Such a thing as "over" protective parenting? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 103 Old 12-11-2007, 10:55 PM
 
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I would like to share with you from the point of view and heart of a woman that has been both abused by men and loved in the most healing way by others. It is that balance in my life that has allowed me to understand evil and good and point myself towards the good. If i had been protected even half as much as you are suggesting i would have never formed the close heathy bonds with the safe good men in my life, and we will never know but i doubt that i could have been kept safe from all the many and varied sexual assaults i have endured.
What matters is that a person know they can can trust someone and that it is ok not to trust everyone if it does not feel right.
We should strive to teach our children (boys and girls) how to love themselves, form bonds and deal with adversity, that is our charge as parents.

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She will have male exposure--but she will not ever be allowed to be alone with a man (or any male person, regardless of age) other than her dad. I saw a commercial the other day of a grandpa and little girl in the girl's room all alone having a tea party. I cringed. She'll know men...but won't ever be alone w/any of them (until she's waaay older).
when some father figures in my life took liberty on my body, i had that safe zone wrenched away from me. When i spent hours laughing and learning with my loving grandfather it gave what was taken back to me and help me to form healthy relationships with "father figures" i vital role in adult relationships and my current marriage. While being vigilant and aware of the risks, we also need to have hope and positive feelings that there is good in the world. Go find the good and it heals you.

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We need to teach our children a variety of healthy relationships so that they can recognize when something within themselves says *SOMETHING IS WRONG*-Angela
this is so so true, i remember when i was in high school and amidst the over sex teenagers (a fact of life) i can clearly remember comparing feeling i had around boys as being either like "other bad men" (i recognized my urge to avoid these boys that were usually pushy or disrespectful) or "nice like my grandpa" a comparison test i now realized i used on teachers, coaches and doctors and the like) or "strange and new" (these personal feelings that were coming from me then were handled with all my tools and support from older trusted women)
i don't know how clear this whole process was to me when i was 14, but it was critical and i can now see how i used it in hindsight. Help your child learn to trust themselves and communicate.




and i will say one this about the sprinkler and running around the house naked, please please let her do it, and let her see you learn to be comfortable with your body. it is that taboo that makes us change the way we think about ourselves.
to sexualize her child body is harmful to the way she forms a self image. she will be at risk of thinking of herself as nothing but a female. when she later wants to relate to boys that taboo off limits female image will be the only one she has to work from. better to teach her that we are all people, and that the way we look or what parts we came with are all ok and beautiful.
When it is appropriate you can help her learn that there is a time and a place fore everything and later when the other times are right you can be there for her as she watches her body change and you can teach her to appreciate that gift of being a woman and that it special and to be respected by all and shared as the most precious gift of all.


Raising this wonderful girl is going to challenge you and bring up things about your childhood. How you respond is completely your choice and this can be your biggest chance for healing and growth. You can not change what happened to you and for that i a share your sorrow and reach out to you. And i know you don't what to hear this but you may not be able to protect your daughter from everything in her life either. What you can do is choose if you will be a victim or a survivor and give your daughter the tools to make strong choices and thrive too.

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#62 of 103 Old 12-11-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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Do I think the doctor would have molested her if I took her diaper off to get weighed? Really? C'mon. It had nothing to do with that. It had to do with respecting Lily and her privacy. When the doctor comes in to check her out, she peeks in the diaper to check for abnormalities/abuse/rashes, etc. That's fine. But to strip her down butt naked to weigh is just ridiculous. (Even if she did wet her diaper: Either the pee is inside or outside and it would weigh the same...so what's the difference? But, she always has a dry diaper on--so it stays on. Period. If they don't like it, I'll find another (female) doctor).
I understand, but do you really think an infant/toddler really has a concept of privacy? What do you think goes through her mind when she has her diaper taken off? "oh no that's my vulva! don't look at me!" I'm not trying to be mean, I just don't understand why there is the need to project these concepts onto a baby.

Thinking about my ideas critically helps me to discern which ones are based on truth and which on irrational fear. If you look at a lot of your ideas about nudity they aren't based on anything but vague notions like "we were raised to keep our clothes on. No way she will run around naked. It's a no-brainer." Well I guess it is a no-brainer if there isn't a logical reason why. What will happen if you let a kid run around naked a little? Especially in a situation where the kid takes off the diaper him/herself and wants to run around naked. If I were to tell my son "no! you can't run around naked! we wear clothes in this house and this yard young man!" it would be sending the message that there is something wrong with his body that needs to be covered up or that there is something wrong with being naked.

I don't want my son to be left alone with men I don't know and trust either. I understand that. I don't want to leave him alone with anyone I don't know and trust completely. I think you're reasonable to think that. That is not overprotective, that makes sense. But its just the fear and the "no nudity" that don't make sense to me.

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#63 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 02:28 AM
 
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There's a whole spectrum of things your talking about here, from the appropriate, to the innocuous, to the over protective, to the outright damaging. When emotions are running strongly, it can be really hard to seperate out what's appropriate protectiveness and what's actually going to hurt your daughter in the long run.

If it helps to get some perspective, here's where I see things falling on that range. I've never been abused and I still certainly don't let strangers watch my 13 month old son. I wouldn't leave him in a church nursery. I can count on one hand the times people other than my husband have watched him while we were out of the house or in an entirely different part of the house, and those people are only my parents and a close friend/distant relative that we share a house with. When he's older, I'll expect to know where he is and who he's with when he goes somewhere. Those are normal and appropriate responses.

Not allowing anyone but grandparents to watch preteen age children isn't going to cause them any damage. I think it's excessive, but hey, so what?
And there's no need for your daughter to be naked for a weight check and it obviously makes YOU very uncomfortable, so I don't see a problem declining that either. But to be very honest, it's not about her privacy. She doesn't care. She's too young, she has no sense of privacy or nakedness or what her genitals are- it's not about her comfort here, it's about yours. And that's okay! She doesn't care if you leave her diaper on, there's no need to have it off, there's no need to force your comfort zone there. The same with running around naked in the house or outside. It might lead to her being more uncomfortable with her body, but if you were terrified and wincing while allowing her to run around naked that would be probably be worse. All this is (relatively) innocuous.

