May 7, 2014

Parenting things

A friend of mine showed me an article that explained we don't talk to our kids about sexual abuse enough. We're too embarrassed about it ourselves or worried that we'll scare the children, so instead, give the good touch-bad touch talk. But that it doesn't go far enough, and kids are still getting abused and not talking.

So I realized I was one of those parents who hadn't gone far enough with this, assuming it could never happen to my child, and I needed to talk about the topic more. In fact, I'd talked more about abductions than abuse, yet don't know anyone who was ever abducted, but know far too many people who were abused by uncles/friends/step-brothers. (That said, the news this morning was about an attempted abduction 2 blocks from our house. Yikes!)

So I did it. And I'm really glad we talked it through. It was a great conversation, and he asked good questions. (Why would anyone do that? Does it mean that they're gay? Can we stop talking about this because my penis is hurting now?) But I feel like I made real headway in him understanding that it could happen. That it means the person is probably mentally ill, and we'd never need to keep that a secret. That it is his right to say no to an adult and protect himself, even if he's scared it might hurt someone's feelings or come across as disrespectful.

Coincidentally, two days later, he came home with a home safety sheet all about abuse. In class they had talked through some scenarios and had to come up with solutions as a group. And he was quite happy that he had already talked through some of these things so knew the "answers".

So this is my request to you if you have smaller children: Talk to them. Explain the situation possibilities. Tell them it could be someone they know. Don't keep it a secret. Knowledge is power.

1 comment:

l'empress said...

You always have to talk to children, keeping the communications line open for any questions that come up.

My kids were not abused, thank goodness, but they did come to me about people who spoke rather threateningly. I believe the idiot thought he was being funny, but he didn't know anything about kids. I told his wife we were backing off because the kids were afraid of "funny uncles."