Caring for the Soul

January 20, 2014

10 Strategies to Help My Child Overcome the Fear of the Dark


– No TV or video games or graphic books before bed.
– It’s okay to have a light on.
– Co-sleeping (sleeping with adult) is okay, but not recommended because it’s not solving the problem and could make it worst.
– Right now unsupervised sleep-over’s at friend’s houses is not a good idea- you don’t know what’s going on.
– Switch rooms or bedroom layout of child due to that perhaps something in room is scary – light from street coming in room.
– Calming bedtime routine – mom will know what this could be.
– Have a security item (this helps lessen anxiety so ct. can sleep) – meaning like a flashlight that ct. can keep by bed to make sure there are no monsters – or a time before bed to check to make sure all is safe – sometimes kids are scared of intruder so you can let them make sure doors are locked before bed or let child come up with own solution because only your child truly knows where his fear comes from. Some kids like to pretend that when they are completely under the covers then they are safe.
– Decrease child’s stress as much as possible – establishing a routine for kids helps with this.
– Perhaps have time before bed to get all energy out – because fear of dark is associated with a creative imagination of thinking there is something dangerous in dark.
– Also note, kids who watch too much TV or view things on monitors such as video games or YouTube videos have a greater time reaching a relaxed versus a stressed state of mind.

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September 30, 2011

Listening To Your Child’s Art (PART I)

Our children are constantly communicating with us. Yet, the irony here is that children have a limited vocabulary simply because they have not learned many words yet. So, children become creative and communicate via nonverbal methods. They articulating their needs through natural to them means of expressions, mannerism or the internal act of play. For a child, drawing is also one of these means of communicating.

For a child, drawing is a way to share fears, anxieties, concerns, joys, desires and much more. So it is crucial that we are listening to their drawings. If we only take the time to enter our children’s world of self-expression, we have the potential to enhance their physical, mental and emotional well-being. By listen to our children’s drawing we not only learn many things.

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September 16, 2011

Listening To Your Child’s Art (PART II)

Talking with your child about their art will help them process their feelings, but never force this discussion as it will lead to them feeling intimidated and perhaps will result in your child shutting down emotionally. Leave the choice up to your child when and if they would like to talk about their drawings or art pieces. Remember your child does not have that great of a vocabulary yet and this is why they prefer to talk to you via nonverbal means. You may also want to try using puppets when you are asking direct questions as your child will not feel as confronted. Also, reflecting on their art instead of asking direct questions will allow this process to go more smoothly. For instance perhaps use the following phrase such as: “I noticed you used that color” or “I wonder what this character in your picture is feeling”.

Although you can learn a lot about your child by looking at what they are saying through their art, don’t act hastily and over exaggerate your child’s expressions. The important thing is to listen unconditionally and keep your eyes and ears open to any clues your child is giving you. Many times this comes through repetition of drawing the same thing over and over. This is a good place to start!

March 20, 2011

How to Detect a Pedophile: Characteristics, Mannerisms and Personality

By Kathryn N. Donev, LPC/MSHP, NBCC.

Pedophilia is a medically diagnosable disorder typically “defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 and older) characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary)”(Wikipedia). It is a disorder that does not discriminate by race, class or age. The Department of Justice estimates, approximately 400,000 convicted pedophiles currently reside in the United States (Snyder). The following will attempt to present a profile of a pedophile in order to make aware their tactics and typical personality traits used as part of a strategy to take advantage of innocent children.

According to the American Psychiatric Association the overwhelming majority of pedophiles are male. They are typically more religious than not and over the age of 30 (Montaldo, Ruggles). Researcher reports a correlation between pedophilia and certain psychological characteristics, such as poor social skills (Emmers-Sommer). Pedophiles are typically antisocial with few friends and not in a relationship. If in a relationship, they will more likely be in a superficial one with a person whom has a child of their preferred age range whom they can target. If married, the relationship is more “companion” based with no sexual relations and is typically dysfunctional providing only a façade to their real identity (Montaldo).

Being an introvert, they will prefer to keep personal information limited. They are often vague about past history. If closed off to real intimate relationships then they do not have to share their real identity from which they are hiding. This achieved goal of avoidance is considered a great personal accomplishment and is one of the ways they compensate for low self-esteem. However, they will present such an overwhelming caring personality that purposes to form “intimate” bonds in which they will invest in listening to the lives of those around them. This bond will appear so real that one overlooks that there is no reciprocity of sharing and in reality you know nothing to very little about the pedophile with whom you feel close.

Pedophiles may also demonstrate increased personal affection. You may observe that this type of person is “a hugger” or will constantly enter ones personal space and do so at times without invitation. This characteristic is accepted as a personality trait and innocently overlooked and excused. After time, one begins to subconsciously let their guard down as systematically the pedophile becomes closer to you and your loved ones entering an intimate realm. They also may attempt to exaggerate situations to test the limits of an individuals understanding. For example if another protests the initial reaction or exaggeration presented by the pedophile then this information give an insight to ones awareness level and how easily they may be manipulated.

