At what age do you introduce/discuss s*xual topics with your dc...r*pe, s*xual mol*station,etc... - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 29 Old 05-23-2009, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whether boy or girl, I am curious about the age you feel is important to introduce such complex and violent topics? If not based on age, do you wait for your dc to bring it up,you bring it up, based on something you KNOW your dc has been exposed to-like a huge front page news article,etc..

When you do discuss it, can I be so ignorant to ask the HOW you discuss it?

TIA!!
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#2 of 29 Old 05-23-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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It depends what level of detail you're looking for. I would answer a question right now (DD is 3) if she asked one - like i have told her IRT a child on the news that a bad person took her and killed her (skipped the rape) and stressed to her how rare that is and how she can prevent it (see Protecting the Gift, Gavin de Becker). I basically plan to answer questions as they come about EVERYTHING, this sort of stuff included.

I don't really buy into "innocence" though. The "innocence" others consider charming in kids i consider dangerous naivety which predators will look for and take advantage of. So if she asks i tell her.
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#3 of 29 Old 05-23-2009, 06:24 PM
 
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With my son, we took the approach of teaching him things like "No one can touch your body without permission" and "you may only speak to someone you don't know if mom or dad is there. If you can't find us, find a grandma."

My three year old would not have understood the concept of someone taking him and killing him beyond it scaring the daylights out of him, he's a gentle soul. We just made safety precautions part of the rules and watched him like a hawk.
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#4 of 29 Old 05-23-2009, 07:48 PM
 
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I don't really buy into "innocence" though. The "innocence" others consider charming in kids i consider dangerous naivety which predators will look for and take advantage of. So if she asks i tell her.
I tend to feel the same way. Ignorance is considered a bad thing by most people, and I basically see innocence (the way the word is usually used) as being a form of ignorance.

I don't really know when or why. I find that most topics tend to be on the table with my kids by about age 5, one way or another. If they overhear me talking to someone about something, pick up a tidbit from the news (rare, as we don't watch tv news at all) or something like that, they ask questions. We answer them, to the best of our ability. I find that when we're getting too deep/complicated for them, they'll pull back on their own, and say "oh, okay - thanks, mama" or something like that. We also emphasize, from an early age, that no means no, and we don't touch other people without their permission.

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#5 of 29 Old 05-26-2009, 01:34 PM
 
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We've never dwelt on dangers to children. We've talked about physical abuse, rape, murder, etc, etc, etc, as the questions got asked as time goes by, but abuse specifically of children isn't something that we felt the need to feature strongly. We've had the conversations several times over the years, though, with a bit more detail and maturity added each time.

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#6 of 29 Old 06-09-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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This can be touchy. While I know the world is such an incredibly SAFE (nice that the crime is as low as it was when I was growing up in the 70's!) place, I refuse to instill fear into my children. They know they can be out at night, walk in the neighborhood, even walk in the city and be fine. They don't need my constant supervision, no one is going to "get" them. I won't let them think any different.

They know from an early age (maybe 8 or 9?) that touching private parts is only for doctors and mamas/daddys, if need be. We don't scare them into thinking there are people out there wanting to molest them, because frankly there isn't. Statistically, if anyone were to do it, it's Uncle Bob anyways, so I won't teach them to fear strangers. When they reached the age of 11 or so, it was much easier to answer their questions, that's for sure. And I feel confident that my older two know how to handle a situation. My girls will be great at it too.

This is our approach, though, our opinion. We hate the scaremongering media, we don't blend CSI with real life, we want the kids to know how safe they are, because they are.

Good luck!

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#7 of 29 Old 06-12-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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I also like the approach of answering questions as they come, with a level of detail that meets the child's needs at that age and emotional maturity level. Also giving tips about behavior around strangers is good -- in addition to things mentioned above, I tell my kids that if they feel "funny" about a person or situation, to go quickly to a place with many people, and to find a parent with other kids to tell about their concerns if at all possible.

We live in a very safe city in a very safe neighborhood (in a small European country), and out of the blue there is a stalker now stalking the girls in my daughter's grade at her school. So the topic has had to be discussed more directly than anyone would wish (we're meeting with the police next Monday; the suspect lives one street away from our family). But I still don't go into detail about what an attack would be like, because there's no point to that (although if she asks specific questions I'll answer honestly). My main focus is on teaching her to trust her intuition (she noticed someone "creepy" following her home three weeks ago and turned a corner and ran to get him off her trail), as well as making sure she is always accompanied by an adult now.

I'm all for letting children range free and I also believe that media fear-mongering is out of control, but it's naive to assume that there is no danger out there at all. Fear is a useful tool and we should not prevent our children from developing adequate good sense.

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#8 of 29 Old 06-13-2009, 11:52 AM
 
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This can be touchy. While I know the world is such an incredibly SAFE (nice that the crime is as low as it was when I was growing up in the 70's!) place, I refuse to instill fear into my children. They know they can be out at night, walk in the neighborhood, even walk in the city and be fine. They don't need my constant supervision, no one is going to "get" them. I won't let them think any different.

