The Inner Conversation I Need to Have with Myself Every Day.

The Inner Conversation I Need to Have with Myself Every Day.

I am sitting here watching my son play with his friend thinking about all of the things that have blown up this week all while smiling for him. Let’s be honest, there are times when this parenting thing is just hard. Like when you get to the point where you are not sure whether you’re going left or right. Organizing rides to practices, planning meals, working and trying to find 30 minutes to get to the store to get my favorite face wash. Every decision feels wrong and everything seems to be going wrong. What do I do when I feel like this? Sometimes I go behind closed doors and cry then put some makeup on my red nose, throw on my Nikes and get back to it. Other days I don’t hide it from my kids. I let them see the struggles, the frustration and the tears. 

Which one is right? I could argue both. I don’t want them to see me cry or cause them to worry about anything that’s my job as their mom. They are just kids and have enough adult life to worry and stress them out. However, if they see how hard I fight they can gain more appreciation for what they have and what I do for them. The life we live doesn’t come easy. No matter how I respond I beat myself up. I have painted a picture of me being superwoman to the world and now that’s the picture that I see of myself. No room for error even when things are tough. 

I have read article after article about ways to cope when you’re stressed or how to give yourself grace and even how to parent under pressure. When I read those articles I then think, how can I get to the point where I am as put together as those moms? Which either motivates me or makes me feel defeated. 

Ways I Find Peace in the Chaos

So what’s the moral to the story? Finding peace in the chaos looks different for everyone, and that’s ok. It looks different for me every day, and that’s ok too.

I remind myself a few ways:

  • I put sticky notes on my mirrors with positive quotes.

I take time to write down life’s little blessings and put them in a vase to read when things get hard.

Reading those really helps put things into perspective. 

    I call my mom friends and complain about the chaos and then brag about the wins.

    I have found my one release from the world in coaching basketball. Nothing matters to me when I am on the court.

    Building Parental Resilience Is Growing a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

    This is what parental resilience looks like for me and it’s built by learning healthy coping skills and strategies to manage your stress and function as well as you can when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma.​ Researchers at The Center for the Study of Social Policy have found that parental resilience is among the five Protective Factors that, when present in families’ lives, have the power to reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect and when I think about that, it makes complete sense to me. 

    When I’m not taking care of myself or managing my stress, I know I don’t show up for my kids the way I want to. But, who among us has not felt a little short-tempered, yelled or not been your best-self at moments in front of your kids. Everyone needs to practice self-care, especially parents. 

    Take the time to do little things that bring you calm during the storm. While I complain about the articles saying give yourself grace, it’s so true! I have to constantly remind myself that parenting is not for the weak, so we use the tools we have to make the best decisions we can to strengthen our families and ourselves. This is the pledge I make to myself and I’m sharing my story to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. 

    Makita Cotto

    Makita Cotto

    Makita is a proud mother of three, human resources manager and high school basketball coach sharing her lived experiences so that children and families can grow and thrive together. She has a deep understanding of what needs to happen at a community level in order to transform systems so that families get the preventative support they need, having experienced the foster care system as a child.

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    Parents’ Stories a Focus of the Campaign to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

    Parents’ Stories a Focus of the Campaign to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

    Nearly one hundred people gathered on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol to promote positive childhood experiences and listen to parents share their experiences in recognition of child abuse prevention month. The event is the first of many activities happening throughout the nation, and Colorado, as part of the month-long Pinwheels for Prevention® campaign to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together.  

    “Every one of the more than 1.2 million children in Colorado today deserve to be valued, healthy and thriving, including the children in my community. And, every day, we each help positive childhood experiences take root,” said Beverley Besha Moore, emcee for the event and board member of Illuminate Colorado (Illuminate), the statewide nonprofit organizing this annual grassroots effort to raise awareness during child abuse prevention month. As the Colorado Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, the organization leads the national Pinwheels for Prevention® Campaign in Colorado which has grown exponentially over the years, giving away more than 40,000 FREE pinwheels last year as many families were under significant stress doing their best to parent during a pandemic.

