funny thing is (well, it's more tragic than funny) they all seem to ba able to afford sodas, candy, pizza and hamburgers! These things are no cheaper than healthier choice foods made from scratch, and water, "sorry"! Kids do not need pizza and coke to be happy, water and home made meatloaf and rice with one serving of vegetalbes is not more expensive and a lot healthier.

The activity factor I don't quite "get" either. The richer kids have their Playstations, X-box etc, the poorer kids can't afford this if we follow the logic of being poorer. Why do they not do what we did when we were young in the days before the electronic sit-still games and play outside? Are cowboy-and-indian, cops-and-robbers, tag, jumping rope etc that out of date?

It's too easy to blame lack of funds, but there's more to it than that.

Maya
March 30th, 2007, 01:17 PM
I was just trying to bring some light to how complicated and issue this is yet these discussions always seem to go in the direction of "look at the poor people eating all that junk food" or "why don't they just go outside and run around." Why do they not do what we did when we were young in the days before the electronic sit-still games and play outside? Many children live in dangerous neighborhoods and don't have supervision or yards to play in unfortunately. Its also quite difficult to play and have fun if you are not eating properly.

I do agree that many people are uneducated about diet and exercise and sometimes the poor even more so but it seems like a bit of a blaming game whenever it comes up. Many of the ways middle classes save money doesn't work for the poor E.g purchasing in bulk, freezing or making things from scratch. I know it sounds strange but it is a reality for soo many people.

I grew up without enough to eat and I didn't eat junk (wasn't allowed very often) but still didn't have a lunch on many days. I think it depend on the family as well, some parents sacrifice everything to keep thier kids healthy and others either can't or have other problems of thier own. Anyway I hope this didn't take on a poor "bashing"/one side right other side wrong direction.:sad:

I'm afraid I can't put too much time into this today but here is another article that I think helps explain the situation a little more.

Commentary: In the War Against Child Obesity, Poverty Complicates the Battlefield

Date: Tuesday, November 15, 2005
By: Tonyaa Weathersbee, BlackAmericaWeb.com

I’m sure that the good folks who are campaigning to stop schools from abetting the childhood obesity epidemic through pushing junk food to students know that they’re going to have to fight the soft drink industry.

But even if they win that battle, when it comes to schools in poor, mostly-black neighborhoods, the war will still be on.

It’s a war complicated by the realities of poverty -- and one that I’ve seen firsthand.

The thing that got me to thinking about this subject -- aside from the corpulent black children who trudge by my house each day on the way to the health department with their equally corpulent mothers -- was a campaign that I read about called Stir It Up. According to its website, this national movement of parents is working to put a dent in the childhood obesity epidemic by trying to ensure that all children eat food that is good for them, as well as get adequate exercise.


It is a movement that many black parents need to get behind. While the numbers of obese and overweight children are increasing among all races and genders, black girls ages six to 11 have the highest overweight and obesity levels of girls of all races in that age group. Black girls aged 12 to 19 also are more obese and overweight than other girls in that age group.

What Stir It Up wants to do, besides stop schools from selling junk food, is require companies to update nutrition information on foods sold in schools. That’s a commendable start.

But the rest of the war is still raging outside of the schools -- in neighborhoods where many black children wind up fat because of the constraints that poverty and culture wield upon their lives.

I got a glimpse of that conundrum through many of the people around me.

Juanita was a woman I met in 1993. She was struggling to rear seven children alone, in spite of a debilitating illness. One monthly ritual she looked forward to was receiving her food stamps not just so she could buy groceries, but so that she could buy ice cream, loads of soft drinks and packages of cookies and other sweets.

Her children would devour most of that stuff in a couple of days. But what I soon realized was that was her way of rewarding them. And in her world, it made sense. She didn’t have a car, so she couldn’t reward her children by taking them to the movies or to the zoo -- the kinds of pleasures that many middle-class people heap on their children. So she looked to food.