They know from an early age (maybe 8 or 9?) that touching private parts is only for doctors and mamas/daddys, if need be. We don't scare them into thinking there are people out there wanting to molest them, because frankly there isn't. Statistically, if anyone were to do it, it's Uncle Bob anyways, so I won't teach them to fear strangers. When they reached the age of 11 or so, it was much easier to answer their questions, that's for sure. And I feel confident that my older two know how to handle a situation. My girls will be great at it too.

This is our approach, though, our opinion. We hate the scaremongering media, we don't blend CSI with real life, we want the kids to know how safe they are, because they are.

Good luck!
1 in 3 girls will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18. 1 in 6 boys but those numbers are vastly underreported. I'd say your statistics are a little skewed.

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#9 of 29 Old 06-13-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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both DS(at age 5) and DFD(at age 5) have been "touched" in a not nice way. i also have been "touched" in a not nice way at age 5 and 19 and then again at 21! it is a big fear for me. DS and DFD were with kids the same age (who had been "touched" and i was not told about it until after). it was "chalked up" to experimentation. it was not but there wasnt anything i could do etc..

i talk to them all the time. esp DSD b/c she has another home where i can not supervise her all the time. makes me so worried when she is not here.
i dont use scare tactics though. my dad instilled quite a bit of fear into me about it and it didnt stop anything. but i think that constant reminders about keeping yourself safe is good. there is a thin line here. to give appropriate info without instilling damaging anxiety. i dont want them to feel scared all the time. i want them to be confident etc.

i will be reading this thread to see how other people do it. i am always looking for more info.

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#10 of 29 Old 06-13-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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1 in 3 girls will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18. 1 in 6 boys but those numbers are vastly underreported. I'd say your statistics are a little skewed.
I think she meant that, statistically, it's not that likely that there's a stranger out there waiting to molest them. That's fairly accurate (although if you're on the wrong end of the stats, it doesn't help any). Almost all of my friends were molested at some point in their childhood...and none of them were molested by a stranger...not one. Relatives, family friends and school employees were the top three.

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#11 of 29 Old 06-13-2009, 06:15 PM
 
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1 in 3 girls will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18. 1 in 6 boys but those numbers are vastly underreported. I'd say your statistics are a little skewed.
And you can tell your girls that. I won't be telling mine, because I don't buy the statistics for many reasons (ticked off girlfriend, etc.) and the world is not a place we fear. Strom Bride is precisely right. Strange Man that Lives Next Door won't be the one to hurt my girls, it will be Uncle Bob. And I don't have any Uncle Bobs to worry about.

'sup to each family!

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#12 of 29 Old 06-13-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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And you can tell your girls that. I won't be telling mine, because I don't buy the statistics for many reasons (ticked off girlfriend, etc.) and the world is not a place we fear. 'sup to each family!
You know...you can buy the statistics or not, but if you really listen, you'll probably find they're pretty close. I'm thinking of the 10 women I know best...and all but one of us were sexually assaulted as children. The other one started remembering some things recently that suggest she may well have been...when she was pre-verbal. It's really not that uncommon. And, I know four men who were also sexually abused as children - that's just the ones who are willing to admit it (to themselves, let alone anyone else) and who trusted me enough to admit it to me. I know at least three others that I'd bet serious money were also molested, based on various things about their behaviour, speech, etc. etc.

I know for a fact that my elementary school janitor got his creepy paws on at least two other girls in my grade - no idea how many in the years before me or after me. For my class, that's almost 1 in 3 - just from him - one pervert. My grade 11 biology teacher made seriously inappropriate remarks to almost every girl in the class. I never heard that he'd gone any farther than that, but it wouldn't have surprised me in the least.

It happens. It happens a lot. I don't believe in living in fear of it, and am a much bigger believer in trusting one's gut than in "stranger danger"...but it happens...to a lot of people.

ETA: I just saw your edit. I'm glad you have no Uncle Bobs. (In my case, it was my grandfather, who has a massive brain hemorrhage - the doctors barely saved his life - when I was 6 months old. Unfortunately, nobody realized what it had done to him until years later...too late for any of his female grandchildren.) Do your kids go to school?

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#13 of 29 Old 06-13-2009, 06:23 PM
 
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You know...you can buy the statistics or not, but if you really listen, you'll probably find they're pretty close. I'm thinking of the 10 women I know best...and all but one of us were sexually assaulted as children. The other one started remembering some things recently that suggest she may well have been...when she was pre-verbal. It's really not that uncommon. And, I know four men who were also sexually abused as children - that's just the ones who are willing to admit it (to themselves, let alone anyone else) and who trusted me enough to admit it to me. I know at least three others that I'd bet serious money were also molested, based on various things about their behaviour, speech, etc. etc.

