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Participants will leave the workshop questioning their basic assumptions about children,
parenting, and family. Specifically, they will be questioning the idea of Children need to be
controlled. They will also have specific tools for changing the way they interact with children.
As participants enter, have them
sign in
and give them
to fill out.
Purpose: Focus participants attention on the workshop.
Energy level: High
To start the workshop, facilitators gather everyone in a circle. People introduce themselves,
then play a quick energy-raising icebreaker.
Ground Rules
Facilitators establish the rules of the workshop.
Discussion: What Is Abuse?
Purpose: Give participants (ideally, have them come up with on their own) a working
definition of abuse.
Energy level: Medium-High
First, have participants share their own ideas and knowledge about abuse. What does an
abusive relationship look like? Put those ideas up on a posterboard. Second, ask what a
healthy relationship looks like. Get those ideas up. Point out the dichotomies. Talk about
abuse as control, power, domination, overriding agency; healthy relationships as overriding
agency. All of this is in general terms, not specifically about parent-child relationships.
Before the activity, point out the similarities between what participants have described as an
abusive relationship and what is seen as normal or desireable when talking about parenting.
Activity: Take The Stage
Purpose: By tapping into participants lived experiences, establish (1) a shared experience, (2)
the commonality of abuse, (3) the usually unseen
between accepted ways of interacting
with children and child abuse.
Energy level: Low
Facilitators have participants stand in the middle of the room, then explain: Were going to
read some statements. If a statement applies to you, take the stage (stand over there); if it

doesnt, step back in that direction. If you dont know, stay in the middle. If you dont want to
answer truthfully, you may lie.
Remember, you cannot share other peoples stories without explicit permission. Also, this is a
activity. If you need a statement repeated, raise your hand and well say it a second
time. Finally, dont ask us to explain statements: interpret them for yourself. Are there any
questions before we get started?
The statements are:
1. You have ever been told, Youre too young to understand. () Thank you, go back
to middle.
2. Older teenagers scare you. () Thank you, go back to middle.
3. An adult has ever punished you for something you did not do. () Thank you.
4. An adult has ever spanked, slapped, or otherwise physically punished you. ()
Thank you.
5. You have ever been scared to disagree with an adult. () Thank you.
6. An adult has ever scared you into silence by shouting. () Thank you.
7. An adult you live with has ever made you feel unsafe. () Thank you.
8. (Before we read this last statement, remember,
you are allowed to lie.
) An adult
you live with has ever emotionally, physically, or sexually abused you. () Stay
where you are. To the people who answered yes: Go back to the middle if you were
able to walk away from that situation. () Thank you, lets get back in a circle now.
An important part of this activity is the pause (), especially for the last statement. Even four
seconds of silence can create a powerful moment of reflection. For this reason, facilitators
stress silence
before the activity begins.
Second Discussion
Purpose: Articulate the ideas formed during Take The Stage.
Energy level: Medium-Low
Everyone gathers back into a circle, sitting. Going around the circle, everyone says one word to
describe how they feel; for example, interested or angry. Then facilitators ask, Whats on
your mind that you want to share? or Did any one statement really stand out to you? to
start a discussion. The facilitators role is NOT to lecture, to guide the conversation by posing
questions. Guide it in the following directions:
The fact that What is abuse? is an open-ended question.
Do children need to be
If not, then how else can you interact with children?
End of Discussion: Respecting Children

Return to the whiteboard/easel. A pre-prepared poster is there.

1. Communicate
, dont threaten. (
Identify your problem, and explain it to them.)
2. Give them a
. (
Leave them a choice. This lets them know that you
enough to make their own decisions, and that you
them to make the right ones.)
3. Ask,
this emotion? (
If they seem to be acting irrationally or inappropriately.)
These are three tools. Explain each, give examples. Ask participants to respond.
Major takeaways:

That changing the way we interact with children is

That theres not always an easy solution
That much of this work is establishing
trust with the children in our lives
But that it
i s
possible, and desirable, to change our behaviors

Before they leave, give them

to fill out, if youre measuring results.

(Answer these questions before the workshop begins.)
Name: ___________________________ Age: ____ Gender: ______ Race: ________

I know what adultism is. (1 = not at all; 10 = everything)



(Answer these questions after the workshop ends.)
I know what adultism is. (1 = not at all; 10 = everything)


Has your opinion of childhood and parenting changed? (1 = not at all; 10 = completely)


How much did you enjoy the workshop? (1 = not at all; 10 = loved it)


Could anything have been improved? If so, what?