Now, buying sweets to reward children wasn’t so bad back in the day, when they spent a good amount of time playing outside. But in neighborhoods where simply walking home from school has, for many children, become more of an ordeal than an odyssey, playing outdoors is all but a thing of the past. On top of that, there are now poor working parents who fear that if their children play outside, they’ll get an injury that their health plan will barely cover.

Then there was a woman who told me that she knew her son was fat, but she wasn’t worried about it. She believed that if he was fat, at least no social service worker would be able to say she wasn’t feeding him.

That’s the thinking of people in which the state is a constant presence in their lives.

rest of article:http://www.blackamericaweb.com/site.aspx/sayitloud/weathersbee1116

papillonmama
March 30th, 2007, 01:45 PM
I have to agree with Maya on this one, my kids are in no way obese, but that has nothing to do with them riding their bikes for ten clicks.

That was normal for me too when I was a kid, when I lived in the country. It's too dangerous to let your cats go outside, do you really think that letting your kids play in the street is any safer?

This is just me, I'm coming from a high traffic, high crime area. It's not safe to let your kids walk to school on their own, even though the school is only a couple of blocks away, not to mention that the school doesn't have any playground area, no, the kids are expected to enjoy the dirt that has been given to them by the school board, and fundraising to get the kids a new playground is going no where, you know why? 'cause many of the parents in the neighborhood are working their butts off to put food on the table.

many parents invest in videogames and other activities that their kids can play indoors. I know a guy, he's an adult now, but that is exactly what his mother did, she didn't want him involved in street gangs, so she gave him videogames, it worked, and I will say he's also not obese, but this is the sort of solution that a lot of parents have come up with. They don't want their kids to fall in with the wrong crowd, or to have something bad to happen to them because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You will NEVER know what it is like, unless you have lived in a high crime neighborhood, you worry every day that someone might shoot their gun off into a window, or there could be a drive-by, some idiot could just start shooting a gun in any place including areas where children play, or the neighbor downstairs might get raided and have a shootout, when you actually have to plan where you will hide your kids if you hear gunshots near the house, just like planning how you would escape from a fire.

And no, it's not always feesible for parents to go out with their kids to ride their bikes or to playgrounds when they've just spent all day working, and they have to catch up on whatever household chores need to be done. Many of these people are hard working single parents, and finding time for recreation can be hard for them.

I'm not saying that any of this stuff is okay, I'm just saying, it's not as easy to do as it is to say.

My:2cents: , I'll shut up now.

~michelle~
March 30th, 2007, 02:23 PM
i am torn on the obseity and abuse.... its hard for parents to afford these things and they dont always know, nutrition these days is complicated and in a world where both parents often work, or its a one parent household there isnt alot of time prepare food so they grab what they think is good food or what they can afford.
and the prices of fruits and veggies especially in the winter!!!!
the reduction of importance of physical education in schools has aso decreased immensely many student may only get 1.5 hours of phys ed weekly.
i have seen a greaty progression lately to promote healthy eating in one of my local school boards. the school where i work currently is doing 3 days a week of a feature fruit or veggie an have atleast one for each student in the eintire school.
this is provided by the government and the farmers of ontario. its a great program for many students its their first time seeing and eating pears, oranges, kiwis, etc.
it often takes time to change policy, the schools had a shift to acedemics in the recent years and phys ed and music took a back seat. they are now realizing how important these are and are trying to find a way to balance the cirriclum without sacrificing acdemics, but policy does take a long time to change....

SARAH
March 30th, 2007, 02:27 PM
Yes, I have also noted the change in attitude from the schools with regard to phys.ed. and also that a few (more and more) schools are taking the soda vending machines out to replace them with water fountains. And you know what? The kids love the clean water! "weird" eh? ;)

Let's hope that with more and more people pointing out the short comings of the, shall I call them "abundance years" since the '70s, that the next generation(s) will be healthier than the present :fingerscr

CyberKitten
March 30th, 2007, 07:01 PM
I think in some cases we have to look at the lifestyles of all socioeconomic groups - and I don't really want to blame anyone. We have evolved rather quickly into a society where we want convenience food and love tech toys and the combination is not a good one for children. Many overweight children also have parents who eat too much but they were not overweight as children so therein lies that difference nor did they have a PC, a TV and a XBox in their bedroom.

