Based on my own experiences, I think that children should understand the general idea of sex as young as possible. I don't get the idea of keeping them innocent by keeping them ignorant of the existence of sex. I understand keeping them ignorant/innocent of the fact that sexual abuse exists, as well as other bad things like war, famine, burglary, human trafficking, the Holocaust, animal abuse, dog attacks, corrupt police officers, etc etc. Heck, I dread the day I have to tell my child that cupcakes are unhealthy. But sex isn't particularly an unhappy thing in itself.
On the other hand, definitely wait until after that phase wherein children like to make up stories.
On the other hand, I think telling your kid "don't talk to strangers," is a useless or perhaps even harmful idea. I mean, chances are you don't even mean it literally, but your kid has no way of knowing that you didn't say what you mean, much less knowing what you actually did mean. (I mean, look the word "stranger" up in the dictionary; is that actually what anyone ever tries to tell their kid?) It could perhaps give a child the impression that anyone who's not a stranger is totally okay to give all their personal information to and take candy from. Besides, sexual abuse is usually committed by a definite non-stranger.
I don't think it is prejudicial, because it is a simple fact that males are more likely to sexually abuse children. This doesn't mean a woman can't do it, of course.
I wonder if males are actually much more likely to commit abuse or if they're just more likely to get caught? Actually, when I tried to search for information, I get the impression they're still caught pretty often. It seems like it may not be beneficial to insist on only female caregivers, since it may not greatly reduce the chances of abuse but may cause more trauma if the abuse does happen. Still, I can't blame you guys for being biased against male caregivers. It seems males are more likely to give us the willies (whether it should or not), and we should make a habit of listening to that feeling when it comes to children's well-being.
Personally, everyone who's ever been a step-father creeps me out. I'm sorry to all the good step-fathers out there.
Speaking of which, what do you do if one of your in-laws give you the creeps like that and your DH/DW/DP suggests having him or her babysit? Don't go along with the idea, sure, but how do one tell one's DH something like, "Honey, I don't want our kid around your beloved cousin because I worry he's a child molester"?
Wow, those statistics almost sound hard to believe. Do you have the source?
I don't know about the accuracy or the source, but I don't find the stat very shocking. I wonder what the results would be if we posted a poll on MDC. (I don't want to post a poll about something so depressing.)
Anyway, I was reading this one book and the author talks about how she taught her kids, that whenever someone tells you not to tell your mom and dad something, that you should run and tell them right away. I kinda like this idea.
That does sound good. It seems best paired with a general gently authoritative discipline style, to make your kids more likely to be willing to tell mom and dad everything. I think some abusers might wait until the abuse is underway before they tell the kid, "By the way, don't tell your parents about this. You'd get in sooooo much trouble if they found out." The parents' reactions to other things the child has "done wrong" would surely affect the child's likelihood of telling them about the abuse, right?