    2022 Colorado Pinwheels for Prevention Campaign Launch Event

    Thank you to all the partners, parents and kids that joined us at the Colorado State Capitol! What a great start to Child Abuse Prevention Month!
    VIEW PHOTO ALBUM

    A leading champion for all children in the United States, Prevent Child Abuse America is the nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. Prevent Child Abuse America experts develop innovative, evidence-based prevention strategies, raise public awareness, and advocate for family-friendly policies and programs at the national, state, and local levels to ensure that all children and families get what they need to thrive. “Research shows that positive childhood experiences grow thriving families and communities,” explained Dr. Melissa Merrick, president and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America. “This is the moment to build a child and family well-being system that propels families to grow and thrive together. Please consider joining us to ensure safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are cultivated to enable children, families, and entire communities to succeed – today and for generations to come.” 

    As a mom to seven kids myself, two by adoption and five by birth, I know that no parent can do this alone. All parents need support from their community to raise their kids—it truly does take a village. And while all families need support, some families do experience social, economic and environmental inequities more than others and this explains why children of color experience significant disparities in child well-being.” said Besha Moore. As an African American mother, I’ve experienced first-hand the struggle of wanting to ask for help but being fearful that I would be looked at differently or treated differently because I’m African American. We can all help by proactively calling out inequity and injustice and working to create the conditions for safe, stable and nurturing spaces. All children and families thrive when communities focus on addressing root causes that lead to health and social inequities. We all need to know how to strengthen the family next door.”

    This year, Illuminate is giving away 10 Free pinwheels to anyone interested in getting more involved and asking all Coloradans to pledge to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. “When parents, caregivers, family, friends, neighbors, employers and elected leaders work together to increase five critical protective factors in families’ lives that is when we can prevent child abuse, strengthen families and build brighter childhoods,” continued Besha Moore.

    Every one of the more than 1.2 million children in Colorado today deserve to be valued, healthy and thriving, including the children in my community. And, every day, we each help positive childhood experiences take root.

    Beverley Besha Moore

    Board Member, Illuminate Colorado

    Conditions in communities where people live, learn, work and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes – including child abuse and neglect – a serious problem affecting every segment of our community. The occasion focused on effective community-based solutions including home visiting, homeless shelters, family resource centers and other local community supports that support all families thereby reducing the likelihood of child maltreatment.  In October 2018, I experienced every parents worst nightmare; my three and a half year-old son pasted away. After that tragedy, I was offered a whirlwind of supportive services, counseling, classes, family and friends coming to offer support. Every single one played a part in my healing process. What I found most life-altering was my home visiting program,” shared Alexa Chenoweth, a mother of two girls under the age of four from Rifle, Colorado. 

    Another father opened up about his journey through parenthood having experienced homelessness. “I never thought I would ever become homeless until it happened. A number of events led me to a point in my life where I needed to find a temporary home so that I could start working to rebuild my life from the ground up and continue to support my basic needs and be there for my son,” said Dave Ehlert the Colorado Springs father of a nine year-old boy.  “Parenting isn’t always easy. There’s no book to follow on how to be a perfect parent and it can be difficult at times. The good news is there’s so many resources in all of our communities that are reaching out to us to provide services, programs and support as we navigate our parental journey.”

     

    In addition to the more than 50 campaign partners displaying pinwheels in April as a show of support for the prevention of child maltreatment, promoting the campaign messaging on social media using #GrowingBetterTogether, and encouraging Coloradans to take part in the campaign; campaign sponsors including the presenting sponsor SafeCare Colorado of Colorado’s Office of Early Childhood, and organizing sponsor Colorado’s Office of Children, Youth & Families and media sponsor Colorado Parent, also supported the event.

    As added incentive to make a commitment to strengthening families this month, one person who takes the pledge to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together will be selected at the end of the month to win an opportunity to choose a Colorado nonprofit, school or child care organization to receive a $2,500 grant, thanks in large part to the campaign sponsor Colorado Child Welfare Scholars Consortium, part of a statewide effort to invest in the education of selected students in order to attract qualified social work professionals into the field of public child welfare services in Colorado.  For more ways you can to strengthen families and take the pledge to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together and learn more about child abuse and neglect prevention and activities happening around the state all-month long, visit COPinwheelsForPrevention.org

    Following a message from Governor Jared Polis, Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the Office of Children, Youth and Families, and Mary Alice Cohen, director of the Office of Early Childhood from the Colorado Department of Human Services addressed the crowd to thank the thousands of professionals, parents and caregivers who have strengthen families throughout the pandemic. “I’ve seen amazing collaboration happen with partners across the state throughout this pandemic to take care of families in their communities and ensure they have what they need to be successful and help their kids grow up healthy, strong and ready for school,” said Castillo Cohen. “We know that when families are connected and have access to concrete support in their communities, child maltreatment can be prevented. It truly takes all of us to ensure every child has the opportunity to thrive.”