I guess because I live in a small city - tho one with some growing crime (tho very little where I live unless you call noisy parties by students criminal, lol) - I do not see people who are economically challenged having a difficult time finding a place to play. We have several large parks open to the public, playgrounds available to all, YMCA with sliding scales and daycares with lots of activities where social services will pay for kids to join - even if it a few days a week to provide "respite" for mom and socialization for the children.

It does upset me that organized sports are occasionally beyond the reach of everyone but I know when my brother played hockey, my dad just went out and bought skates for kids who could not afford them. And they were some of the best players on the team! We also had a skate exchange so that kids could always find skates for figure skating or hockey. And curling is not that expensive a sport and there are always 2nd hand stuff to be bought that is almost as good as new! Many high school or middle school teams raise money so that is another way kids can participate if they cannot afford to buy equipment.

Anyway - just a few more thoughts.

Maya
April 5th, 2007, 02:28 PM
Thank you to everyone that took the time to stop and think about this serious issue, I was really happy to have participation in this thread.

CK that was so nice of your dad to buy skates for some of the other kids who couldn't afford them, I always like to hear stories like that. Its something which can make a huge difference in the confidence level of a child later on in life. (especially if there is no expectation attached) I know because I was lucky enough to be involved in sports for a while when I was younger and I can't think of anything else that contributed to the little bit of confidence I have now! I also learned a lot about people and had the chance to socialize with EXTREMELY wealthy children which I think gave me an interesting perspective on some of these issues.

One thing that I have found and this is in no way a criticism of charitable people or organizations just an observation. While sometimes they do welcome participation like the YMCA "they" are usually not aware of the other barriers to it. For example fees may be waived for an activity or at a rec centre but if the family can't afford gym shoes,bag,snacks,bathing suit,shorts,clean appropriate clothes, transportation (long bus rides sometimes),locker, healthy dinner when they get home etc.. the list is quite long and can indeed still make participation out of reach for many. Its not usually difficult for a family to come up with a few of the things they might need second hand, its more about co-ordinating the whole outing on a regular basis. I know its difficult to imagine what it feels like to be in a constant state of "searching" for basic things if you haven't experienced it. Its much more simple when you don't have to worry about the little things that most people do take for granted E.g that two dollars for the bus, a "cheap" snack at the rec cafeteria with the other kids or healthy snack food from home, that pair of shoes that can be cleaned off and still used for gym etc. When it comes down to it I don't think it is unreasonable that so many parents opt for simply grabbing the bare essentials if they can and I mean bare essentials like toiletries and food if they are lucky. (and yes sometimes the junk food as a treat on payday) Anything extra is like climbing a huge mountain though if the basics are not covered. It reminds me of Maslow's Law, i'm not sure if anyone is familiar with it?? I think it gives a good explanation of why many people are not aspiring to "better things". Another misconception but of course not always the case is as you mentioned CK
Many overweight children also have parents who eat too much Many also don't know or seem to forget that when you don't have enough to eat your metabolism actually slows down and some of the heaviest people in fact eat much less than the thin ones. This is only exacerbated by the fact that nutrient rich foods are more expensive most of the time in comparison to the high carbohydrate ones. This does of course lead to over eating or binging when the body tries to compensate for the lack of nutrients. Can anyone imagine how frustrating it is hearing from Drs, and dietitians the lectures about how many servings are required for health when you simply don't have the $$$ to even get one or two of those servings a day Grrrr. I got this e-mail sent to me yesterday:http://makepovertyhistory.ca/e/ I don't know how much of a difference this campaign makes but it was nice to see some of our popular musicians helping to bring awareness to child poverty/neglect in Canada. Maybe things will get better.:fingerscr