All About Abuse – types, signs and prevention…

All about Abuse

In light of recent events regarding sexual, domestic as well as child abuse, I thought it imperative to write about abuse.

It is important for everyone to understand what abuse is, types and how to detect it.

What is Abuse

Abuse according to Wikipedia is the improper usage or treatment of a thing, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. It also means the violent treatment of a person or animal. It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst cases can result in death. There are different types of abuse, and abuse in whatever form often leads to devastating outcomes.

Abuse can happen to anybody – young, old, male, female, animals even objects can be abused. Abuse is always wrong and can be difficult to talk about. This can be because of fear of stigmatisation, shame, guilt and confusion.

all about abuse

Abuse is often about power and the person who abuses uses that power to get an individual to do things they don’t want to do. It is hurtful either mentally or physically.

Abuse isn’t always carried out by a stranger, it can be by a familiar person, which can make it hard to speak out. The danger is, family or others who don’t know about the abuse will think it is safe to leave the victim with this person. This is why it is important to be aware of any abuse as soon as possible

Abuse is always wrong and if you tell someone, they can help to make it stop.

There are many different types of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.

  1. Physical Abuse: This is when someone hurts another on purpose. It is the most common type of abuse and certainly the easiest form of abuse to spot as it is non-accidental harm to the body. It can range from physical injuries such as hitting, pushing, wounding etc. to things such as misuse of medication, inappropriate use of restraint and dehydration/malnourishment.
  2. Sexual Abuse: This is when an individual is touched where they shouldn’t be or forced, tricked, or pressured to take part in a sexual activity. Sexual abuse includes being touched, kissed or forced to have sex without consent and often by an older person.
  3. Psychological Abuse: also known as Verbal or Emotional Abuse is when an individual’s self-esteem and emotional well being is being damaged. It is deliberately causing emotional and mental pain. Verbal abuse is when an individual is being constantly shouted at and told horrible and demeaning things. While emotional abuse involves deliberately trying to scare, humiliate, isolate or ignore an individual. Emotional abuse can be part of other abuse and it can also happen on its own.
  4. Neglect: This is when a person – usually an elderly, young or dependent person is not being looked after or kept healthy.
  5. Modern Slavery: Modern Slavery is an international crime. Slave Masters and Traffickers will deceive, coerce and force adults into a life of abuse, callous treatment and slavery. It includes human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude, sexual exploitation, such as escort work, prostitution and pornography. Debt bondage – being forced to work to pay off debts that realistically they never will be able to pay etc is another form of modern slavery.
  6. Domestic Abuse: this could be a kind of ‘physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence, it, however, takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of cohesive and controlling behaviour’. People should be aware that domestic violence is not always physical and also includes forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’.
  7. Child Abuse: Child abuse is more common than we like to think and could happen to any child anywhere. Statistics show that every year thousands of children are abused physically by a parent or someone known. Child abuse is characterised by any actions of a carer that could potentially harm a child’s mental or physical health. Research shows that many aggressors were abused themselves as children. Child abuse, unfortunately, could take the form of any of the abuse types on this list including child labour and exploitation.
Abuse

Abuse is usually about power, it involves someone using their power to get another person to do what they do not want to do. Abusive behaviour can have a significant impact on our mental health and well-being – not only at the time of the abuse, but there can be lasting effects throughout a person’s life.

Abuse

Signs of Abuse

Child Abuse
  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
  • becoming withdrawn and isolated
  • seeming anxious
  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive
  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any
  • poor bond or relationship with a parent
  • knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age
  • running away or going missing
  • always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body.
  • Expressions of anger, frustration, fear or anxiety
  • An air of silence when a particular person is present
  • Insomnia
Abuse
Sexual Abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncooperative and aggressive behaviour
  • A change of appetite
  • weight loss/gain
  • Signs of distress: tearfulness, anger
  • Bruising, particularly to the thighs, buttocks and upper arms and marks on the neck
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Bleeding, pain or itching in the genital area
  • Unusual difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Foreign bodies in genital or rectal openings
  • Infections, unexplained genital discharge, or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pregnancy in a woman who is unable to consent to sexual intercourse
  • The uncharacteristic use of explicit sexual language or significant changes in sexual behaviour or attitude
  • Incontinence not related to any medical diagnosis
  • Self-harming
  • Poor concentration, withdrawal, sleep disturbance
  • Excessive fear/apprehension of, or withdrawal from, relationships
  • Fear of receiving help with personal care
  • Reluctance to be alone with a particular person
Physical Abuse
  • Physical evidence of violence such as bruising, cuts, broken bones
  • Verbal abuse and humiliation in front of others
  • Fear of outside intervention
  • Damage to home or property
  • Isolation – not seeing friends and family
    Limited access to money
  • No explanation for injuries or inconsistency with the account of what happened
  • Injuries are inconsistent with the person’s lifestyle
  • Bruising, cuts, welts, burns and/or marks on the body or loss of hair in clumps
  • Frequent injuries
  • Unexplained falls
  • Subdued or changed behaviour in the presence of a particular person
  • Signs of malnutrition
  • Failure to seek medical help.
  • Low self-esteem
Abuse
Men and boys can also be victims of abuse
Signs of Psychological Abuse
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sleep
  • Unexpected or unexplained change in behaviour
Signs of Neglect
  • Malnutrition
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Bed sores
  • Confusion
  • Over-sedation
  • Deprivation of meals may constitute “wilful neglect”