    “The last two years have been so challenging for children and their families. I know many of you have first hand experience with this,” shared Cohen. “Our routines and our support systems were changed abruptly. In the Office of Early Childhood we were heartened to see the creativity and resilience all of our partners showed to ensure the youngest Coloradans continued to thrive; yet we also recognized the significant needs families faced, and continue to face.”

    The event ended on a heartfelt note with Besha Moore share a personal story after reflection on the work going on inside the Capitol. “You see, I was a teen mom. When he was just three and half years old. At that time, I was handling the financial struggles of being a single mom. I found myself in a position when I was wondering do I purchase diapers or purchase sanitary items that I needed. And of course, the diapers won. So I swallowed my pride and I did whatever was needed. But, just imagine if there was such a thing as not having a tax on diapers back then,” shared Besha Moore referencing a bill Colorado lawmakers are working on this legislative session to make essential items, like period products and diapers, more affordable.  “That definitely could have helped me. And If I had really felt confident about these wonderful services that we have here in Colorado, if those things were made available to me, I definitely would have taken them.” 

    Growing a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

    Every one of the more than 1.2 million children in Colorado today deserve to be valued, healthy and thriving, including the children in your community.

    Take the pledge to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together. 

    Show your support for strengthening families in Colorado and take the pledge to build protective factors and prevent child abuse in your community.

    Get Your 10 FREE Pinwheels

    Illuminate Colorado, a statewide nonprofit working to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment, is giving away 10 FREE Pinwheels for Prevention® to Coloradans to inspire our communities to grow a better tomorrow for all children, together.

    >>Interested in getting more involved or sharing your lived experiences?

    Parents: It’s Time to Talk About Strengthening Our Families

    Parents: It’s Time to Talk About Strengthening Our Families

    For more than ten years now, you may have seen gardens of pinwheels planted at your child’s school, day care or a local hospital or nonprofit organization, and wondered, why? It’s because pinwheels are the national symbol for child abuse prevention meant to start a conversation about how to strengthen families. 

    “What research has shown, and what our experiences have borne out, is that people respond to the pinwheel. Child abuse is a hard topic for most people to think about, let alone talk about. By its very nature, the pinwheel reminds us all of the bright childhoods we want for all children,” said Jade Woodard, executive director of Illuminate Colorado, the statewide nonprofit organizing this annual grassroots effort to raise awareness during child abuse prevention month. As the Colorado Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America, the organization leads the national Pinwheels for Prevention® Campaign in Colorado which has grown exponentially over the years, giving away more than 40,000 FREE pinwheels last year as many families were under significant stress doing their best to parent during a pandemic. 


    “Families get overloaded with stress when facing significant challenges like unemployment, substance misuse or mental health struggles, making it incredibly hard to parent and keep your child safe. That’s when kids are at greater risk for abuse or neglect. Just like a truck carrying too much weight, they can’t move forward. But when other parents, friends, family, employers, neighbors, community organizations and even elected officials increase protective factors around families, then we lighten the load. That’s how we prevent child abuse and strengthen families,” continued Woodard. “We are encouraging Colorado communities to have a conversation about helping families upstream- reducing stress on parents and building resources and systems that work together to help us raise our families. Every one of the more than 1.2 million children in Colorado today deserve to be valued, healthy and thriving.” 

    Locations where pinwheels tend to sprout up are usually: 

    • organizations that are working every day with young children like elementary schools, child care centers and home visiting programs; 
    • organizations that recognize their role in strengthening families like family resource centers, medical offices and hospitals; 
    • businesses supportive of family-friendly work environments and the children and families in their communities;  and, of course,
    • nonprofit and human services agencies doing the incredibly hard job of helping children and families heal from child maltreatment. 