Having your stepsons leave the room in order to change her diaper is a little more worrisome. Not only does it paint the boys as potential abusers, but it sends a message that her genitals are somehow "bad". BUT I'm willing to bet that your reaction (whether you verbalized it or not) to the boys innocently looking at her while you were changing her would be FAR more damaging to everyone involved (your daughter, your stepsons, yourself).

Obviously whether or not she can have male teachers or be around boys/men unsupervised isn't something you have to confront yet, and I think other posters have explained better than I could why that will severely harm both her ability to protect herself and her ability to form appropriate relationships. This is where your actions and beliefs (well, future actions) become really dangerous and hurtful for your daughter. But you're not there yet. And you don't have to end up there.

Right now, your attitudes and actions are saying to your daughter "You are a potential victim. Your body is shameful and must be hidden, and it will cause many many people to want to harm you." But before you can stop giving her that message, you need to stop believing in it yourself. That's not easy.

Ultimately, she needs to be exposed to good men and boys (and sometimes without other people standing guard on her) in order to be able to distinguish the bad ones when she meets them. I fully understand that in order to be allow this, YOU need to accept that there are good men out there. And to be able to indentify them. That's a battle you're going to have to win with yourself in order to help your daughter grow into a capable young woman.

I think there's a good reason you posted in the personal growth forum, and ultimately that's what this is all about. Work on yourself and your trauma and your fears, for your daughter, and you'll be able to help her grow into a healthy and confident young woman. If you avoid your issues and focus too exclusively on trying to save her from what nobody saved you from, you're fighting a battle you can't win.
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#64 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 02:53 AM
 
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My gramma had a male teacher whom she trusted. He molested her for years. On his deathbed, he begged for forgiveness. Gramma never told her mom what happened. She's old school and she had 4 brothers and a dad. Her mom NEVER let her run around in even underwear. She always had to be fully clothed and she was taught you don't run around infront of male's w/o being clothed. She told me that she went up to her grandpa to have him help her go to the bathroom (pulling up her pants or whatever) and her mom told her NOT to do that. I totally agree. That's a mommy/daddy/close female job--NOT a man's job. So, for now--this is what it is. I don't know what will happen in the future. Nobody does. I'd love to write more but I gotta run for now.
You realize you've just pointed out how not being allowed to be naked or in your underwear around anyone did not protect your gramma? That she was still abused despite this emphasis on not so much as letting her grandfather help her go to the bathroom? Secondly you say it's mommy/daddy/close female job--NOT a man's job. Your daughter's daddy is a man.

Like everyone else I am very sorry for what you experienced but what you are proposing is way beyond over-protective. You are grooming her to have an unhealthy fear of all males. I'm actually disturbed regardless of you what her father has seen as a cop that he doesn't trust his own children in a room alone with their baby sister for no reason other than there are some bad people out there. If he had specific fears about his sons well that would be one thing but just because sometimes stepbrothers molest their stepsisters? I mean that blows my mind. Wow.
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#65 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 10:43 AM
 
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Oh, and please find a different therapist.
Yes, this - her laughing at your statement is NOT cool. You need someone who is goign to help you work through and process things, not mock you.


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My ex wasn't abused. Yet, today we were talking about this online discussion. I asked him, "Do you think it's okay for a child (not just a girl, but a child) to run naked in the backyard playing in a sprinkler?" He responded, "No way!"

He was an only child. Just him, his mom, and his dad. He never ran around naked. His mom always had him wear clothes. That's how he was raised. He wasn't abused. He also said that Lily will never run naked around his son's. That's a no-brainer.

He's as protective with his son's. He knows boys and girls can be abused. Like I said, his parents are the ONLY people who have ever watched his son's. They're 10 and 13 and still aren't allowed to stay home alone yet. They're very sheltered. They're allowed to go to school dances and go to a friends house--but dad knows exactly who their with, the parents at the house, etc etc. I'm sure I'll be the same way with Lily when she's older (Course if there's an older brother or father at her girlfriends house--they can just come to my house to play). His kids aren't "social butterfly's" but they're as normal as can be otherwise. What's so wrong with that? I don't understand. Really. I don't understand. I'm trying.
OK, I'm going to back you on the naked in the yard thing. I never ran naked through a sprinkler or otherwise naked in the back yard, or even really around the house, and I'm not scarred. I never thought my body was dirty or shameful, it was just a matter of course that some body parts are private and we keep them covered around other people. There was no shaming message behind it and I'm not an inhibited person as an adult. My kids are sometimes naked, but not often. They run around together after bathtime at night for a few minutes, when we're getting dressed in the mornings, when we're changing a diaper or went potty, and they see DH and I when we're in and out of the shower - so there's no shaming, there's just nudity in the course of living when you would normally be naked, and not making a big deal about it - but other times, we wear clothes - that's just the way it is in our family, and nobody is being shamed into anything. They've never been naked outside, and probably won't - I'm not comfortable with that either. So I don't think that you're potentially harming her by not wanting her to frolic naked in the backyard, I don't think it's a 'requirement' of childhood. Unless she really, really wants to, and then I think there could be a shaming message if you tried to discourage it too much - but there's a million ways she could frolic naked at home inside. But if she never wants to, there's no problem. I never wanted to. My kids rarely do.

Annnyway. I completely agree with knowing your kid's friends' parents. And I fully intend to know any parents where my kids are at the house, and know them more than just a hi/bye basis. I want to know about the family dynamic, etc. before my kid goes and plays someplace. My parents did it with me, and again, I'm a fully functioning, actually really outgoing, social adult. I think it just makes sense, and can't imagine not knowing where and with whom my under 18 kids were when they weren't at home. What I would NOT do is restrict them going to a house where there is an older brother or father, simply BECAUSE there is an older brother or father. Or restrict them from an extracurricular activity or sport simply because the leader was male. I'd get to know the leader (whether male or female), talk to other parents who know the person, and if my radar didn't go up, I'd treat them as any other person my kid comes into contact with - keep my senses about me and feel out situations to see if anything seemed to be awry.