Conclusion

Abuse is never good and we all should do everything possible to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone around us. Let’s all be aware of the signs so that we can look out for it not just with our children, but with their friends, neighbours, employees, colleagues etc. You may help save a life by being observant.

During my research on abuse, I came upon a type of abuse which may not seem so common but is apparently very common now in our society.

Religious/Spiritual Abuse

“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,everyone deals falsely.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.

Jeremiah 6:13-14

Spiritual abuse revolves around a person’s spirituality or religion. This type of abuse includes attacking another’s belief system, denying access to a house of worship or forced participation in a cult and exploitation

Spiritual abuse’ covers a wide variety of behaviours, but can be summarised as the use of spiritual authority or spiritual means in order to demean, manipulate, control or exploit someone. It involves Psychological manipulation and could be intentional or innocent. Sadly spiritual abuse could take the form of financial exploitation as well as sexual abuse and parents should be observant of their children and relationships with spiritual/religious leaders as well as religious brothers and sisters.

My major concern is on child abuse. It’s hard to believe the stories coming out recently about sexual (child abuse) that has been going on over the years. It gladdens my heart that victims are now finding their voices and talking about their experience thereby finding healing as well as helping people know what to look out for.

Victim Blaming

If you’re one of the people who blame victims, please desist from this. You were not present and have no idea what victims have endured over the years. Some successfully block such encounters but not all can do this. Whilst I’m aware that some ladies lie about it, most of the cases are true and the victims should be supported not victimised.

Predators

Predators are people who ruthlessly exploit others. A common trend in sexual abuse stories is the predators are usually known to the victim. Predators are usually people children are familiar with and have access to the children. We’ve seen sad cases of fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters as well as domestic help molesting children. The best a parent can do for their child is to be present. If you can’t be present most of the time please be observant and ask questions. If you can, put CCTV around the house and any other security measure you can.

Please be aware that female employees also abuse, don’t let your guards down because you have a female maid, female maids have also been known to abuse both male and female children sexually, emotionally as well as physically.

Keypoints

  • Be accessible, let your child(ren) know they can tell you anything
  • Tell them about their body, let them know what part of the body is private and should never be touched by anyone.
  • Assure your children that there is nothing at all they do that can ever be too bad to tell you, let them know you’ll love them no matter what.
  • Teach your children to respect other peoples privacy and body.
  • Let your children know anyone who tells them to keep a secret should be reported.
  • Let them know they should scream if they find themselves in a situation they’re not comfortable with.
  • Do not leave your child(ren) alone with drivers, lesson teachers etc.

They’re so many things to look out for as we live in a wicked dark world, the best we can do is be vigilant. Ask questions, more questions and even more questions and don’t make any topic a taboo.
Please beware of grooming.

Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or young person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them. Children and young people can be groomed online, in person or both – by a stranger or someone they know. This could be a family member, a friend or someone who has targeted them – like a teacher, faith group leader or sports coach.

It can be difficult to tell if a child is being groomed – the signs aren’t always obvious and may be hidden. Older children might behave in a way that seems to be “normal” teenage behaviour, masking underlying problems.

Signs of grooming include:
  • being very secretive about how they’re spending their time, including when online
  • having an older boyfriend or girlfriend
  • having money or new things like clothes and mobile phones that they can’t or won’t explain
  • underage drinking or drug taking
  • spending more or less time online or on their devices
  • being upset, withdrawn or distressed
  • sexualised behaviour language or an understanding of sex that’s not appropriate for their age
  • spending more time away from home or going missing for periods of time.

A child is unlikely to know they’ve been groomed. They might be worried or confused and less likely to speak to an adult they trust. If a teacher is taking interest in your child and showing them favour be very careful and report to school authorities if it’s getting out of hand. Let your child know to inform you if any teacher is giving them preferential treatment.

The world is innately evil, abuse didn’t start today and unfortunately won’t end anytime soon. The best we can do is empower our children by giving them information so they know what to do if they find themselves in such situations. Please be a present parent and an ever-ready listening ear to your children, that’s the best service you can offer them.

Good luck to us all.