    This year, many of those same organizations are doing more to empower parents who are passionate about making sure their neighborhood protects children and strengthens families. On April 1st, parents are joining Colorado legislators and representatives from more than 50 campaign partners to gather on the West steps of the Colorado State Capitol at 11:00 am to promote positive childhood experiences and launch a month-long campaign to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together

    Organizers plan to share more about ways to show your support and earn a $2,500 grant for your favorite Colorado nonprofit, school or child care provider at the event. Illuminate is also giving away 10 FREE pinwheels to anyone who wants to get more involved and join this movement. You can order your free pinwheels online at COPinwheelsForPrevention.org or stop by the public family-friendly campaign launch event to pick up your pinwheels. Each pinwheel comes with a small greeting card to give to someone else or display to help inspire other people in your community to learn more about how we can strengthen families.

    Five Way to Use Pinwheels for Prevention®

    Display your pinwheels in a pot in your front yard or window to show your support and get people talking about strengthening families.

    Organize a pinwheel parade in your neighborhood, school or child care center.

    Give your pinwheels to a child you care about along with the Pinwheels for Prevention® coloring sheet, available in the campaign community activity guide

    Ask your favorite restaurants, pediatrician and dentist offices to display a small bouquet of pinwheels at the front desk to let customers know they support children and families in the community.

    Leave one pinwheel on the doorstep of 10 of your neighbor’s homes to build the movement or say “thank you for keeping me strong.”

    “We’ve done this for many, many years in person at the Capitol with our pinwheels and we are so excited to be back together in person for the first time since 2019. We definitely did our best virtually during the pandemic, but it is just nothing like the energy that we get when we are all together at the Capitol to launch Child Abuse Prevention Month,” continued Woodard.

    Five Ways to Build Stronger Families

    Protective factors are conditions or attributes in individuals, families, communities or the larger society that help people deal more effectively with stressful events and mitigate or eliminate risk in families and communities. Protective factors help buffer from the negative consequences of exposure to risks by either reducing the impact of the risk or changing the way a person responds to the risk. Consequently, enhancing protective factors can reduce the likelihood of problem behaviors arising.

    Research by the Center for the Study of Social Policy has shown five protective factors increase family strengths, enhance child development and reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect. Throughout the month of April, campaign partners will be highlighting ways parents, employers and community members can build the following protective factors to strengthen families.

    1 – Be Strong in the Face of Stress – Build Parental Resilience 

    Resilience is managing stress and dealing with your life, even when things get difficult.

    Right now, stress is HIGH. You’ve likely felt a little short-temper, yelled or not been your best-self at moments. Everyone needs to practice self-care right now, especially parents. Take care of yourself, to take care of your kids. Share a mindfulness or stress management tip, encourage others parents to give themselves permission to not be perfect.

    2 – Connecting With Other People Matters – Build Social Connections

    Having a network of friends and family helps us feel secure, confident and empowered. Accept help from others and look for opportunities to give back. Reach out to others, talk about what is going on in your life. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Focus on nurturing relationships where you feel respected and appreciated.

    3 – Grow Your Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development – Build Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development

    There is no perfect parent, but knowing what to expect does make the job easier. Discover what to expect as your child grows. Try new skills and tips to help your child progress and thrive. Pause to understand why your child is acting out and respond in a positive, nurturing, and developmentally appropriate way.

    4 – Every Parent Needs Support Sometimes – Build Concrete Support in Times of Need

    Some problems are too big to solve alone. Knowing where to get help in the community can make life easier. Know what help is available in your community. Make a plan for what programs you might need if you were faced with unemployment or severe illness. Reach out and ask for support when needed. Share your story with others about programs and resources that have helped you along the way.

    5 – Help Your Child Manage Feelings and Relationships – Build Social and Emotional Competence of Children

    Help children develop skills so they can manage their emotions and build healthy relationships with their peers and adults. Respond warmly and consistently to your child. Allow your child to express their emotions. Model how to be kind and interact positively with others.

