Topic: Uncategorized

Hidden Scars: A Look at Emotional Abuse in Sports

While we often talk about the long-term, adverse effects that stem from physical and sexual abuse and neglect, the toll and trauma of emotional abuse can be just as damaging.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emotional abuse refers to behaviors that harm a child’s self-worth or emotional well-being. Examples include name calling, shaming, rejection, withholding love and threatening. Children who have suffered emotional abuse or neglect may find it difficult to form healthy relationships, become overly reliant and dependent on one person, or develop problems with emotions and memory.

Within the world of sports, emotional abuse is an under-acknowledged but common form of abuse that occurs at all levels, from youth and grassroots amateur sports organizations to professional leagues.

Emotional abuse within sports and athletics typically manifests as shaming and mocking for poor performance, using inappropriate nicknames, denying attention, making threats of repercussions, and excluding or singling out individuals.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport– the first national organization of its kind focused on ending all forms of abuse in sports – has endeavored to make athlete well-being the centerpiece of our nation’s sports culture through abuse prevention, education and accountability. Katie Hanna, the Director of Education & Outreach for the Center, explains that abusive behaviors are usually demonstrated by coaches, but can also be perpetrated by an athlete’s teammates or even parents.

“No matter the source, emotional abuse and bullying can have a lasting impact on athletes. These bullying behaviors can manifest feelings of shame and degrade self-esteem, pushing some athletes to leave their team or even quit the sport entirely because of it.”

Within the world of sports, Hanna adds, the power imbalance between coaches and athletes can lead to that relationship degrading into an unhealthy one.

“At the Center, we offer training for sports groups, coaches and parents that educates them on how to create a safe and supportive environment for athletes. Ultimately, it comes down to prevention and changing the sports culture to focus on building healthy relationships that foster the growth and improvement of athletes.”

In addition to offering trainings and consultations to sports organizations, the U.S. Center for SafeSport responds to and resolves allegations of physical, sexual and emotional misconduct. The Center also has exclusive authority over reports of alleged sexual abuse or conduct related to the underlying sexual misconduct within the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and its 50 National Governing Bodies. Since launching in 2017, there have been 3,256 reports made to the Center, 552 sanctions issued, and 796,505 SafeSport trainings completed.

“The most important thing you can do as a parent, coach or athlete is to speak up when you see or hear something inappropriate happening on the court or field,” said Hanna. “The more we openly discuss this issue, the more we can ensure that every athlete will be safe, supported and strengthened through sport.”

To learn more about the U.S. Center for SafeSport, click here.

30 Ways to Show Kids You Care

As children grow and develop, support and positivity in their daily lives mean a lot to them. It is important for parents, caretakers, neighbors, coaches and other adults to show children that they care. When a community invests in children’s mental, emotional and physical well-being, they are raised to be happy and healthy.

“Children thrive when they hear encouraging words,” says The Kempe Foundation President & COO Julia Stone. “Meaningful phrases like ‘I’m proud of who you are,’ ‘You are intelligent and kind,’ and ‘You can do this’ give children a sense of capability and self-worth.”

Communities can also support children by spending time with them, even if it’s just a few minutes.

“Many studies have shown that quality time is more beneficial for children than quantity,” says Stone. “Even if you only have 15 minutes, there are lots of ways to make the time you do have impactful. You can read a book together, make arts and crafts, play outside or just sit and have a conversation about life. Children feel valued when asked their day and how they’re feeling.”

Research also shows that affection and genuine displays of unconditional love make children happier and healthier. Children who have experienced affection and nurturing from a young age have shown more frequent levels of enhanced brain development throughout life’s growth stages. Simple ways to express positive emotions to children can include hugs, meaningful eye-contact, and words of admiration.

“When children are shown unconditional love, they are given a feeling of stability that enhances mental capacity,” says Stone. “Strong bonds with loved ones help shape children into more well-rounded and well-adjusted human beings. Just a little time and energy from adults in a community can truly change the life of a child for the better.”

Encouraging words, quality time and affection make a world of difference for children.

This April, as organizations across the country recognize Child Abuse Prevention Month, Kempe encourages communities to join it in raising happy healthy children.