Recommended books for children

Aunty Lulu

Recommended reads on safety

https://www.myauntylulu.com/emergency-101-how-informed-should-children-be/

https://www.myauntylulu.com/drug-addiction/

CREDITS

https://www.tameside.gov.uk/AdultServices/Safeguarding-Adults-Signs-and-Symptoms-of-Abuse

https://www.nspcc.org.uk/

https://www.scie.org.uk/safeguarding/adults/introduction/types-and-indicators-of-abuse

https://www.personnelchecks.co.uk/info-centre/safeguarding-hub/types-of-abuse/

Follow:

My Mo and I – Tola’s Down Syndrome Story

My Mo and I Tola's Story

I am honoured to interview a lady I have a lot of respect for.

Tola had read some of the stories of the wonderful mums raising children with additional needs featured on the blog and has been an ardent blog follower since then. She has become one of the wonderful relationships this blog has accorded me.

Tola is mum to 2 boys and a beautiful princess Mo, who was born with an extra chromosome. Read about how Mo’s birth has motivated Tola into starting a foundation for children with down syndrome especially those born into less privileged homes and how she’s helping Mo blossom and break boundaries.

Lets meet Tola;

Tola Makinde

My name is Tola Makinde, you can call me TM although some people I’ve known for over 4 decades call me Sola.

Early Life

I am from Ikare Akoko in Ondo state and the first child of my parents. I started my education with Stee international School, (popularly known as Subuola nursery and primary school as far back as 1978). I attended FGGC Bida for a while before crossing over to Federal Government Girls College Shagamu, in Ogun State and later obtained a BSc in Business Management from the most peaceful university in the caliphate city of Sokoto, Usman Danfodio University. 

I am an advocate for persons living with Down syndrome and other intellectual or learning differences; bridging the gap between children with special needs, their families and community.  I describe myself as a caregiver, a creative thinker, counsellor, an early intervention enthusiast, a developmental interventionist for children born this way. I love playing and helping children realize their superpower. 

Deeply concerned about my daughter’s development, I gave up my 11 years career as a seasoned banker and continued my small scale self-employment before making a lifelong decision of devoting my time and energy to ensuring that children living with Down Syndrome and their families are encouraged so that they never feel alone on the journey. 

Some of my friends think I’m funny but I think I just love to be light-hearted and happy.  I am free spirited, unapologetic about it and love to be myself.  Trust me, I’m still practising how to be calm by sitting (not standing) to watch a movie or two.  In my secondary school days, I participated in sports and I represented my school in high jump and javelin.

Mummy and Mo
You mentioned your daughter in your introduction, was your pregnancy with her different from that of your older children?

Her pregnancy was smooth except for one or two bouts of malaria compared to my other pregnancies.  Nothing in pregnancy suggested that she would be a special child.  Also, no prenatal test was carried out to check for genetic abnormalities.  The Chronic villus sampling test (CVS), a prenatal test or the Amniocentesis (Amniotic Fluid Test..ATF) is a test that’s rarely done in Nigeria to detect birth defects.

How did you discover she had a special condition?

Five days after my daughter was born, the doctors confirmed a diagnosis of Down syndrome.  It was a rude shock!  I was in denial initially and didn’t want to believe it as I had prior knowledge about Down syndrome and its lifelong challenges, most of which can be addressed with the right intervention. I thought about the reality, the pain, sacrifices, the trauma and the society plagued with ignorance. 

How did you and your family react to the diagnosis?

It was a rude shock as mentioned earlier, for a couple of weeks or months, it felt like the world had crumbled on me. The shame, rejection. I asked so many questions but didn’t get answers. It shook my faith in God. Why would God give me such a child?

I felt I didn’t deserve to have a child like that.  I was angry and sad and was trying to check if I had failed God in any way.  The good part is I didn’t have to live in denial for so long.  It was very hard to recover from the shock but I moved on shortly after.

What Obstacles did you face after delivery?

I didn’t see my baby 24 hours after delivery.  Her delivery was different from my previous ones.  There was so much silence during her delivery and the doctors and nurses wore long faces.  She has birth asphyxia, a condition where babies do not cry after delivery.  I immediately knew there was a problem.

Five days after she was born, the doctors confirmed a diagnosis of Down syndrome. It was a hard time for me but I handled the stigma well because I knew people were simply ignorant. 

Some days, I prayed I would wake up from my dream, I wished the features away but ironically, the features are more like the hallmark appearance unique to Down syndrome. I lived in fear of the unknown because I knew there was little or no acceptance of the condition in this part of the world.  It was a tough time for me. It felt like the whole world had crumbled on me. She was diagnosed with heart defects and that meant surgery. It was a very turbulent period for my family.

I faced it with all I had, took the bull by the horn and keyed into early intervention with God on my side. I started physical therapy when she was 2weeks old and intensified as the months rolled by even with the heart condition which subjected us to frequent visits to the hospital for oxygen and nebulization. The most important thing during this period was that God gave me the grace to face it, my husband and immediate family were there for me and I had a few friends I could cry to.   

How did you overcome the obstacle?