Even though some studies show that a pedophile has lower intellectual abilities and self-esteem (Marshall) they are skillful professional manipulators. They are so successful they are able to present a non-unlikeable persona. Meaning they are overly friendly and engaging to the point where one finds themselves in a relationship without even making a conscious effort. Their personality is so magnetic that it attracts children and adults alike. One allows themselves to continue with such relationship due to the appearances of trustworthiness and respectability presented by the pedophile. They are people who are in good standing in the community and will find themselves in a position of helping such as coaching, ministry leaders, volunteers, and so forth (Ruggles, Wooden).

Child molesters often make efforts to gain access to or authority over children (Wooden). Because the internal desire of a pedophile is for a child to become a possession, a child is the focus of great destructive obsession. A child is the focal point of the world of a pedophile and may often be referenced in terms which are drastically uplifting or angelic such as innocent, heavenly or divine (Montaldo). This strong child advocacy is often viewed as an innocent protective act and is one of the reasons why they are allowed to get close to children. You may also overlook all of the physical affection or photographs taken of a child because this is done in a manner which is portrayed as a service to children across the board. If a pedophile does take pictures in the open, others will be convinced that such are not for personal use but for the greater good perhaps being published in a child advocacy resource or so forth.

A pedophile, even though they charm their way into the lives of adults by trade, they prefer to be around children more so feeling more comfortable and understood. They surround themselves with items that will make them more appealing to children perhaps even including the way they dress. Some even control the way they talk and prefer to use a soft, slow, gentle, childlike, and more so feminine voice over a strong, threatening, controlling manly voice. They obsessively prefer childlike activities over adult ones. They may test the acceptance level of playing children’s’ games with children by first attempting to see if adults like to play such games as well.

It is true that some pedophiles are highly intellectual. Yet they will use any intellectual difficulty or perceived difficulty to their advantage and enjoy being the “underdog”. This allows them to reach out to even the most unaware unknowledgeable person for help with everyday tasks. It is a part of human nature to help those in need and a pedophile will use this to their advantage. This is how they get their foot in the door in order to silently but skillfully creep into your community, social network and ultimately your personal home. You may see this characteristic demonstrated in the constant reminder that they are from a different town and are not familiar with the local culture or area. Or they may obsessively seek your guidance, assistance or approval for even the smallest of tasks. They play off of ones need to be needed.

Remember pedophiles are professional manipulators and you will have to make a conscious effort to see through the sophisticated front which they have learned to master. Keep in mind that you should always trust your internal instincts. This is one area in which a pedophile has no advantage over you. Do not attempt to convince yourself that what you are sensing is not real for it is when you fall into this trap that you begin to slowly loose touch with reality and are bewildered and sucked into a lye one which is too dangerous to ignore. Never be afraid by the lies that I will hurt ones feelings if I make aware my observations or I am being too pushy by trying to get more history on a person who is so closed off. When all of the signs are present it is our responsibility as true child advocates to protect our children at any cost.

2011. Copyright. All Rights Reserved by Author and CCMI Consortium. Not to be reproduced in any manner without permission of author or CCMI.

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association. Fact sheet: pedophilia. Available Accessed March 01, 2011.

Emmers-Sommer, T. M., Allen, M., Bourhis, J., Sahlstein, E., Laskowski, K., Falato, W. L., et al. A meta-analysis of the relationship between social skills and sexual offenders. 2004. Communication Reports, 1–17.

Marshall, W. L. The relationship between self-esteem and deviant sexual arousal in nonfamilial child molesters. 1997. Queens University. Sage Journal Publication of Behavior Modification.

Montaldo, Charles. Profile of a pedophile. Available at: Accessed March 17, 2011.

Ruggles, Tammy L. Profile of a pedophile. Available at February 2009. Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 15:46. Accessed March 5, 2011.

Snyder, Howard N. Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics; 2000. Publication NCJ 182990.

Wikipedia. Article: pedophilia. Available at Accessed March 15, 2011.

Wooden, Ken, (with Rosemary Webb & Jennifer Mitchell). Think First & Stay Safe™ Parent Guide. A profile of the child molester. 2010. Publication Child Lures Prevention/Teen Lures Prevention.

December 10, 2009

10 Basic Principles of Working with Abandoned and Abused Children

George Barna has rightly stated: “If you want to have a lasting influence upon the world you must invest in people’s lives; and if you want to maximize your investment, then you must invest in those lives while they are young.”

1. Alway keep in mind  it is a difficult and complex task

2. Provide a safe environment and relationship

3. Don’t force the process, there is power in simply presence

4. Be consistent at ALL times

5. Provide unconditional love

6. Empowerment instills within hope

7. Give positive praise  prior to negative acting out

8. Don’t give false hope – make only promises you can keep

9. Remember each child is unique – look at their developmental stage rather than their chronological age.

10. Allow means of release

October 30, 2009

Child Care and Learning your ABC’s

According to the New International Version of the Bible, Psalms 127:3 states, “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.” A child is a precious gift directly from God and therefore should be greatly appreciated, cared for and helped in all ways possible. My philosophy on how to best help a child is as simple as remembering your “ABC’s”: “Admit”, “Believe” and “Care”.

