“It is essential to teach our children everything we can to keep them safe against sexual predators; however it is essential to be prepared for the clues, both verbal and unspoken, of the signs of sexual abuse. As parents we must be prepared to have this most difficult conversation with our child; and I wanted to provide both background and guidance should parents find themselves in this situation. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist I understand the importance of listening to children and I knew that in cases of child sexual abuse it is imperative,” comments Dr. Rosalie Greenberg, host of Kids First.
No one understands this better than Sharon Wells, founder of Angel Wings Bridge Foundation in Vaux Hall, NJ, a support group for abuse victims, and herself an abuse survivor. Never having told anyone about her multiple incidents of childhood sexual abuse for reasons including shame, guilt and fear of not being believed, Sharon grew up to suffer the adult consequences of not dealing with her abuse as a child, which included drinking, addictions and promiscuity. She knows that if she had had an adult in whom to confide, she could have been spared a great deal of pain. To spare others, she has written, Without Permission.
Susan Cohen Esquilin treats sexual abuse victims as part of her private practice in Montclair and is a professor at the Center for Child Advocacy at Montclair State University. She cautions that signs of abuse may not always be obvious and parents should be watchful for drastic changes in a child’s behavior as a possible indicator. More often than not, she says, the abuser will be someone the child knows and often likes, which will make the child less likely to report the incident. More abusers are men than women and children from unstable homes are at higher risk. But, she warns, no child or family is immune.
The host of Kids First is Rosalie Greenberg, M.D., a board- certified child and adolescent psychiatrist and the author of Bipolar Kids: Helping Your Child Find Calm in the Mood Storm. She is also the co-producer of the DVD “Rescuing Childhood: Understanding Bipolar Disorders in Children and Adolescents.” She is recognized as one of the Top Doctors in Child Psychiatry in the Castle Connelly NY Metropolitan Area Guide (2001-2011), New York Magazine (2005-2011), New Jersey Monthly Magazine (2005), New Jersey Life Magazine (2006) and Inside New Jersey-A Star Ledger Magazine (2009 - 2011). Dr. Greenberg is a former assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and maintains a psychopharmacology practice in Summit, NJ.
To view the program, please go to: www.kidsfirstrgmd.com. Kids First can also be seen on HomeTowne Television, Comcast - Channel 36 and Verizon - Channel 33, at the following times: Sundays at 10:30pm, Mondays at 12:30pm, Tuesdays at 6:30pm, Fridays at 10am and 9pm, and Saturdays at 8:30pm.