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Warning Signs of Abuse in Children
The warning signs

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If you're a child who has been sexually abused, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) for help or visit www.childhelpusa.org.

If you're a parent, grandparent or guardian, the following signs may indicate your child has been molested, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Some of these behaviors may have other explanations, but it is important to assist your child no matter what the cause. Also, keep in mind that children do not always demonstrate obvious signs, but may do or say something that hints at the molestation.
  • Changes in behavior, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, fearfulness and excessive crying
  • Bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed or other sleep disturbances
  • Acting out with inappropriate sexual activity or showing an unusual interest in sexual matters
  • A sudden acting out of feelings or aggressive or rebellious behavior
  • Regression to infantile behavior; clinging
  • School or behavioral problems
  • Changes in toilet-training habits
  • A fear of certain places, people or activities
  • Bruises, rashes, cuts, limping; multiple or poorly explained injuries
Related Resources:
  • Family Watchdog
    www.familywatchdog.us
  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 
    www.missingkids.com
  • The Polly Klaas Foundation
    www.pollyklaas.org
  • The Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation
    www.jmlfoundation.com
  • Amber Alert
    www.amberalert.gov
Please note that Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities have no affiliation with and do not endorse those entities, projects, or websites referenced above, which are provided solely as a courtesy. You should conduct your own independent investigation before using the services of any such entities, projects, or websites. Information is provided for your reference only.

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    What Your Spouse Says About Having Another Child (and What They Really Mean)
    Caitlin Shetterly, author of Made for You and Me, on six things we talk about when we talk about having one more baby.
    baby and mother's hands
    Photo: Thinkstock

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    Our friends Andrea and Harlan are sitting around the kitchen table with us. It's 9 p.m., and we've pulled out a bottle of Pinot Noir even though we're all bleary eyed. Their son is konked out in our living room and ours is asleep in his bedroom. The day began around 6 a.m. and neither boy has napped, which has made for a very long haul of playing, arguing, pushing, pulling and then, finally, in desperation, some animated Richard Scarry on the TV. Yet in this moment, this adult time, despite the bone-aching desire for bed, despite knowing that tomorrow will start early once again with the yanking of toys, we want to stay up and talk. And the conversation inevitably turns to this: Are you guys going to try have another child?

    Dan and I are familiar with this theme. For the past six months, we've been covering this ground most nights of the week, circling around it like a dog trying to get comfortable with a bed he's not so sure is up to snuff. Here's what I know: There's the recession that leveled us when Dan lost his job; there's the fact that I'm 37 and the primary breadwinner; there's the pregnancy puking (which in my case lasted nine long months); there's my career (which I have even more desire to make work as the clock ticks); there's the exhaustion (we're aren't spring pups anymore); and then there's the guilt—the I-should-be-less-selfish-and-give-my-son-a-sibling-because-what's-five-more-years-of-my-life-anyway?

    But I know, as I write this, that I'm not exactly sure what runs through Dan's brain when we're having "the talk." I know some of the things he says, and I know some of the things I say. But the next morning, when I try to remember what we decided for this cycle of ovulation, I realize I heard words but am not sure what they mean. This got me wondering if other people I know are having this conversation as often (and as fruitlessly) as we are. So, I made a few phone calls and asked a few questions to find out what our spouses are really talking about when they talk about having another baby.

    What They Say: It'll be cheaper the second time around.
    What They Actually Mean: That night with Andrea and Harlan, I actually said out loud (I blame the Pinot) that I wanted another baby so that I could reuse all those baby clothes I've got all washed and folded and packed away in Tupperwares in our pantry. Harlan looked at me with an expression that attempted sympathy but telegraphed: "She's crazy!" Dan put his head down. All I meant was this: Babyhood is so fleeting—your kid is in each cute onesie for about five seconds and then grows out of it while you're taking a shower. Before you know, it you're packing that baby's SunButter-and-jelly sandwich into a lunchbox with John Deere tractors all over it and then you blink and they're going off to college. To only do this magical journey once—and a trial run at that—makes me feel gypped.