It was the beginning of a long-life journey.  Those obstacles came in different measures and for a moment I felt there would never be an end to all the challenges.   The roller coaster emotional ride began.  Not enough tears could change the diagnosis.  I would cry with my mom daily.  It was from one sad news to another back then. 

Like I said earlier, there were frequent unplanned trips to the hospital to give her oxygen, monitor her breathing, nebulise her and 6 months later after a 2nd echocardiogram was carried out, it revealed her tender heart had a defect.  How does one overcome such? Another phase of worrying, stress and hopelessness overwhelmed me. 

My friend in the United States helped me through the initial stage. I started engaging Mo in various oral motor, physical and occupational therapy. I did not let the scary reports I read about Down syndrome get to me. My husband and family were very supportive.  All these helped me to overcome all the challenges and kept me focused and busy even before she was finally diagnosed with a heart condition at six months old.

What have you found to enjoy about having a child with additional needs?

I never knew I would one day make use of my specially gifted creative ability.  I probably made use of it 30% as a banker.  Having Mo in my life was the game changer for me.  It has unveiled the other me, wits and all. 

I discovered I could think creatively and put to good use ideas that often drop in my heart, even when I began to work with her as a baby.  She got my attention big time.  We spent hours and hours together.   She has taught me to never give up on my dreams, build resilience and be happy irrespective of what people do to me.  She came to my life to teach me how to be patient in life much more than I thought I knew.  The short of it is that I am a blessed woman who has been able to turn her mess into a message and found her purpose from pain.

MO, mum and her brothers

How do her siblings relate with her?

They are super awesome.  They have learnt to understand her and of course been a great support system for her.  I began educating them a few years after she was born.  They love her irrespective and it’s funny how I watch them feel frustrated and the next minute, I hear words like, “ I love you, I forgive you”.  It shows that they will find it easy to love and forgive and that, of course, is hard for so many of us.

How do people relate with her

At first as a baby, she was so flexible and small for her age and not many people wanted to carry her.  In public places, on some occasion, people have had to relocate their seats away from us. 

She is a happy child and loves to make friends so only a sadist would run away from her.  I guess awareness has helped a lot though I have once been told to try and have another child that is normal.  That was ignorance at play.

What are your greatest worries for her in the future

Well, I can’t say I have so much to worry about because her future is in Gods hands.  We have supported her from the day she was born, and we have a strong belief in the fact that she will achieve her dreams. 

People with Down syndrome need to be given a chance at life and they have dreams and aspirations.  They want you and I to believe in them and expect the best from them.  Her future is bright, very bright and in her maker’s hands.

Mo loves music and loves to play the piano
Can you share some of your happiest moments in raising Mo

I have so many happy moments to share.  She is very caring. She got introduced to dancing ballet at age 4.  I have tried all sorts of makeshift ideas to enhance her development.  I do not look at her health issues or inability, I just keep pushing her with the right support and exposure.  She made me proud when she first had a solo ballet presentation at age 5 during the Angels unforgotten Gala night in South Texas. 

Mo loves writing, in fact, she can’t do without holding a pencil and paper in a day.  She also loves making friends and plays the mother role when she is with her friends. She developed a love for ballet and had her first performance in March at Golden Tulip during a charity ball organized by Buzopat and her second performance was in the USA, San Antonio during the Angels Unforgotten Africa’s 1st Gala night for Down Syndrome.  These are a few of my happy moments. Just watching her breaking barriers makes me glad.

What struggles does she have as a result of her condition?

There are other co-existing challenges, but we focus on her strengths and abilities.  With continuous support at the centre where she attends and at home; because all hands are on deck, I am sure she will keep winning; those struggles have an expiry date.  All I can say is she is a fighter.  She never gives hope.  She loves victory.

Mo's down syndrome story
Mo ready for her favourite sport- basket ball

What do you hope parents can take away from your story in raising her?

Early intervention has helped us grow.  God has been my strength through it all.  We are not 100% but we started early.  It could have been worse, but it gets better by the day.  Parents should not focus on those milestones that are being delayed. My daughter sat at 9 months, walked around 18 months.  Wore braces from 13months and used other adaptive devices to help her gait and balance until she was 4years. 

There would always be make shift options.  It’s better to be doing something about it than just watching.  People said I was too worried, but they didn’t understand I was just supporting her to achieve success.  We must first try because giving up is never an option.

What progress have you seen in her since her diagnosis?

Too numerous to mention and I thank the Lord, my family (home and abroad), friends and her teachers.

What treatments/therapies have been successful

Virtually all forms of treatment and therapies she has been exposed to have worked. All that being said, she is still a work in progress. Aren’t we all? Continuous support and various interventions that enhance independence, skill acquisition, play, extracurricular and education have all been an integral part of her development.  We do regular checks at the hospital too.  Most importantly, God has kept my beautiful heart warrior.

Mo at a ballet performance

How did she get into ballet?