Dedicating time each day to show that you care is the best way to raise happy healthy children. Download and hang this list on your refrigerator as inspiration. Each day, choose one of these activities to do with a child:

  1. Color with your child
  2. Give a hug just because
  3. Build a blanket fort together and hang out inside
  4. Say “I love you” at breakfast, lunch and dinner
  5. Take a walk together
  6. Let your child choose a game and play it with them
  7. Catch your child doing something right and celebrate them with verbal praise
  8. Plan a meal and cook it together
  9. Read a book together
  10. Tell your child a happy story from your childhood
  11. Do a craft together, and don’t worry about cleaning up the mess until the end
  12. Pack a picnic and go to the park together
  13. Take your child on a nature walk and play “I spy”
  14. Put your phone and electronic devices in “time out” for one hour
  15. Send your child a special card to open in the mail
  16. Let your child pick out a picture of him or herself to put in a frame in your house
  17. Ask your child where they would like to go and take them there
  18. Pack a love note in your child’s lunch
  19. Stop everything for 20 minutes and do only what your child wants to do
  20. Do a household chore together
  21. Create a scavenger hunt for your child and a friend around your neighborhood
  22. Do something kind for a neighbor together – like rake a lawn or bring them cookies
  23. Go to the museum together
  24. Take your child to the grocery store and work together to pick out the ingredients for a healthy meal
  25. Color the driveway with chalk together
  26. Play dress up together
  27. Tell your child specifically what is unique or special about them
  28. Offer a word of encouragement when your child tries something difficult
  29. Finger paint together
  30. Make funny faces together and laugh

Thank you for your commitment to protecting children and strengthening families.

 

Kempe Foundation to benefit from Short Story and Poetry Collection from TL;DR Press

TL;DR Press has opened a call for submissions to create a family-themed short story and poetry collection for The Kempe Foundation to release during the holiday season for their Winter Quarterly.

The call is open to any genre of fiction short story or poetry with a maximum entry of 3,000 words and one story per submission. Submissions must have family – whether by blood or bond – as a central theme. All profits from the sale of the Winter Quarterly will go directly to The Kempe Foundation.

“We have high expectations, given the submission quality of our past collections, of what our writing community has in store for this Quarterly,” says Sarah Linders, one of the 10 co-founders of TL;DR Press. “Partnering with a charity as impactful as The Kempe Foundation has all of us very excited. We work closely with the charities that we partner with, and finding a good match is key to a great collection.”

The Kempe Foundation has worked for 45 years to prevent and treat abused and neglected children. They work to keep all children safe and healthy by supporting experts in the field who are developing and delivering cutting-edge programs proven to reduce the incidences of child maltreatment. They advocate for policies and increased funding for programs that protect children from abuse and neglect. They also partner with human service agencies and other nonprofit organizations to raise awareness of the factors that contribute to child abuse and neglect. The Kempe Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based out of Denver, Colorado.

“Allfamilies have stories to tell, regardless of their culture or their circumstances,” says Julia Stone, president and chief operating officer for The Kempe Foundation. “We look forward to being a part of this collection of family stories that will bring others strength, hope and inspiration.”

All writers who submit to the collection can have their work reviewed and edited by a member of the Winter Quarterly editorial team, with time to edit and re-submit before a decision is made on their acceptance into the collection. This support is made possible thanks to the dual mission of TL;DR Press, a volunteer-run, for-charity publisher of short story and poetry collections, to support charity and emerging writers.

“We’re the only volunteer press giving every writer who submits to us detailed feedback,” says Linders. “Feedback is one of the hardest things for new and emerging writers to receive. We give back to the writers through mentorship and editing expertise, shaping submissions into the best they can be. This approach is a win for the submitting writers, for us as a publisher, and for the charity because it creates great work.”

The Press has already published two charity-funding anthologies since its inception in February of 2018: TL;DR: A Redditwriters Mixtape Vol. 1 in March 2018 to benefit Doctors Without Borders and the Women’s Anthology: Carrying Fire in October 2018 to benefit the Endometriosis Foundation of America.

“We have a fantastic team of writers from across countries, genres, and skillsets. We are powered by a community of almost 100 writers, who we run contests, host workshops, and facilitate discussion for. Our community, in turn, submits to and volunteers their time and talents for our collections,” says Linders. “TL;DR Press and the ‘#tldrwriters’ have created something special, fueled by charity, and we show no signs of slowing down.”

The call for submissions closes November 11, 2018, and submission guidelines are available on the Press’ website.