I also, to a point, get the babysitting thing. Until my kids are verbal and able to tell me if something happened, they are not under the care of anyone but me, DH, grandma, or nana/papa. DS is almost 4 and now in preschool and able to tell me what's happening every class (and we looked into the school and are comfortable with the staff)...DD is not yet verbal, so not supervised by anyone else. So I'm even kind of with you there.

SO, here's the thing - I get being involved and informed and selective. I do. And I think many of us here are with you on really knowing who our kids are with, and where they are. I think the problem is your plan to exclude friendships and activities for your child on the sole basis of a postpubescent male figure potentially being present. Without bothering to get to know the male figure, or anything. Assuming that because he is male, he will hurt your child. IMO, that's what you need to work on.








And just a couple other things I thought needed repeating:
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Originally Posted by attachedmamaof3 View Post
As she grows, she needs her mother to tell her that her body is normal, is beautiful and is nothing to be ashamed of. You need to give HER the power to say NO so that she will not be a victim. You need to give her normalcy so that she can spot the abnormal.

What you are doing is not okay. I think you know that deep, deep down. I think you are overwhelmed with love for your daughter and this is the only way you know how to MAKE SURE SHE'S SAFE!!! YOU are doing damage to her. This is not a normal response. Please get help.
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Please consider turning off Dr. Phil and the news. They are NOT there to educate -- they are there to titillate and terrify. That's what sells advertising dollars.

And I would really beg you to ask your ex to STOP pushing your buttons with these work stories. He is NOT dealing with normal everyday reality! Yes, it is the reality of police work, but not only is it not the everyday norm, it is killing your ability to move on. At least try it for two months. He should not be texting, calling, or processing this stuff with you. If he needs an outlet he needs to find another ear to talk to -- it is REALLY impeding any progress you are making.

Once again I congratulate you on all the work you are doing. You are a loving mother and like all of us you are doing your very best!
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to sexualize her child body is harmful to the way she forms a self image. she will be at risk of thinking of herself as nothing but a female. when she later wants to relate to boys that taboo off limits female image will be the only one she has to work from. better to teach her that we are all people, and that the way we look or what parts we came with are all ok and beautiful.

Raising this wonderful girl is going to challenge you and bring up things about your childhood. How you respond is completely your choice and this can be your biggest chance for healing and growth. You can not change what happened to you and for that i a share your sorrow and reach out to you. And i know you don't what to hear this but you may not be able to protect your daughter from everything in her life either What you can do is choose if you will be a victim or a survivor and give your daughter the tools to make strong choices and thrive too..

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#66 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 12:44 PM
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I am so sorry you were abused. I am so sorry your trust was broken and your view of men as a whole was colored by the horrible abuse you suffered.


You asked for opinions though, and I will say I believe you are going overboard in a huge way.

Let me be clear: I think people should trust their instincts. I have a daughter, and there is no way I would leave her in the care of someone I didn't trust 100%. There is no way I would leave her in the care of someone who I *should* trust if I had an instinct not to trust them.

However, I think you are really setting yourself and your daughter up for a lot of potential pain, fear, and hurt in the future. I honestly do. The best way in my opinion, to protect our children is to respect their autonomy. It doesn't so much matter who does or doesn't see her getting her diaper changed. What matters a lot more is you allowing her autonomy when she protests a diaper change. It doesn't so much matter what gender teacher she has... what is going to matter is, if she comes home and tells you her teacher belittled her in class (for whatever reason), will you come to her defense? It doesn't matter so much if she takes her clothing off at the doctor's. What matters the most is, if when she is verbal and says to you "mama I don't feel comfortable taking my clothes off at the doctor" you honor that.

You cannot protect your child. You can to a certain degree, but what will protect your child more than anything in my opinion and experience, is emparting to her the 100% knowledge that you value her and her autonomy. That you trust her instincts. That you value her instincts. That she is not forced to do things she doesn't want to do (including things like toothbrushing or being forced into a carseat). You want to raise her to believe that when she says, "no, I do not consent to this" ... whatever it may be... you respect that, value that, hear that, honor that.

You are doing your daughter a huge, huge, disservice with your attitudes here in my opinion. I know that may be painful to have said to you -- as it is clear that you desperately love your child and you want to protect her and keep her safe from the pain you experienced. I get that. I know you love your baby and want to make sure she never goes through what you went through.

The thing is, you can't have that guarantee. As painful as it is to hear, you have no guarantees in life. What I believe goes a long way to deter that sort of abuse happening though, has nothing to do with living a life of fear, anxiety, and a false sense of security because you think you can keep her from every "boogyman" in the world.

What deters abuse (but even then doesn't guarantee 100% that it won't happen) is raising your daughter to listen to and to trust her own instincts and comfort level. JUST AS IMPORTANT is raising your daughter to know that you value and trust her instincts and comfort level. You want to raise her to think it is absolutely absurd and something she would never consider not telling you if it happened because she knows 100% that you support her, trust her, and believe her and in her. You want to raise her to know with all of her that yes, it is okay to dissent....especially from adults. I think many parents create an environment where abuse is easier for a person to perpetrate because they (unknowingly) raise their children to respect elders at all costs and to never disagree with an elder or someone in a "position of power." (the forced hugs and whatnot). You want to raise her to know that when she says "no" ...not just to *abuse*, to toothbrushing even... it is respected.


Because, as painful as it is to hear... statistically, her father is the one most likely to sexually abuse her. Statistically, people you trust the most are most likely to sexually abuse her. Statistically, the people you least suspect by all outward appearances are the ones who are most likely to abuse her.

I don't say these things to promote more fear. I say these to illustrate how important instincts are and how important it is to trust both your own instincts and the instincts of your daughter.

However, I think your instincts are being lost in your overwhelming fear and past trauma and that can't be beneficial to anyone.