At age 4, I noticed she would always want to hold my hands and prompt me to dance.  She loved watching salsa dance and so I encouraged her.  I would always dance with her and one day I introduced her to a ballet instructor and she started classes.  

Her smile and excitement on her face speak volumes when she watches performances on TV.  I once decoded it as ‘’ how can you help me dance like this mum, I love it’.  Without wasting time that day, I started dancing with her and got her a home ballet instructor.  Before the 4th rehearsal, she was able to do a presentation in Nigeria with her brothers, then she had a performance at the Golden Tulip hotel at Buzopats Charity ball and a solo in San Antonio.   Now she does it effortlessly and we hope to see her get to the top with it.

Can you tell us about your foundation?

I founded Moyinoluwa rainbow foundation a.k.a Mo-rainbow in 2014. My vision was to have a direct impact on children, families and the community as I journeyed through life with My daughter Mo.  We are a government approved special Education and vocational centre.

Our goal is to provide early learning interventions to children so that they can live normal and less dependent lives as well as be a joy to their parents.  We have established MRF to enable us put a face to Down syndrome through advocacy and enlightenment campaigns and give hope to families who have just received a diagnosis and feel like doing away with the child.  Basically, we are on a rescue mission as having a child with Down syndrome is seen as a taboo or spiritual attack.

The Centre

A centre was inaugurated in 2015 as a matter of urgency as we discovered many children are being locked up at home from a very young age of 2years old, kept in spiritual homes where some are starved in the name of setting them free from demonic oppression, left to die, taken to villages to suffer for being different or poisoned.

We create an enabling environment for children born this way using play, Extra- curricular activities (Music, sports, Dance , Modelling, gardening and other activities that will eventually give them a voice and make them relevant in future.

The name Mo is Moyin’s nickname and the Rainbow was a name God gave me when my heart was so troubled from not being bold and ready to answer the call to be on this rescue mission.  We had put in another name and followed up with CAC to conclude the search but the name was not approved and the whole process was more than 3 months.  One very cold winter morning, before day break, I woke up to use the bathroom and I heard a voice saying” look up, what do you see in the sky”? While I was still trying to think, I heard the answer “Rainbow”.  I was transfixed and immediately sent a text to my lawyer and in 2weeks, the name Moyinoluwa Rainbow Foundation was released and approved.  The rainbow signifies hope and the promise of God after the flood that destroyed the earth. 

Starting the centre

The inspiration behind Mo Rainbow began after my initial frustration of not getting help with early intervention. God gave me this vision one day in my living room after Moyin clocked 3 and I could only look back and appreciate God even more as we had moved from struggles (with feeding, crawling, standing, walking, talking, heart surgery) to success as I have an endless list of what she is able to do with God’s help and unrelenting efforts, never say never attitude and of course non-stop therapy.

The foundation helps with identifying every child’s strength through individual programs tailored according to each learner’s needs.  We discover many talents and help the children develop them, acquire skills and independent living. 

The foundation has set out to support children and young adults, train parents and empower those from low income earning families.  We have survived through donations by individuals and corporate bodies and we provide special education needs using a multidisciplinary approach and one on one sessions to help a child make the necessary progress

Advise to families of recently diagnosed special needs children?

Parents need to embrace, nurture and provide for their child like they will naturally do for their child without additional needs. I know it’s hard for parents to cope sometimes especially with the cost of care and delayed milestones, but trust me, you need to see the face of beauty in your child, show love and give equal opportunity. Learn, relearn and unlearn especially outdated information and myths about your child’s condition.

Many parents give up on their child, see it like they are wasting their time and resources and sometimes wish the child away or dead. Its heart wrenching for me to see parents neglect their children, or fathers walk away from their homes, calling their wives or their children names. If a parent doesn’t show any interest in giving their child a voice or being their advocate and microphone, no magic should be expected. My daughter lights up our world, life would have been boring without her. There is hope after a Down syndrome diagnosis and every child is a blessing.

Tola's down syndrome story

Finally, I would like to say to parents ‘’hold your horses, find a support group around you, be the voice for your sons and daughters better still be their microphone.  Do all you can to start early, sacrifice and do all you can to support your child. Now is the time. You will see how they begin to thrive, become stronger and find their voices because you gave them hope, support and encouragement.   Desist from passing the buck.   Don’t be in a haste, celebrate your child and the world will help you do same. Sometimes we want things the right way…hell no! it’s a process.  Even when there are no grains in the barn…when it doesn’t look like things are happening, God is working, grapes will come to the vine.

Editors Note.

If you’re someone who’s been looking for ways to give back, the Morainbow foundation is a good place to start. I’ll do another post on the foundation and the incredible work Tola and her team are doing soon.

No child deserves to be locked in prayer rooms sometimes leading to death, no child deserves to be mocked and called names because they were born with additional needs. Do what you can to raise awareness and educate people about special needs. Every child deserves love, acceptance and for their voice to be heard.