1) Admit: a child is a real person with real problems and needs one on whom to depend.

In experiencing everyday life one needs to admit the reality that is at hand. By this I mean, be aware that we do not live in a make-believe fairytale that can be scripted to our liking. When considering the life of a child, facing reality is crucial. First, one must admit that a child does not have a choice of whether or not to enter the world or to whom or where to be born. Yet the fact remains that the birth of a child is a real occurrence. Be reminded that existence is not the fault of a child and blame of being born should not be placed upon a child. Beyond the fairytale, in the real world, a child will have real problems and these need real solutions. This brings me to my second point of admitting that a child can and will have problems. Never underestimate what a child is going through by considering it insignificant.

To a child, even what may appear to be the smallest dilemma can be disturbing. Third, admit that, wanted or unwanted, pleasant or unpleasant, since a child is a real person with real problems he or she needs to have an individual upon whom to depend; a person to whom problems can be brought. A child needs this stability in order to have a feeling of security. Remember that you can be that special someone who can make a difference in the life of a child simply by being available; physically, as well as emotionally.

2) Believe: in a child and support him or her no matter how many imperfections are present.

When a person has someone to believe in him or her, this provides to that individual what I like to call a “reach the sky” potential. A feeling of self-worth is instilled within those who are believed in and supported. Therefore, it is important to believe in a child, whatever his or her potential may be. Believing must also involve acceptance. One must accept a child as a unique individual who is human. Being human involves imperfections and when evaluating a child we should not expect perfection. When dealing with a child, allow for failure with acceptance. This acceptance of imperfections needs to be followed by approval. Not approval of failing, but approval of the child. Accept the total child with flaws and all. Let the child know that even when failure comes about he or she is still supported and loved. Believe in a child even in the midst of failure. One must believe in a child’s capabilities and support his or her actions and decisions but this should be done with the child’s best interest at heart.

3) Care: for a child with genuine affection.

Finally, to best help a child, show genuine concern and affection. Show a child that you really care. As humans, we are emotional beings and each of us has a need for affection. According to Maslow, affection is the third level in his hierarchy of needs. The first level in Maslow’s hierarchy is physiological needs and the second is the need for safety. Although it is third on the list, I would argue that it is of no lesser value than the need for one’s physiological or safety needs to be met. The need for affection must be satisfied for an individual to feel content with him or herself and eventually in the words of Maslow to become “self-actualized”. It is in my opinion that the need for affection is one of humanities most important needs. It is very important in the early development of a child’s life that affection is given. Without this, development is hindered. If one does not receive affections from others as a child then that individual will not properly know how to give or receive affection. With affection, comes the sense of purpose.

Without affection, the opposite is true, and this will result in the search for belongingness. The manner in which a child can be told that he or she is cared for can be done in many more ways than just words. Words must be followed by actions. Listening, being available, and paying attention to a child are all ways of saying “I care”.


Ways to best help a child are among the simplest. It is important to take preventative measure that aim to protect a child and allow that child to have the emotional strength to function. If we instill within a child positive investments, which are, found with in the “ABC’s” discussed above, as the child becomes an adult he or she can use these qualities to counterweigh the negative aspects that unfortunately exist.

DATE WRITTEN:  January 28, 2004

October 20, 2009

Child Moral Development: When No One Is Watching . . .

Moral development is defined as the development regarding rules and conventions about what people should do in their interactions with other people. Such development involves the development of thoughts, feelings and actions concerning standards or what is right and wrong, which includes an interpersonal and intrapersonal dimension. The intrapersonal dimension accounts for ones actions when they are not engaged socially and the opposite is true for explaining the interpersonal dimension.

The social learning theory suggests that we learn via social experiences. Meaning our behaviors and actions result from what we model from others. Therefore, the social learning theory might explain moral development in children as a result of modeling observed moral behaviors and actions. When a child is provided with models that behave morally, that child is prone to adopt the observed actions.

Social learning theorists believe that moral behavior is influenced by a particular situation and that ones ability to resist temptation is closely correlated with self-control. Therefore, a child must be taught to control impulses, learn to be patient and to delay being gratified. This is best done through role modeling and providing appropriate examples. It is also suggested that when a child is rewarded for acting out a modeled behavior the likelihood of that behavior re-occurring increases. The opposite is also true; when the behavior is punished or not rewarded then the behavior will likely decrease. Therefore, it is crucial to not only provide a child with the appropriate models, but a child must be encourage for acting out moral behaviors in order to understand that such behavior is a good thing.

However, when there is no reward present is when this intrapersonal dimension comes into play. This is when one does moral acts for the sake of doing what is right. It is important to instruct a child at an early age and instill within them this concept of right and wrong in order for one to act morally when it is thought that no one is watching. When no one is watching is when the true sense of morals arises.

DATE WRITTEN:  July 18, 2006