    Next: 4 more things your spouse is really thinking
    PAGE 1 of 2

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      8 (Free!) Things Your Kid Needs on the First Day of School
      Despite what kids say—usually with pleading, desperate eyes—an iPad or a pair of $200 jeans isn't really going to help them on the most anxiety-inducing day of the year. Here's what will.
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      Teacher with class

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      The Name of the Teacher
      The most obvious things are the ones we most always overlook. The name of the insufficiently paid, heroic individual who is going to make sure your kid can subtract or prove geometric theorems has been sitting on the kitchen counter all summer, twinkling at the bottom of a form. A parent can glance at it once and be ready. For kids, though, names are so much harder to remember. Quizzing your child on his teacher 's name until he nails it tells him, "Hey! This person is not just a hand puppet with chalk. She's a human being, the one you will respect and may, in very special cases, also adore." After having been greeted by her name—no mispronounced syllables—the teacher is, of course, all the more likely to give some of that respect and adoration back to your child.

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        Help Your Overscheduled Child
        Too many structured activities may be robbing children of the ability to develop their creative minds and depriving them of their most important resource: you.
        Child sleeping in class
        Photo: Thinkstock

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        Limit Activities.
        If you say yes to too many enrichment opportunities, the whole family will pay the price. Try cutting back on one activity per week per child and you'll be amazed at the difference. To determine what to keep and what to eliminate, consult the experts: your children. Ask them to write down three things they really want from you. You'll be surprised when they ask for more time alone with you.

        Make Family a Priority.
        Children are with us for a short time before they start their own lives. We ought to enjoy the brief time we have with them. If you start "being unproductive" with your kids, take a walk, play a board game, watch a movie, talk about anything. It says, 'I'm interested in you,' and that's what kids really want the most.

        Leave Empty Spaces on Your Calendar.
        Parents worry about kids' boredom, so they schedule their lives to keep them busy. But empty hours teach children how to create their own happiness—an important skill that everyone should develop. Unscheduled time encourages children to create, imagine, and see new possibilities.

        Trust Yourself.
        When it comes to your family, you are the expert. It's hard not to get caught up in the frenzy of "hyper-parenting" — scheduling your children for every activity you think they need. Remember, it's not our job to craft a life for our children, it's our job to provide for them, support them, and trust that they'll make the right decision.

        More Ways to Help Your Kids

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          Say "No" and Mean It
          Being able to set limits and boundaries with your children are all a critical part of having a healthy love for your children.
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          Mom and daughter

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          Set Limits and Boundaries
          • Try to broaden your definition of what it means to love your children. Too often mothers think that if they make their children upset or mad, then they are causing them emotional damage. But parents who set boundaries, limits and structure are more likely to have children who will develop the skills they need to find happiness and stability in life.
          • Learn to say "no" and mean it! And then you must explain why you are saying "no" to your child. This is the golden rule for all parents! It will teach your children about values, so they can start to understand your thinking and reasoning behind the no. If you are a parent who says "no" but doesn't mean it, then you are teaching your child not to respect you and you are not giving them the limits and boundaries they need to navigate this world more effectively. It could show up later on in life with their friends, co-workers and in their intimate relationships.
          • Decide what you want your child to value. And understand that begins with your values and what you believe will cultivate a happy and healthy child. You should want your child to value healthy relationships, good friendships, not "things". Teach them to expand their own world outside of the smallness that it naturally is.

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            6 Key People to Know at Your Child's School
            1 of 6
            School principal

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            Principal
            The principal runs the show and sets the tone and culture for the entire school. She solves problems, creates rules, polices the students, manages the staff, acts as a mentor, evaluates classrooms and, most importantly, constantly communicates with everyone from the teachers to the parents to the school board. It's a complex job and one that can't be done without parent support.

            Most principals were teachers at one point too, so they're quite familiar with classroom dynamics, working with children and the importance of parental involvement. They'll often make an effort to engage and help parents feel welcome, but don't hesitate to be the one who reaches out.

            Find out if the principal is holding any meetings, orientations, events or open houses to get to know parents, or consider working with other parents to host your own "meet the principal" breakfast or coffee hour.

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