Above all, let’s be supportive and kind to each other, you never know what another person is going through. Be kind.

Aunty Lulu

Other Inspiring mum stories:

Follow:

The Re-education of Aunty Lulu…

Education of Aunty Lulu

When The Tutor becomes the pupil

Motherhood sure gives parents a lot of new roles, and if you’ve read my book, you will be familiar – as I’m sure you already were, with some of these roles. In my capacity as a mum, I’m a chauffeur👮🏾‍♀️, Nurse👩🏾‍⚕️, Chef👩🏾‍🍳, Party planner💃🏾, Entertainer🤹🏾‍♀️, Fixer👩🏾‍🔧, Hairstylist💇🏾‍♀️, and of course a tutor👩🏾‍🏫. Trust me, that is naming just a few 🤩.

The Terrific Tutor

My duty as a tutor to my children is becoming more daunting as they grow older. We are not just sounding and blending words anymore, we’re now doing more of creative writing, structured sentences, grammar and punctuation. And that’s only English! Don’t even get me started with maths 🤯. Anyone who knows me knows I’m hopeless with maths. I mean, my Secondary School Certificate score in maths was a P7. My only P score and I was prouder of that than the subjects that got me distinctions.

So you can imagine my dismay with the maths homework my eldest is bringing home now. He’s only in year 3 and I’m reaching for my phone the moment he needs my help. Yes, Google has become my bestie 🤦🏾‍♀️.

Education of Aunty Lulu
This book helps me alot in assisting the children

I must admit that I look forward to his English homework. This is because when he finishes, I always go through his homework to make sure he did the right thing. Guess who’s better for it, it has actually been helping me, especially since I started writing again. My tenses were all over the place and my grammar had suffered from years of dormancy 😄. Tutoring my children is really helping me brush up on this and even I can’t believe I’m enjoying maths (pretend we’re not talking about elementary maths).

My knowledge of animals is also on another level, just this morning, three birds were outside my window – no, not singing sweet songs 😁(Bob Marley’s song comes to mind) and I actually knew they were magpies 😱! The boys love animals so we watch a lot of animal documentaries which has resulted in me knowing so many animals and their habitats, even what they eat.

Nature Awareness

I’m also more attentive to nature and observant about my surrounding. When on my power walks, I look out for interesting things to share with them. There was a week I noticed a group of rabbits on my walks, I took pictures and told them a rabbit must have just had babies and their burrow/Warren (i know that thanks to habitat tutoring) must be nearby. Hubby and I saw a dead snake and had to take a picture to show them. Luckily it was still there when they returned from school, by the next morning though, it was gone and the boys were convinced a lucky fox must have eaten it. 😊

School Projects

Whenever I see a letter for a school project, I cringe. These projects require so much time and efforts cause most times you have to be as involved as they are in it. But guess who now knows so much more about fossils, don’t even try me on flowers 🤗 and I can actually name and recognise some Van Gogh Artwork 😙.

I know pretty much all the carton theme songs, add Football too that, yes the leagues have different theme songs 🙄, did I mention Superheros too and the cool dance steps as well.

Conclusion

Tutoring my children is fast becoming my favourite role in raising them. It stretches me and is definitely making me a better version of myself. You should watch my son and I practise spellings, he complained about my pronunciation so much that I would type in the word for Alexa, Google or whoever that computer voice is to read it out. 🤷🏾‍♀️

In all, I’m better for it, though ageing fast 👵🏾. In tutoring them, I’m being tutored myself and what a world of good that is doing me. Do you enjoy teaching your children, please share your experiences.

How’re you tutoring 😉.

Aunty Lulu

Follow:

When Enabling Children Goes too Far

College Admissions Bribery scandal

The Ivy League Schools Admission Scandal 2019

Most parents out of love for their kids would do almost anything to ensure their progress in life. But where do you draw the line?

It’s appaling to know how far some people will go to get the best for their children, even to the extent of breaking the law! This is exactly what the thirty-three parents in today’s post did. An action that has ‘deservedly’ gotten them into trouble with the law

I was shocked when I read about the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal in March this year. Shocked because the International media makes it seem like corruption can only be found in certain parts of the world. This is why we need to do more to change the narrative.

The Scandal

The scandal which has been named “Operation Varsity Blues” involved some Hollywood celebrities and prominent business leaders influencing their children’s admission into top American Universities.

It is a criminal investigation that implicated about thirty-three parents of college applicants. They were accused to have paid over $25 million to ‘William Rick Singer‘ (organiser of the scheme) between 2011-2019, to fraudulently inflate test scores and bribe college officials.

William Rick Singer

Allegations.

Federal prosecutors alleged a college-admission scheme that involved:

  • bribing exam administrators to facilitate cheating on college and university entrance exams;
  • bribing coaches and administrators of elite universities to nominate unqualified applicants as elite recruited athletes, thus facilitating the applicants’ admission
  • Using a charitable organisation to conceal the source and nature of bribery payments.