Good luck mama and please do whatever it takes to be well
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#67 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 04:07 PM
 
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What deters abuse (but even then doesn't guarantee 100% that it won't happen) is raising your daughter to listen to and to trust her own instincts and comfort level. JUST AS IMPORTANT is raising your daughter to know that you value and trust her instincts and comfort level. You want to raise her to think it is absolutely absurd and something she would never consider not telling you if it happened because she knows 100% that you support her, trust her, and believe her and in her. You want to raise her to know with all of her that yes, it is okay to dissent....especially from adults. I think many parents create an environment where abuse is easier for a person to perpetrate because they (unknowingly) raise their children to respect elders at all costs and to never disagree with an elder or someone in a "position of power." (the forced hugs and whatnot). You want to raise her to know that when she says "no" ...not just to *abuse*, to toothbrushing even... it is respected.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I'm sorry for your past trauma, mama, but raising your daughter this way is just so unfair. It's going to be far more hurtful and damaging than helpful.

Mama to DS (8) and DD (7) Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not "Every man for himself." And the London Underground is not a political movement.

 

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#68 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 04:26 PM
 
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What is really sad is that when someone is abused like this (the OP) it can have lasting effects and can even affect subsequent generations.

Very sad how many lives an abuser damages.
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#69 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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You know, I just had another thought. After I had my first son, I was very anxious and hypervigilant. I would fear that a plane was going to crash into my house every night and I would check my windows and doors about 3 times before I could go to sleep and even then, I would wake several times a night in fear. I think I had Post partum depression looking back.

You might want to 1. get your thyroid checked to make sure that you're not having anxiety caused from your thyroid (mine was) and 2. tell your ex to stop telling you about the horrors that he sees at work. He may need debriefing, but you don't need to hear that right now. 3. Turn off the news and don't watch it...ever. It's an inaccurate portrayal of reality. It's harmful to people like us who can't get that images out of our heads.

I moved to another country where I couldn't understand the news, so I never watched t.v. It changed my life. I realized how secure I felt when I wasn't bombarded with "be afraid" "be afraid" everytime I turned on the news.

Just tell yourself that you'll do what you can to protect your child. Look at you. You were abused, but you're not ruined. It would be horrible if something happened to her, but she wouldn't be ruined. You're going to protect her as best you can and live your life as best you can.

I see that you're seeing a counselor and that's good. These are all the things that I had to do and tell myself in order to move on and not live in fear all of the time.

You're not abusing your daughter, but you're abusing yourself by torturing yourself. Don't abuse yourself!

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#70 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 07:00 PM
 
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I agree with alegna and many of the other posters.

I just wanted to add this. I had many relationships with men/older boys growing up. I was very close w/ my dad and we spent lots of one-on-one time together. I have a brother 12 years older than me, and I remember in particular one great weekend when I was in middle school--my parents went out of town and he watched me for the whole weekend and we had a ball. I have wonderful memories of male teachers--my history teacher from ninth grade, my English teachers all through high school (I went to an all-girls' high school, but there were many male teachers, coaches, etc.), my gym teacher from elementary school, the acting teachers from camp. My parents were never especially uptight about nudity, talking about sex, etc.

When I did run intoa potentially abusive situation--I was away at an acting camp and had a male counselor who was very inappropriate (I won't go into the details--I was able to recognize it IMMEDIATELY. I was 13 and it was clear to me that the way this guy was acting was NOT like the way the other men in my life acted; the relationship he had with me felt so very different from the healthy relationships I had with men. And because I could recognize that "wrongness"--which I could do b/c I had so many counterexamples to compare it to, and because I had developed a clear sense of what a healthy relationship with an older male was like, though experience--I was able to walk away from the situation before it turned actually abusive.

I believe you are depriving your daughter of the ability to do this.
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#71 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 07:37 PM
 
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I agree with all the PPs about these policies being over-the-top protective. Although I also think they are not logistically possible to enforce.

I have noticed a lot of advice which relies on the ability of the OP to trust her instincts, or "here's what I would do" advice in which the poster assumes she would have their innate ability to tell if something was wrong.

I think the OP is coming from a place where she feels she cannot trust her instincts at all, exacerbated by the recent attack from the date. I would find that a very scary place to be. The image I get in my mind is being lost in the wilderness, without a concept of which plants are okay to eat, which animals are harmful, how to find shelter or water. I would be scared to leave my house if I felt I couldn't sense what was dangerous and what was not.

OP, your daughter has these instincts. Don't take them away from her. Please continue counseling so she doesn't end up in your position, unable to tell what is safe and what is not.

Also: OP, I am also concerned about the dad relaying all this abuse info. His job is a concentrated experience which doesn't represent the norm. If you had been robbed in a home invasion robbery, would you want to hear the gory details about every other incident forever? How does that help? What is he hoping to accomplish here?
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#72 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 07:44 PM
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BUT I'm willing to bet that your reaction (whether you verbalized it or not) to the boys innocently looking at her while you were changing her would be FAR more damaging to everyone involved (your daughter, your stepsons, yourself).
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Right now, your attitudes and actions are saying to your daughter "You are a potential victim. Your body is shameful and must be hidden, and it will cause many many people to want to harm you." But before you can stop giving her that message, you need to stop believing in it yourself. That's not easy.
I think that these two things from prothyraia deserve to be said again.
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#73 of 103 Old 12-12-2007, 10:23 PM
 
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Please consider turning off Dr. Phil and the news. They are NOT there to educate -- they are there to titillate and terrify. That's what sells advertising dollars.

And I would really beg you to ask your ex to STOP pushing your buttons with these work stories. He is NOT dealing with normal everyday reality! Yes, it is the reality of police work, but not only is it not the everyday norm, it is killing your ability to move on. At least try it for two months. He should not be texting, calling, or processing this stuff with you. If he needs an outlet he needs to find another ear to talk to -- it is REALLY impeding any progress you are making.

