Magen LI-YILC outlines camp safety for parents
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“As parents, we have to build a protective shield,” said Dr. Schulman. She recounted how the pediatricians of Lakewood were taught to instruct their patients that no one but the doctor with the mother present or the mother can see the parts covered by a bathing suit. Two weeks later, there was a case of attempted abuse and the boy involved started screaming. Adults came running and when he was asked how he knew what to do he said, “Dr. Schwartz told me.”
“It’s simple,” said Pelcovitz. “Let them know they don’t have to silently accept it if it is uncomfortable. If an uncle tickles too much or an aunt kisses too much it’s not abuse, but is unpleasant and you don’t have to accept it. Say something.”
They also discussed the threat of bullying and intimidation, trying to encourage kids to be the anti-bully, to pull in and include those who would be excluded because they are not “cool.” Counselors should be held to normal common sense guidelines: no physical contact, no verbal abuse, two counselors there when kids are changing and, for parents on visiting day, if the child is changed in some way, check on it.
“We have to let our children know that no matter what is out there, they need to know that we continue to be there for them and they can come to us,” said Pelcovitz.
Dr. Schulman recounted an out of state yeshiva that is “under lock-down” where the students go to a mall, rent ipods with pornography overnight, and return them the next day. “We know how to get around parental controls,” she recounted them saying. Rules without a relationship means rebellion, she stated.
“Everyone said that the program was excellent,” noted Mrs. Naomi Maryles, a local parent. She said that the take home message was the “importance of open communication between you and your child, to always love them and to let them know that they can come to you with anything.” Another message was to “teach your children that they have autonomy over their own body, to respect adults and yet empower them that they are in charge of their own bodies.” She also pointed out that Dr. Schulman hoped that it will become a smaller issue because children will know how to say no and help and protect themselves.