Wealthy parents paid Singer to illegally arrange to have their children admitted to elite schools by bribing admissions testing officials, athletics staff, and coaches at universities.

Payments were made to Key Worldwide Foundation – a nonprofit organisation owned by Singer and previously granted 501(c)(3) status; that status allowed him to avoid federal income taxes on the payments, while parents could deduct their “donations” from their own personal taxes.

Parents Involved

Here are some of the wealthy patents involved in the scandal. The most popular faces are that of actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. The full list of parents involved can be found here.

Jane Buckingham – author and the founder of the boutique marketing agency Trendera. Her clients include Target, Nickelodeon, Hearst, StubHub, and Hilton Worldwide.

Robert Flaxman; a graduate of the University of Southern California and the chief executive of Crown Realty & Development Inc.

Mossimo Giannulli; fashion designer whose name became a house brand at Target. His wife, Lori Loughlin is an actor best known for playing Aunt Becky on the sitcom Full House and its more recent Netflix spinoff Fuller House. The two are alleged to have paid bribes totaling $500,000 to get their two influencer daughters accepted to USC as “recruits to the USC crew team—despite the fact that they did not participate in crew.”

Douglas Hodge – former CEO of Pacific Investment Management Co. Pimco, one of the largest bond fund managers in the world.

Felicity Huffman is an Emmy-winning actor best known for her role on Desperate Housewives. She’s alleged to have paid $15,000 as a “purported charitable contribution to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter.” Though mentioned in the indictment, her husband, actor William H. Macy has not been charged because of lack of evidence.

Stephen Semprevivo is an executive at Cydcor, a “privately held provider of outsourced sales teams” who “agreed to bribe…the Georgetown tennis coach…to designate his son as a tennis recruit (despite the fact that he did not play tennis competitively). He did this to facilitate his admission to Georgetown,” according to the indictment.

Devin Slone is the founder and CEO of waterTALENT, a “provider of drinking water and wastewater systems, among other businesses.” In order to get his son into USC, he apparently had his son photoshopped onto photos of actual water polo-players.😱

Homayoun Zadeh is an associate professor of dentistry at USC. He is alleged to have presented his daughter as an elite lacrosse player. In an email to Singer, Zadeh wrote that his daughter worried that “she did not get in on her own merits.”

Schools involved

There are eight Universities implicated in the ‘Varsity Blues Scandal’.These 8 are being investigated by the U.S Education Department.

The schools involved are Yale, Stanford, Wake Forest, Georgetown University, University of San-Diego. The Others are University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Texas at Austin.

Aftermath


A lot has happened since the scandal broke in March. Some of the parents have been arraigned and have pleaded guilty and some of them have lost their jobs. Indicted school coaches have been dismissed and suspended and some of the children have been expelled.

Actress Lori Loughlin who was a regular on the Hallmark channel has been relieved of her job. Hallmark quickly parted ways with the actress as did Netflix. She was on the ‘Fuller House’ show on Netflix until the scandal broke. Netflix has confirmed that she will not be returning to the show.

Mr McGlashan’s job was terminated by his equity firm TPG while Gordon Caplan was suspended and stripped as a partner of his law firm. Doug Hodge was asked to step down as board member of two Californian private schools he was involved in.

Dr Hamayoun Zadeh, a prominent Californian dentist has been placed on administrative leave from his position as the director of the Laboratory for Immunoregulation and Tissue Engineering at the University of Southern California and has lost 3 book contracts.

Gregory Abbot, a beverage magnate who has pleaded guilty to his charge was according to the police, beaten up by his rapper son ‘Malcolm Abbot’ who raps under the name ‘Billa’. 😱

Malcolm has also used the criminal case against his parents to sell T-shirts on his Instagram page.🤑

Coaches involved in the scandal like the Stanford Sailing coach have been fired with others placed on leave. Some others are facing disciplinary actions. According to NYTimes, prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of assets from Gordon Ernst. Ernst is the former head tennis coach at George Town University.

A television show based on the scandal is already been developed. There are also talks of a movie on it – oh Hollywood!🙄

How Much Did the Children Know?

Not all the children were aware of their parent’s actions. One of them, son of Marketing Executive, Jack Buckingham actually wrote a piece in the Hollywood reporter condemning his mum’s actions.

Jack and Jane Buckingham

Jack Buckingham in a statement had this to say, “I have been advised not to speak on the matter at hand but what I will say is this,” before writing: “I know there are millions of kids out there both wealthy and less fortunate who grind their ass off just to have a shot at the college of their dreams. I am upset that I was unknowingly involved in a large scheme that helps give kids who may not work as hard as others an advantage over those who truly deserve those spots.”

Isabelle Henriquez

Isabelle Enriquez was very much aware of the action taken on her behalf and even gloated with her mum about getting answers to her SAT tests.