Once again I congratulate you on all the work you are doing. You are a loving mother and like all of us you are doing your very best!
: I have found that since I have quit watching the news I am a much more trusting and less fearful mother. You see, most people in this world are good, caring, and trustworthy; however, shows like Dr Phil and the news focus on the abnormal so they can get ratings. Please TURN OFF THE TV, or at least the news and talk shows!!!!!!!!!! Also, please explain to your child's dad that you are trying to heal and all his work stories are not helping you with that journey. He is playing into your fears! Please don't let him do this to you. I honestly feel he is victimizing you by telling you his stories, playing into your fears for yourself and your DD.

I also have to admit that like several of the pp, I am worried that your views will severly damage your DD in the future making her a future victim. Please, even if you don't allow other men to be with her, at least read books with healthy male role models, watch movies, etc. . . So at least she might get this from someplace!

Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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#74 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 05:49 AM
 
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I'm sitting here reading this thread with my dad's old police notebook sitting next to me on the desk. My dad was a cop in Los Angeles in the late 60's. When I was little I asked him why he had quit being a police officer. He told me that he reached a point where every single person he looked at (at work or home) was a criminal and he knew then that he could not stand to live his life like that. When you are constantly dealing with people who have committed horrible, horrible crimes, it becomes more and more difficult to see that not everyone in the world is like that. Being a police officer is a very honorable and, imo, necessary job. But, I would imagine this POV is something many police officers struggle with. I would guess that your dd's father is in that position. When you distrust your own sons for the simple reason that their body includes a penis, you are in a bad place. I think he needs to find a way to get space from his job, and you definitely need to let him know that you cannot handle hearing about his cases right now.

I agree with most of the PP's, but I want to add this quote:

We have a secret in our culture...
and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong.
- Laura Stavoe Harm

I think that can be extrapolated beyond birth. Women are strong. Women survive things that by all rights should not be survivable. You, right now, even feeling like all men are sick, are proof that it is possible to survive. Once you have survived, it is possible to heal. You do not have to let this break you. You do not have to let this damage continue on through the generations.

No one wants their children to be hurt, so we do the best that we can to protect them, teach them what we can, and teach them to be strong. We trust them and what they tell us, and we trust that they will learn themselves and their boundaries.

Darn, I wish I could pull this post together a bit more, but my little one just woke up and I need to get back in bed. Much love to you, mama, on your journey.

namaste,
cloudspinning
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#75 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I would like to sincerely thank each of you for your input. Pages 3 and 4 have been more helpful (less bashing-like, no offense to anyone).

I don't want and will not raise her to be ashamed of her body. My purpose for "staying clothed" is to teach her that her body is HERS--not to be viewed by just anyone. It's sacred. It's special. It's not an "object" for everyone to see. When she's older and starts running in circles around the house naked after her bath, I'm not going to scream and make her put clothes on. If boys are in the house when she's being bathed, she'll be bathed in a closed bathroom and dressed in the bathroom before she has a chance to run around naked.

His son's already know that private parts are just that--private. They don't question or think twice about Lily going into the bedroom to be changed. They are boys, she is a girl. Anywhere you go, there are 2 restrooms--"women's" and "men's"...if it were okay for both sexes to see each other naked at any given time, there wouldn't be separate restrooms for each sex. That's just my take on things.

My Ex and his mom are amazed that I even take Lily to the doctor. They're impressed that I take her when I feel something is wrong or just for her WBC. I hate doctors. But, my daughter needs to go to the doctor, and I realize that. Getting naked at the doctors is what I freak out about. So, just taking her to the doctor is a huge step for me. (I had my CS 6 months ago and I still haven't had a post op exam. (BTW, my belly still hurts...is that normal? Not that it matters I suppose, cuz I aint going!) I made the appointment, but I had anxiety attacks, threw up, cried, and shook uncontrollably. While my hands were shaking, I called and cancled. Even after canceling, it took me all day to calm down. Too much).

Really, I understand that she has no concept of her private areas. I understand that she doesn't/won't care who see's her right now. I care. And I think that, no matter how young she is--she deserves respect. My mom never respected me--her and doctors held me down (litterally) stark naked in doctor's offices while I screamed and tried to break away. Yes, the trama my mom imposed on me is a huge factor here. I just want to respect my DD. I want her to have the respect I never did--even as an infant. I don't think it's wrong to respect my child, even if she's an infant. She's still a human being. I want her to sense that I respect her. That I cherish her and love her.

My counselor is really great. She's down to earth. Yes, she laughed when I made that comment--but then she tried talking sense into me. I really relate with her. She's not the type to just sit there and "be a counselor". She'll tell me personal experiences, give examples of other clients/her friends and their issues (without names of course) to teach me something. I like her. She told me one story of a mother and daughter who were both assaulted. The mother had 2 daughters. The youngest daughter was taught the "correct" way of knowing good/bad touches, etc. Something was tried on the younger daughter (very young) and she said "NO" and told her mom immediately. The cycle of abuse had been broken. The counselor was trying to explain to me everything that all of you are--that if I shelter Lily too much, I will cause her to be a victim. With time, I'll do what's BEST for Lily instead of what I think is best for Lily. Luckily I have time. So, I have at least 3 years to mold my mind into something more normal. (For now though, I just don't want her exposed to men or being with them alone).

Counselor tells me to start talking to Lily about body parts, good/bad touches, etc around age 3. She says its very important to use *correct* body part names--that society has attached so much shame with "penis" and "vagina" that we have to say "hoo hoo" and so forth. She said that if something does happen, correct body part names hold up better in court. I think I will feel more at ease with Lily being around boys (at least her step brothers, to start with) when she is able to verbalize things. Once she knows her body parts and knows good/bad touches and can verbalize things--I think I won't have so much anxiety about boys being around her.