    Most parents, including those known to child protection, are truly doing the best they can and want to do well by their children. All families need help sometimes. Some are overburdened and close to breaking points as they struggle with child care and work, the threat of unemployment, food or housing insecurities, and other intense pressures. Creating better outcomes for children starts with ensuring families are supported and strengthened when they need help – rather than penalized. 

    The Colorado Department of Human Services recently reported that calls to the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline, 844-CO-4-Kids (844.264.5437), have rebounded after a significant drop during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Most of the calls that come into the hotline are really around a parent’s lack of resources, so, one of the ways that we can really support families is by making sure that we are connecting them to those resources -those concrete supports that families need,” said Minna Castillo Cohen, director of the Colorado Office of Children, Youth and Families, one of three organizing sponsors of the campaign. 

    “I am very excited about the campaign because it gives us an opportunity to work outside of our child protection system and really talk about human services, so instead of child welfare, thinking about child well-being,” said Castillo Cohen. “ I just really hope that people put out the pinwheels in their yard, encourage their elementary schools and the businesses in their own communities to get involved and recognize strong employees who have families are even stronger when they have a support network,” said Castillo Cohen.

    “I am very excited about the campaign because it gives us an opportunity to work outside of our child protection system and really talk about human services, so instead of child welfare, thinking about child well-being,” said Castillo Cohen. “ I just really hope that people put out the pinwheels in their yard, encourage their elementary schools and the businesses in their own communities to get involved and recognize strong employees who have families are even stronger when they have a support network,” said Castillo Cohen. 

    Ways to Get Involved

    Join Together on April 1

    You can promote positive childhood experiences and preventing adversity by wearing blue on April 1 – National Wear Blue Day – and share your picture online letting others know you support #GrowingBetterTogether. 

    Colorado Campaign Launch to Grow a Better Tomorrow for All Children, Together
    April 1 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Colorado State Capitol West Steps
    200 E Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80203

    RSVP to let campaign organizers know you plan to support the cause and help the campaign get off to a strong start. 

    Come down to the Capitol to meet other parents passionate about making sure their neighborhood protects children and strengthens families. Be the first to learn more about how you can WIN a $2,500 grant for your favorite Colorado nonprofit, school or child care provider! 

    Organize Your People

    Become a campaign partner, download the campaign community activity guide and encourage your friends, other parents and your child’s school or day care to order their FREE 10 Pinwheels. 

    Join the Movement

    Follow #GrowingBetterTogether to connect to the movement in your community and tag us on Illuminate on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to show you support. 

    Mom, You’re Too Much

    Mom, You’re Too Much

    Working in the field of sexual assault prevention can make a mom a tad neurotic, no? When my three were babies, I added anatomically correct body parts to our sing-along songs “Head, Shoulders, penis, Knees and Toes.” My spouse would shake his head and laugh, “You’re too much!” Our parents were horrified. “Really?! You have to add ‘penis’ to a children’s song?!” I shrugged. I knew there was value.

    As they grew, I reviewed safety guidelines with them so often that they used sing-song voices to repeat them back to me. I persisted. They knew that their private parts should not be touched or viewed by others, and that they should not touch others’ without consent. 

    They understood that sometimes other kids and adults break the rules. They knew that abuse was never the fault of a child—at least they repeated that part back to me. They knew it takes courage to tell. “We KNOW, Mom! Stop! You’re too much,” they told me more than once. I worried about that—that my neurosis would translate into heightened anxiety in an already anxious world. I wanted to protect, not frighten. It’s a fine line, and I was never sure how elegantly I walked it.

    When they entered middle school, I taped articles facing in on our glass shower door under the tag, “Mom’s Hot Topic Board”, complete with illustrated flames. The nature and substance of the articles changed over the years as they passed into high school. Articles about kindness turned to anti bullying. Articles about empathy turned to consent. “Be an Upstander!” they would preach. Eventually, the science behind the risks of vaping and marijuana made an appearance, as well as the risks of anal and oral sex. I was met with eye rolls, shocked faces. They couldn’t believe I would broach such sensitive topics. They shook their heads at me and felt sorry for themselves. Their friends’ moms weren’t so weird. 

