Wow, I feel oddly proud to have started one of those threads that just won't die!
Originally Posted by Storm Bride
I feel that the best thing I can do to protect my kids isn't keeping them away from people, but teaching them what's appropriate and what isn't, and teaching them to trust their instincts. I think teaching them that they don't have to hug grandma or kiss their uncle if they don't want to is more valuable than all the reference checks in the world. I also believe that if I hadn't received some of the sick messages from my grandmother that I did, I wouldn't have ended up being abused and keeping my mouth shut. I'm not blaming myself when I say that. I'm not blaming the victim when I say that educating the kids and teaching them to trust themselves is important. I don't get how you think that's blaming the victim in any way. If a child is taught that they have no right to say no - "you have to kiss grandpa" when the kid is crying because they don't want to - and said child ends up getting abused - maybe by the same person that they didn't want to kiss...then the child is blameless, but the person who taught them that they have no rights to their own body is not.
Exactly. I got into a tense situation with my SIL one time over this. An older (as in 40's/50's) was visiting from another country. Ds was about 2.5yo, and had never met him before. Ds at that age was a bit aloof with strangers, so this cousin was making a big deal about how he was going to make ds like him. I just kind of ignored it, but kept close by - not because I thought he was going to molest ds, but just because I felt like he was treating ds like a little puppy dog instead of a person, and ds wasn't talking yet. So at one point they were playing ball, and the cousin decided not to throw the ball back, and said to ds "If you want the ball back, you have to come give me a kiss." From my perspective, the whole planet stopped spinning. I was horrified someone would say that to a young child. I looked around at every single family member who was sitting right there, and no one seemed the least bit perturbed, while I meanwhile was having some bizarre out of body experience. Ds just looked at me, and in no way wanted to go give that guy a kiss. I turned to ds said "you don't have to give him a kiss to get your ball back, I'll go get it" and I walked over the cousin while saying this. I said it in what I hoped was a casual tone since the entire family was watching me, but inside I was freaked. Later SIL and I were talking about it, and I mentioned how I really didn't like it. She thought I was overreacting, and said that it's important to her to teach her dd to respect adults. I told her that I am all about ds being a respectful person, but that doesn't mean doing whatever someone else tells him to do, especially when it comes to his body. She looked at me like I was crazy and told me we'd just to go agree to disagree. I was floored.
Anyhow, I was raised to trust my instincts and have choice and power over whom I interacted with. (hmm, that's a grammatically awkward sentence) I hope to do the same for my children. Oddly, I'm not as bold about this as my parents were, and sometimes feel like I don't stand up enough for my kids. In fact, there is another thread along these lines that I think I want to start, because I'd love to discuss it further.