I want her to be strong, independent--able to stand up for herself, no matter the circumstance. I will emphasize with words, action, and love that she can talk to me about anything--sex, drugs, drinking--anything. I will raise her with unconditional love (something my mom never gave me). I will make sure she knows that no matter what, I will love her--no matter what the subject is, no matter what she's done (or what someone's done to her) she can tell me and I will love her. It's not that I want to raise her with constant fear or fear that I will freak out if she tells me something. I just want to protect her. God, I just want to protect her. (Between my mom's emotional abuse and our love/hate relationship and the men/doctors--I've got a lot of work to do. But, I know what my mom did to me was wrong...and I will not do that to my daughter. Although, I've already had a couple of instances where I swore I was my mother. But, I realized the similarity and I will not do it again).

I'm more open minded than Lily's dad. When Lily becomes a teenager and drinking, boys, and other "teenager" things come up--I know I'll be a "cool" mom. Kids are gonna drink. They're gonna have sex (cringe, lol). They're going to experiment with different things. But, I would rather have her safe at home having a few drinks with her friends than out driving or getting drunk and getting taken advantage of somewhere else. Idealy, I'd rather her wait for marriage before sex--and I will emphasize that--but I'll let her know that it's okay if she doesn't wait and I'll let her know she can come to me for birth control, questions/answers, etc. If she's an older teen w/a long term boyfriend, I don't think I'd have a problem with her boyfriend sleeping over and such. I mean, all that is WAY in the future. She's just so, vulnerable right now--so innocent and unable to defend herself.

I know what kind of mom I want to be. I know what kind of relationship I want with my daughter. I guess it's just a matter of figuring out *how* to accomplish my dreams...the right way. That's why I'm having this discussion. That's why I'm in counseling. I realize I need help. I want Lily to have the best life...the best of everything.

Again, thank you all very much. You have given me a lot of things to think about. And you've reinforced what my counselor has told me about over sheltering her and causing her to be a victim. Which tells me that I really have to change my way of thinking. But, like I said--luckily I have time. At least 3 years before she starts really verbalizing/understanding things. At least 5 years before school. She's gonna be okay. I'm gonna be okay. Thanks, mama's.
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#76 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 09:05 AM
 
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I know what kind of mom I want to be. I know what kind of relationship I want with my daughter. I guess it's just a matter of figuring out *how* to accomplish my dreams...the right way. That's why I'm having this discussion. That's why I'm in counseling. I realize I need help. I want Lily to have the best life...the best of everything.

Again, thank you all very much. You have given me a lot of things to think about. And you've reinforced what my counselor has told me about over sheltering her and causing her to be a victim. Which tells me that I really have to change my way of thinking. But, like I said--luckily I have time. At least 3 years before she starts really verbalizing/understanding things. At least 5 years before school. She's gonna be okay. I'm gonna be okay. Thanks, mama's.

Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#77 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 09:33 AM
 
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Anywhere you go, there are 2 restrooms--"women's" and "men's"...if it were okay for both sexes to see each other naked at any given time, there wouldn't be separate restrooms for each sex. That's just my take on things.
This is NOT true everywhere. Over most of the world there are unisex bathrooms. This is a leftover puritanical hang-up. Europeans are not so warped about naked bodies.

-Angela
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#78 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 09:40 AM
 
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But, like I said--luckily I have time. At least 3 years before she starts really verbalizing/understanding things.
I'm glad to hear that you KNOW things must change. But please, don't assume that she can't understand what's happening NOW. My dd can tell you and explain MANY things that happened when she was a baby/toddler that she has no way of knowing other than her own memory. They ARE little people. Just because they can't talk, doesn't mean they aren't impacted by what goes on around them.

best of luck,

-Angela
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#79 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 09:55 AM
 
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I don't want and will not raise her to be ashamed of her body. My purpose for "staying clothed" is to teach her that her body is HERS--not to be viewed by just anyone. It's sacred. It's special. It's not an "object" for everyone to see. When she's older and starts running in circles around the house naked after her bath, I'm not going to scream and make her put clothes on. If boys are in the house when she's being bathed, she'll be bathed in a closed bathroom and dressed in the bathroom before she has a chance to run around naked.
I would argue that, by fetishizing her genitals the way you are--ordering her brothers out of the room for a diaper change, insisting the diaper stay on at the doctors--YOU are the one objectifying. Your actions suggest that there is something sexual about her infant genitals--that they are potentially "tempting" to every male in her life, including her brothers, health care professionals, etc.

My dd is 18 months old and VERY verbal. And she understands everything we say. Everything. I would not assume you have "years" before this is an issue. And, more importantly, I feel strongly that infants can pick up on fear, anxiety, etc. surrounding specific actions (in your case, diaper changes, doctor visits, etc.). As a for instance: we had severe nursing problems for the first 4 months of dd's life. Nursing was brutal for me. I cried through every feeding. I was tense, miserable. Often I would balk at latching her on. Now at 18 months old, dd still does not--and never has--latch herself on the way other toddlers do. She waits for me to pull her firmly onto the breast, just as she did when she was an infant. Doesn't matter if the breast if three milimeters from her mouth--she won't latch on until she gets my "okay." I believe this is residual from the early days when she knew how much stressed me out--she's still waiting for "permission" the way she did when she was 3 months old. So I wouldn't count on the fact that your actions now won't impact the way your dd feels when she's older.

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#80 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 01:28 PM
 
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It sounds like you're on the right path. Just keep going!

Edited to add: And it's not the end of the world if you're not perfect right now, or haven't made it where you want to be. Progress like this doesn't happen instantly, it takes time. Be kind to yourself and don't beat yourself up for not being there yet, just keep working to get there.
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#81 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 03:13 PM
 
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I don't want and will not raise her to be ashamed of her body. My purpose for "staying clothed" is to teach her that her body is HERS--not to be viewed by just anyone. It's sacred. It's special. It's not an "object" for everyone to see.
As a Muslim who dresses modestly and comes from a culture of that, I can see what you're saying. But it's one thing to come from a place of fear and shame,and another to come from a secure spiritual place in which you think of the body as a sacred thing to be covered and revered. I know a lot of people who do the latter but would not think of a baby in those terms, so I think it would be good for you to examine your motivations.
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#82 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 03:19 PM
 