Intensive Parenting

The scandal has brought to the forefront the extent some parents will go to clear away any obstacle to their children’s success. Even when it requires crossing ethical and legal boundaries.

There are different terms for that kind of parenting today, ‘intensive parenting, Helicopter parenting’, ‘Snow-plough parenting’.

Helicopter parenting is simply the practice of hovering anxiously near one’s children, monitoring all their activities. This is not altogether bad it could, however, get out of hand if not watched.

Snowplow parents are parents that clear any obstacle in their child’s path to success so they don’t encounter failure. This form is more extreme than Helicopter parenting.

Conclusion

To think this scandal began with a financial executive, Marrie Tobin being investigated on an unrelated securities fraud case. He gave the FBI a tip about a coach asking him for a bribe to get his daughter into Yale. 🤔

The coach was subsequently recorded accepting bribe from Mr Tobin. And so began the unravelling of the biggest education scandal the U.S has ever seen.

It is a parents job to support their children, but it should be done with wisdom to prepare them for the future. Children should be allowed to develop problem-solving skills so that they can cope in times of crisis.

They should be allowed to make their own mistakes and have challenges as this will help them cope in future and in situations when mum and dad are unable to clear the obstacle.

As a psychologist, Ms Lythcott-Haims rightly said, “The point is to prepare the kid for the road, instead of preparing the road for the kid”. When in helping our children advance we intentionally break the law, what are we then teaching them about morale and ethics? How are we helping them prepare for the future, will they be able to cope in trying circumstances especially when their parents are not available?

When does parenting become over-parenting? how long are you willing to go for your children? Let’s discuss.

Aunty Lulu.

Credits:

Wikipedia

Dailymail


Follow:

Google Search

Google search

This morning, I was chatting with my boys, as we normally do Whilst getting ready for school when my eldest shocked me by saying “mum, I looked you up on Google yesterday” 😵. “What!” I said.

He explained that during their free time, he and his friends decided to search for their parents’ name on google. My mind went blank at first… What a let down that would have been- cause he wouldn’t have found anything – I thought. “So what did you see,” I asked anyway. He was smiling at me as he told me how he found information about my book, saw a lovely picture of me and he told his friends his mum is an author…

My mind went back to the 1st time he saw a copy of ‘Mum, My Superhero” and how proud he was. He asked me if he could sell some copies to his friends so he could make some money 😎. That day was one of my happiest, I’ll add him telling me how he read about my book on google to the list.

I’d never searched my name on google before that day because, for a long time, I’ve felt like an underachiever. Even after writing this beautiful book, I didn’t feel a lot better about myself. I thank God for using my Son to open my eyes to see myself in a better light and appreciate his grace upon my life.

So of course immediately we got in the car (hubby was driving) I searched for my name and I saw what he saw. He searched for Abi Adewoye (people call me Abi here in the UK as my husband did not want me to go by my usual ‘Bimbo’ because of its derogatory meaning in English). It’s basically just pages where you can buy my book, my website URL and a few images. But I was content. This is only the beginning. I hope the next time he checks, they’ll be more ‘inspiring’ information about his mum on google.

Responsibilty to Children

As parents, we have to be mindful of our actions and even utterances because, nowadays, everything ends up online. What will your child see when they search your name online? Is it something they’ll be proud to share with their friends? Or information that will embarrass them and scar them forever…

Remember, children look up to their parents and also tend to copy them. No one in this world is perfect, but we can all try to live a life that our children are proud of, and can emulate.

Now I know I have to work harder not just for myself, but for these two and others like them who God has put in our care with a responsibility to guide and lead in the right direction.

Mum My Superhero

So have you bought the book? Remember it’s the perfect gift for birthdays, anniversaries, mothers day etc. Do you have a friend or sister who is overwhelmed? Motherhood is hard work and can be quite exhausting, why not get them a copy of the book as a gift. Reading the book will cheer them up and so will the fact that they’re in your thoughts.

Please follow this link or 👇🏾 for purchase options and you can get copies directly from me. May I implore you to please leave a review on any of this sites:

Troubador

Waterstones

Amazon

Google

Scribd

Thank you so much for your support and encouragement. You cannot begin to imagine how much it means to me, you guys rock 👌🏾.

Aunty Lulu

Review


Mum, My Superhero has to be the best book I’ve read about the realities of motherhood.
Written in simple language, and clearly from the heart of a mother, the book documents the daily sacrifices and the never-ending jobs of mothers across the world. It also captures our struggles and skills of time and people management we seem to have been born with…in a fun way too!
If ever you could take a break from ‘duty’ and bask in the cape of a superhero so deserved, or simply for the pleasure of reading a good book, then this is the book to pick up.
Enjoy.
Mrs Morenike St. Michael (Head, Pastoral care and Admin Springhall British School Abuja)

Follow: