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Resources for Kids

Truth About Abuse

There are different kinds of violence and abuse, like physical abuse and emotional abuse.  It happens when men and women are not treated as equals. Some kids grow up learning that men are supposed to be tough and macho, and women are supposed to do what they’re told. Kids can also learn that boys are better than girls from places like TV, video games and other people.  Then when they grow up they think that this is how men should treat women in relationships.  The truth is that boys and girls are equal and should be treated that way.

Physical Abuse is when a person touches your body in an unwanted or violent way. This may include: hitting, kicking, pulling hair, pushing, biting, choking, or using a weapon or another item to hurt you.

Verbal/Emotional Abuse is when a person says something or does something that makes you afraid or feel bad about yourself. This may include: yelling, name-calling, saying mean things about your family and friends, embarrassing you on purpose, telling you what to do, or threatening to hurt you or hurt themselves.

Other Abuse can happen when a person touches you or makes you touch them in any way that makes you feel creepy or uncomfortable.  This may include kissing or forcing you to touch that person’s private body parts.

Tough Stuff Q&As

Quiz: Find Out What You Know!

1. “My parents fight a lot. Sometimes my dad gets so angry he hits my mom. Is this normal? What can I do to stop it?”

What your dad is doing is wrong.  He thinks it’s okay to boss around your mom, to use his anger to scare her and hit her.  This is not okay and it’s against the law. Here’s what you can do:

  • Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t give up until you get help.
  • Call Kids Help Phone. 1-800-668-6868. You don’t have to give your name.
  • If it’s an emergency, call 911 or your local police number.

2. “Some boys tease and bug the girls in my class. Some of the girls don’t seem to mind, but I think what they are doing is dumb. What can I do to stop it?”

Those boys are acting dumb.  They’re acting like bullies to make themselves feel more important. This is not okay.  Boys and girls are equal.  It can be hard to stand up against this, but it’s important that these boys are told to stop.

See if the teasing bothers any of your friends in your class. Even if you find one other boy or girl who wants this behaviour to stop that would help. Come up with a plan to get them to stop. Say clearly, “This is wrong!  I don’t think we should be bugging or teasing those girls.”

Be prepared to tell your parent, guardian or teacher if these boys don’t stop.  They are not supposed to do this and the school has to help.

3. “I sometimes see an older boy treating his girlfriend really badly.  He bosses her around.  Is that normal?”

What he’s doing is wrong.  Some boys think it’s okay to control girls.  They boss them around and treat them like they’re not equal.  This is not okay and it’s not normal but it does happen.

Girls and boys are equal.  He doesn’t have the right to control her.  If you see a boy doing this, talk to an adult you trust for help. Some boys get the message that they’re supposed to push girls around and be tough. This is not right. Girls and boys should be treated with respect.

If someone ever treats you that way, talk to an adult you trust.  No one has the right to treat you badly.  You deserve to be with someone who will treat you with respect.

4. “My dad calls my mom names and makes her feel stupid.  Is this normal?”

This does happen, but it is not normal and it is always wrong. Some men think it’s okay to boss women around by calling them names or making them feel dumb.  They are wrong. All women and girls deserve respect, just like all boys and men deserve respect.

If you want to learn more about what to do or to talk about how it makes you feel, call Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868. You don’t have to give your name.

If your dad is doing more than name-calling and if he pushes, hits or threatens your mom in any way, this is not okay and it’s against the law. Here is what you can do:

  • Call Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868. You don’t have to give your name.
  • Talk to an adult you trust.
  • If it’s an emergency, call 911 or your local police number.

The Best Kind of Relationships

The Best Relationships

You have lots of relationships in your life: your parents, friends, brothers, sisters and others. The best relationships are ones that are healthy.

In a healthy, equal relationship:

  • Both boys and girls feel important and are treated as equals.
  • You can share your feelings and know you’ll be taken seriously.
  • Your ideas are important. Your suggestions are listened to.
  • You can talk about things without yelling.
  • You are honest with each other without being hurtful.
  • You feel safe and happy when you’re together.

Why would you want to have a healthy, equal relationship?

There are so many benefits to being in a healthy, equal relationship. Here are just a few:

  • Being open and sharing your feelings makes you feel good.
  • You feel comfortable when others listen to you and respect what you have to say and treat you as an equal.
  • You will feel better about yourself, do the things you like to do and feel you can try new things when you want to.
  • It feels good to be treated fairly and with respect.
  • Boys who treat girls like equals and girls who expect to be treated like equals set a good example for others.
  • It’s great when you’re liked for who you are.
  • You feel safe and respected for who you are.

Watch out for Unhealthy Relationships

Sometimes relationships don’t feel good. Some people do and say things to make their friends feel afraid or hurt. When this happens in a relationship it’s unhealthy and can turn into abuse. Here are some signs of an unhealthy relationship:

  • Trying to control what the other person does, like telling friends what to wear or who they can play with.
  • Yelling and screaming instead of talking things out.
  • Hurting someone’s feelings by calling them names like stupid or loser.
  • Hitting, pushing, grabbing or kicking.
  • Threatening someone, like pretending to hit them or saying things like, “If you don’t do what I say, you’re gonna get it.”
  • Jealousy, like when friends say they don’t want you to play with anyone else but them.
  • Bullying, teasing or picking on someone.
  • Telling someone to stop spending time with their friends and family, or to stop doing the things they like to do, like playing sports or being in the school play.
  • Pressuring someone to do anything they don’t want to do, like smoking, stealing or bullying someone.