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Again, thank you all very much. You have given me a lot of things to think about. And you've reinforced what my counselor has told me about over sheltering her and causing her to be a victim. Which tells me that I really have to change my way of thinking. But, like I said--luckily I have time. At least 3 years before she starts really verbalizing/understanding things. At least 5 years before school. She's gonna be okay. I'm gonna be okay. Thanks, mama's.
I'm soo glad that we could share with you in a way you could hear, sorry if you have felt a bit ganged up on, as you can see all women seem pretty passionate about the topic.
Healing can definitely happen an you are on the right path, stay strong, keep pushing through.
Remember that great change does not happen on its own, and often requires you to step out of the comfort zone and challenge your self. And even though you say you have time, it needs to start now. Both because as others have said, she understands and reads a lot more than some folks give babies credit for long before she starts vocalizing that fact. And because change does not happen over night when it is needed, it takes years of practice.
i hope love and safe people for your life, make sure you take nothing less.

partners.gif 2twins.gif  So what if I don't fit cleanly into a defined parenting style, my kids don't fit into a personality archetype either!

 
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#83 of 103 Old 12-13-2007, 03:33 PM
 
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IWhen she's older and starts running in circles around the house naked after her bath, I'm not going to scream and make her put clothes on. If boys are in the house when she's being bathed, she'll be bathed in a closed bathroom and dressed in the bathroom before she has a chance to run around naked.
But the thing is that toddlers like to take off their clothes without warning. Just because you dress her in seclusion doesn't mean she'll never have a chance to be naked.

I was raised with extreme modesty. I've not even ever seen my mom naked even in passing. I can remember being scolded for "strutting" around in my panties and undershirt when I was about four. The only people home were my mom, my sister and my stepfather. But what message did it send? That I was bad for being partially unclothed. And I have to agree with those who say the kind of regulations you are proposing can lead to a child feeling objectified rather than protected from objectification. My parents wanted me to be modest, save myself for marriage etc. So much emphasis was placed on this that once I lost my viriginity in a not entirely consensual way I felt like all I had that was worth something was gone. So I went on a big promiscuous spree that was not good or healthy for me. You want your daughter to learn that she is more than a potential target and she is more than one body part.
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#84 of 103 Old 02-04-2008, 01:53 PM
 
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MayBaby2007

I just wanted to encourage you to follow your heart and do whatever you feel you need to do to protect your child. I am seen as overprotective too and I only wish that I had set down specific criteria like you did. They would not have been the same but having a frame of reference would have been beneficial. I found that when incidents came up and I did not feel comfortable, I talked myself out of it because I had so many people around me that mocked me or made me feel that I was acting too protective.

If only I had specific standards and had been stronger. Sometimes the warnings are so quiet like a whisper and you can miss it. It will not always be a strong, loud feeling. I really hope that you get healing from your pain. And remember that boundaries can change. You may not always feel this way and if so, you can re-visit what is best for all of you.

I do agree to stay away from fearful stories. I don't watch the news anymore because I am too sensitive. People ask, "How will you keep up with what is happening?" I respond that if it is important enough I will know. I think that people have become so numb because they see so much daily tragedies. Or live in complete fear and anxiety.

Life is a journey that is fluid. I feel confident that you will discover what is best for you and your family.
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#85 of 103 Old 02-04-2008, 05:54 PM
 
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Maybaby, I don't think you're being protective enough when it comes to visits with "Grandpa." The rest of the time it sounds like you are going overboard with your fears of men preying on your daughter, but how come you haven't acted on your bad feelings about Grandpa?

From what you have described, he has exhibited inappropriate behavior towards your baby, and he could be sexually abusing her every time you leave her at his house. If I understand correctly it seems like you were saying that Grandpa was experiencing sexual arousal by holding the baby's feet on his genitals. If this is the case, this is sexual abuse. (If I am misunderstanding something about the situation, I apologize in advance.)

I think you should NOT allow him to hold Lily at all, and you shouldn't leave her at his house without you even if Grandma is there to supposedly supervise him. If I were you, I wouldn't let Grandpa visit with Lily at all.
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#86 of 103 Old 02-04-2008, 08:03 PM
 
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Your story really touched me. It sounds to me like you are doing an amazing job at working out your issues. I admire your courage, strength, and determination. It seems like you are going to stop the cycle of abuse that seems to have been passed down through generations of your family. This is one of your purposes in your life, and one of the many things you came here to teach. You are healing the Earth by healing yourself and passing this legacy on to your daughter. How blessed you are to have this daughter who is motivating you to work so hard on this now!

I don't agree with the other mamas that you need to worry about needing to be PERFECT right now. I understand that they think you should stay motivated, but I think you need to be easy about it. Praise yourself often for your successes. It is such a great example to set, your daughter gets to watch you work so hard at healing yourself. That's such a great lesson of perseverence (sp?). I think your daughter will understand if you need to change your mind, if it's to make both your lives healthier. KEEP IT UP!!

*Liz* : mountain mama to DS 12/04
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#87 of 103 Old 02-04-2008, 10:57 PM
 
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I wasn't able to read all the posts because the server is acting up, but not sure if these points have been brought up:

1) your father needs HELP, and I would personally not let him NEAR HER period. I would not let him TOUCH HER (you said yourself he was letting her bounce on his crotch?!?! Oh God...). He needs professional help, not sure if he was abused as a child or not, but he needs some serious help. He needs to stay away from children. http://www.stopitnow.com/warnings.html

2) Girls and boys are both abused, and men and women both are child abusers. Boys get abused as well, maybe not as much but the numbers are very close (if you count circumcision the numbers jump WAY up for boys).

I feel so bad that you had to go through that abuse and don't blame you for being protective of your DD. But please keep her away from the person who abused YOU as well. I hope you are able to get through the trauma you experienced as well.

I was also disturbed to read that boys get molested more often than girls, the figures change depending what article you read though.