    In high school, our conversations focused on gender roles, identity and consent. We were well past sex ed. We connected bullying with sexual harassment and assault. We talked about why some survivors would choose not to disclose, why people enduring abuse might not seek help. My law-and-order one was mystified, my secretive one nodded, my contemplative one asked questions about systems. Sometimes their comments gave me a stomachache. This wasn’t easy. They often ended the conversations with “That’s enough!” or a child walking out of the room. I continued to worry. There I was, being a lot again. 

    Now they are all in college. As I hear about parties, dorm life and the Greek system, I wonder – did I teach them enough? Are they equipped? Do they have refusal skills? Are they kind and socially adept? Are they confident upstanders? They have anxiety related to academics, and sometimes social situations, but that’s normal, right? They seem well adjusted, but did I go too far?

    Questions about whether I’m too much ran through my mind until one of them called me from college. A friend had been sexually assaulted at a party. I was devastated to hear it. I asked what they did. My adult child had told the friend, “This is not your fault. It doesn’t matter that you were drinking. We can go to the doctor and you don’t have to report to the police, but I’ll help you if you want to. We can also call the Title IX office or an advocate if you aren’t feeling safe here. You get to control your story. I am here to support you no matter what you choose. You were brave to tell me.” I teared up with pride. They were listening all this time. I’m not too much. I am just enough.

    Creating a Colorado Where Children Grow Up Free From Sexual Abuse: An Issue Brief on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Colorado examines data and trends related to child sexual abuse in Colorado, highlights efforts to prevent this trauma and presents recommendations to advance prevention statewide.

    About the Author

    About the Author

    Margaret Ochoa is a blog contributor helping to illuminate the protective factors in her family’s life by sharing her experiences through storytelling as a mother of three, one of the chairs of the Colorado Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition and the child sexual abuse prevention specialist at Colorado Department of Public Safety.  

    Less than half of parents in Colorado aren’t doing this one thing that could protect their children from experiencing sexual abuse.

    Less than half of parents in Colorado aren’t doing this one thing that could protect their children from experiencing sexual abuse.

    “Today on 9news Mornings, we tackled a tough topic– one that makes many parents– and kids– uncomfortable yet one that desperately needs to be talked about: child sexual abuse,” said 9news anchor Corey Rose in her post in the 9news It Takes a Village Facebook Group following the story talking with Illuminate Colorado and a brave parent who volunteered to speak from experience to help prevent child sexual abuse. The It Takes a Village regular segments focus on news important for people parenting in Colorado. It is estimated that one in ten children will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen and up to 70% of children do not report it in the first year.  

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    Deborah Freedman, a single mother of three girls, volunteered to talk with 9news about how she first learned about the importance of talking child sexual abuse prevention at home. “When my kids were in preschool, the preschool brought in a parent educator, [I] learned to just prevent sexual assult, calling body parts by their real names made a huge difference,” Freedman said.     

    Awareness Makes a Difference

    “We know that using anatomically correct terms is a protective factor. It protects children against child sexual abuse,” said Anne Auld director of education for Illuminate Colorado. When parents were informed of this fact as part of a public opinion survey conducted by Illuminate it made a big difference resulting in 71% of parents were willing to use anatomically correct language once they learned it was protective. According to the Illuminate study providing insight and recommendations for preventing child sexual abuse in Colorado, less than half of parents in Colorado (47%) say they typically use anatomically correct terms. 

    Let's Talk Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

    This one change can make a world of difference for several reasons: 

    • The language we use at the earliest of ages promotes positive body image, self-confidence and parent-child communication, all important factors to preventing child sexual abuse. 
    • The use of anatomically correct terms also discourages offenders.
    • In the event of abuse, anatomically correct terms help children and adults navigate the disclosure and forensic interview process. 

    “If there is a child that is talking about something that happened, we may not understand exactly what they are talking about. This is my knee. This is my elbow. If I am using other words instead of knee and elbow, why? Is there something shameful about these body parts?” said Auld during the interview with 9news. 

    “There are things that we can do, like using anatomically correct language, which feels uncomfortable at first, but the more times you say penis and vagina the less interesting those words become, just like knee and elbow. If we can get used to saying those words, if we can overcome our fears, and our this just feels weird feelings, we are enabling generations after us to have less risk in their lives around abuse,” continued Auld. 