Here are some ways you can help keep your DD safe:
http://www.stopitnow.com/howtokeepkidssafe.html

Circ doesn't work! Stop the violence of circumcison. Had another UP/UC/HB in August!
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#88 of 103 Old 02-04-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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See what I mean? It's just "everywhere". It is terrifying. I will probably never have a relationship ever again....unless we live in different houses. The thought of having a boyfriend living in my house with my daughter is just something I don't think I could ever do. (A lot of the times, it is the "boyfriend" who abuses though).

Yeah. I guess I'm just completely phobic right now. I am. I'm completely phobic. Crap. Her dad wasn't abused and he's on my same level though. He deals with it though. He knows what happens. I guess. I don't know. I guess we'll deal with things as they happen.
How can you really even trust your DD's father? I mean, he *says* he wasn't abused, but you say it's 'everywhere', right? How can you even trust him, he's a man, after all. What if he's just telling you what you want to hear?

I'm sure he's okay, but you see where I'm going with this.... You can't just keep her in a plastic bubble.

The abuse I do 'remember' (there is something that may have happened to me that I can NOT for the life of me remember) was a sicko in a car would come to where I was waiting at my bus stop and pull up in his car. He'd have "it" out and pretend like he was asking for directions. It happened two times. For some reason I knew to not 'act scared' or 'freak out' because I knew he'd enjoy that. I have no idea WHY I knew this, since this happened 2 times when I was in grade school. BUT, my point is, you never know where or when or with whom it could happen.
You just have to try and relax a little, like the OP's have said you can't be with her 24/7. My mom kept really good watch on me and my sister too. But she didn't keep us cut off from the outside world, she would just have some rules that we had to follow, like let us know where we were going to be at and who was there. Common sense stuff. You need to trust your instincts, like if you get a genuine 'creepy' feeling from someone, then be aware and don't let your DD alone with that person. When your DD gets older you need to tell her what is 'appropriate' and what isn't, like a stranger wanting to 'touch' her down there is bad and she needs to tell you right away, stuff like that. Or if a man in a car approaches her, she needs to know what to do. My sister had that happen to her on our street, walking home from school. She remembered what the guy looked like and I remember her telling my mom who called the police. A neighbor friend of ours a few streets over almost got grabbed by a guy in a car. Luckily she got away. Your DD needs to know how to defend herself but she can't be chained up at home, never allowed to be alone. That will just make her more vulnerable if she ever does find herself walking down the road and someone comes up to her asking to find a 'lost puppy'.

She needs to learn survival skills, but not be insulated from the whole world.

Circ doesn't work! Stop the violence of circumcison. Had another UP/UC/HB in August!
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#89 of 103 Old 02-06-2008, 10:03 PM
 
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They do have exposure. Often teachers are male. They have relatives. They aren't there every day of their lives.

And it is abuse. You are limiting the person she is because of your own fear of men. You are living out your fear through your daughter. That is the very soul of abuse.

When you teach a child that all men/women/a group are to be feared, when you create and encourage an atmosphere of terror in a child's life you are not protecting them. If you teach your child that all men are bad, all men are to be distrusted, that all male touch is sexualized and disgusting, you are NOT teaching something that is FOR her. It is a warped and terrorizing World that you are not only teaching her, but planning on instilling throughout her life. That isn't protection.

Teaching her her own body. Teaching her to be confident in herself. Teaching her that she is ALLOWED to insist on her own limits. That she can TRUST the people around her - and if she CANNOT trust the people around her that is a legitimate issue for you to address. She should not be around people she cannot trust.

If to you that mens all men ever, you are again taking it too far into the realm of teaching her to be afraid and terrorized by her World.

That is not fair. It is not right. It isn't even CORRECT. Essentially, you are planning on teaching and having her live a lie to fullfill your own demons. I challenge you to rise above it, and instead of perpetuating the cycle of abuse change it.
I think you've said it perfectly.

OP, I am sorry for all you've been through, but I do think you are being extreme and will end up hurting your daughter if you go on like this.

It is not at all funny that you are teaching her to hate and distrust men. It is sick and sad.

Proud Anti-Adoption, Atheist, Reproductive-Freedom Fighter Mama
Rylie is 7, Ronin is 3.5
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#90 of 103 Old 02-08-2008, 07:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LoveChild421 View Post
I'm sorry you had to go through the abuse you did. It is good that you're in therapy because the effects of such abuse are certainly far-reaching.

Food for thought: what if you end up teaching your daughter (while not trying to) to feel shameful about her body? Kids like to be naked. That's part of the innocence of being a kid. As long as you're there with her, why not let her run through the sprinkler naked? If someone perverted sees her naked, it doesn't mean anything will happen to her- simply because you ARE protective and would never leave her alone with strange men. What are you going to do when she rips off her diaper and runs around the house naked in front of whoever is there? Please don't make her feel bad about herself or institute a rigid "clothes must stay on" policy. It's not fair to her to take away the carefree innocence of childhood because of what happened to you. It's not fair to instill fear or shame in a child. Fear will never set you free emotionally from what happened. I understand not wanting her to have male teachers and babysitters, I don't want my son to have male babysitters either. I only leave him alone with male family members I trust 100%- ones who raised me and never ever hurt me. But when he wants to run around naked, I don't worry about it, I celebrate his joy and his ability to not think at all about what other people are thinking about his body. Kids don't understand "modesty" and "privacy" and its beautiful because they don't have any shame yet from society.

Sometimes you don't realize that the things you do are irrational when you are living with so much fear.
When you really think about the Dr.s office incident- what do you think would happen if you did take her diaper off? Do you honestly think your daughter would care? That an infact has any sort of concept of "no that's my girl parts! don't look!"? Do you think the dr. or nurse wants to molest her? Do you think anything at all will happen with you standing right by her side? You don't have to answer to me, but please ask these things of yourself. There is no reason to bring fear and anxiety into situations which are totally harmless. There is no reason to project your sense of "you must be covered up to be protected from perverts" to your daughter. They want to have her with her diaper off to get an accurate weight (to make sure she didn't just wet the diaper) and to make sure she has no signs of abuse underneath the diaper. They are not wanting to gawk at her.

This is all what I wanted to say. Please don't teach her that her body is shameful!
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