    It’s an important time of year to be thinking about protecting your kids from sexual abuse, given that that many families are coming together to celebrate the holidays. It is those in a position of trust that most often victimize children – 90% of children who experience sexual abuse know their abuser, 40% of those children are abuse by another youth. 

    Resources to support prevention and healing from sexual abuse:

    Tip Colorado

    More than 80 local authorized facilitators throughout Colorado are working to empower adults to protect children in every community in Colorado from experiencing child sexual abuse through the Tip Colorado Initiative launched in 2020. If enough adults in a community, including parents, take a FREE two-hour interactive online training offered weekly then, together, we can reach a tipping point in Colorado where children grow up happy, healthy and safe in communities that prevent children from experiencing sexual abuse. Visit TipColorado.org to sign up to be a part of reaching a tipping point to create new standards of child safety in your community.

    New Research Provides Insight and Recommendations for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

    Creating a Colorado Where Children Grow Up Free From Sexual Abuse: An Issue Brief on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Colorado examines data and trends related to child sexual abuse in Colorado, highlights efforts to prevent this trauma and presents recommendations to advance prevention statewide. Download the issue brief

    Healing For Survivors

    If you are looking for a network of supporters to aid in your healing process, WINGS supports adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse to live their fullest, healthiest lives as they speak about, heal from, and thrive beyond CSA trauma. Visit www.wingsfound.org to find therapeutic support and connect to other survivors. 

    Report a Concern

    If you are concerned that a child is experiencing sexual abuse, call 844-CO-4-Kids (844‑264‑5437)

    Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don’t hesitate to call and get help.

    Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.

    Circle of Parents Is Not Just for the Parents

    Circle of Parents Is Not Just for the Parents

    Finding community can sometimes be difficult, especially in a rural setting. From getting answers to all your parenting questions to something as simple as finding a babysitter, it’s helpful to have a group of people you can go to for support. For one mother in Conifer, Colorado, finding that community has come through Circle of Parents.

    Photo by Amy Johnson Photography

    Jen Wilson was ecstatic when she first heard about Circle of Parents starting up in Conifer. Her kids had already been involved in early-childhood programming through Mountain Resource Center (MRC), so when it was announced that MRC would be hosting a Circle of Parents group for the community, she jumped at the chance to get connected to other parents in the area.

    Through Circle of Parents, Wilson said she was able to find a group of like-minded parents. She also quickly realized how beneficial this group could be for her kids. “It became really important to me immediately and I saw the social emotional component of Circle and the work that those kids do in just playing with each other and being engaged. My son is on the autism spectrum…and we were really hoping to develop some of those social emotional skills, and Circle was actually a better place to do that than the school. It was worthwhile and everyone saw the value.”

    Soon after joining Circle of Parents, MRC asked Wilson to be a parent lead and, when in-person meetings weren’t an option due to COVID-19, she began co-facilitating a virtual group. “Being able to go virtual has been critical,” said Wilson. “It helped to keep everyone in touch. It’s kept us feeling supported during a really weird year.” Throughout the pandemic, Wilson’s group was able to continue meeting to support each other, help each other out when needs arose, and figure out things like how to keep their kids socialized. More recently, the group has adopted a hybrid model, balancing Zoom calls with in-person meetings at local parks.

    The newest expansion of Circle of Parents in Colorado, Children’s Circle, is something Wilson is thrilled about. Children’s Circle is a curriculum-based children’s program that builds the social-emotional skills of the children of caregivers and parents attending Circles, and Wilson sees this added component as the piece that’s been missing this past year for their group. The opportunity for parents and kids to have separate activities is really needed, she said. Wilson is excited about the opportunity to reach out to even more parents now and hopes that Children’s Circle will be an added draw for people in her community.

    “It is a really great match for our community. It’s worth anybody looking into. Especially if you are in any way looking to make connections with other families, it’s a great place to start.”

    – Jen Wilson

    With the expansion of Circle of Parents to include Children’s Circle, the opportunity for Circle to make a holistic impact is growing, continuing to benefit both parents and children. When asked what she would say to anyone thinking about attending a Circle of Parents group, Wilson shared, “It is a really great match for our community. It’s worth anybody looking into. Especially if you are in any way looking to make connections with other families, it’s a great place to start.”

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