I know for a fact that my elementary school janitor got his creepy paws on at least two other girls in my grade - no idea how many in the years before me or after me. For my class, that's almost 1 in 3 - just from him - one pervert. My grade 11 biology teacher made seriously inappropriate remarks to almost every girl in the class. I never heard that he'd gone any farther than that, but it wouldn't have surprised me in the least.

It happens. It happens a lot. I don't believe in living in fear of it, and am a much bigger believer in trusting one's gut than in "stranger danger"...but it happens...to a lot of people.
Any yet I probably personally know 10000 women it HASN'T happened to. My teachers were awesome, my janitor too. Bus drivers, whatever. Didn't happen in our schools.

I'm sorry it happened to you. Statistically speaking, it's not going to happen to my children. That's it, the end of it. Sorry you disagree, but that's what makes the world exciting. I'll not be scaring my children. Period.

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#14 of 29 Old 06-13-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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Any yet I probably personally know 10000 women it HASN'T happened to.
How on earth can you possible know that? Do you have any idea how many women don't talk about it - ever? They simply don't discuss it. They've internalized the very clear message that they did something wrong. I'm not sure I even know 10,000 women - but I'm sure I know women who were molested who have never told me about it.

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My teachers were awesome, my janitor too. Bus drivers, whatever. Didn't happen in our schools.
And, again - how do you know? I was talking to someone I went to school with at my 15 year reunion. We'd gone to the same school from 4th grade to graduation (4-7 at the school with the creepy janitor). I said something to her about it, and she was stunned. She'd had no idea whatsoever that it happened in "our school". It's not like the perverts or their victims walk around with a sign announcing that it's happening.

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I'm sorry it happened to you. Statistically speaking, it's not going to happen to my children. That's it, the end of it. Sorry you disagree, but that's what makes the world exciting. I'll not be scaring my children. Period.
Obviously, it's up to you. I don't remember how old your girls are, but they probably already know it happens, anyway. It's not anywhere near as underground as it was when I was a child. (Nobody admitted that it happened at all back then.) I sincerely hope it doesn't ever happen to either of your children - I wish it would never happen to anyone again. It's horribly damaging.

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#15 of 29 Old 06-15-2009, 09:35 AM
 
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Just thought you might find this interesting! (Bowing back out of thread because I will not tell my kid that the world is a bad place!)
All U.S. homicides: Down 40% 1992 -2005.
Juvenile homicide: Down 36% 1993 – 2005 (kids under age 14)
Juvenile homicide: Down 60% 1993 – 2005 (age 14 – 17)
Forcible rape: Down 28% 1992 – 2006
Sex Abuse Substantiations of Children, 1990 – 2005: Down 51%
Physical Abuse Substantiations of Children, 1990 – 2005: Down 46%
Juvenile Sex victimization trends, 1993 – 2003: Down 79%

These stats were collected and crunched by the Crimes Against Children Research Center, which gets its numbers from the U.S. Dept. of Justice. David Finkelhor, head of the center, says that clearly something is driving ALL crime down. Nationally, violent crime – not just against children — just went down another 2.5% according to FBI stats released last week. Finkelhor credits these factors:
H/T to my friend Lenore for the stats on our wonderfully safe society! I found it ironic that she just posted these... great timing, Lenore!

SANDRA, 41 year old VERY laid-back mama to VERY free range kids Brett (16), Justus (11), Autumn (4), and Ayla (1)... four perfect NCB's! :::
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#16 of 29 Old 06-15-2009, 12:16 PM
 
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When my kids asked about sex, I talked to them about whatever aspects they were ready for. We discuss how sex can feel really good when you're a grownup and with somebody you're in love with, but it can also hurt a whole lot if you're forced into it. I compared it to tickling- it can be lots of fun and feel good when you're in the mood, but it feels bad and awkward when you want it to stop but the other person keeps going.

I honestly can't remember when I first brought it up with each child. We have the conversation about tickling from age 2 or so. When they're old enough to ask about dating, kissing, and other aspects of human sexuality, I use the tickling example to explain the existence of date rape and how it compares to consensual sex.

I also don't focus on dangers to my kids. I focus on healthy relationships, and how to tell if something is wrong.

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#17 of 29 Old 06-15-2009, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well...honestly, i was looking for more helpful replies. but, thanks...

i would love to hear from mamas who have dc in the preteen/teen ages....maybe those w/uncles, grandpas,bils, attend school,attend youth church activities,read the paper(which sometimes puts these issues on the front page-dc read this, therefore are aware of vocab.),etc...

by asking my op, i was wanting the hows and whens...not implications that just b'c i want to talk to my dc about these issues=trying to instill fear.

btw- i was molested by a stepfather,one of mom's boyfriends, friend's dad at a sleepover, and had an attempted rape by a stranger who broke into my apt. in college.

sorry, stats are a non-issue for this mama.

a good read is by gavin de becker....keeping our kids safe(or something like that)

anyone else care to reply?
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#18 of 29 Old 06-15-2009, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When my kids asked about sex, I talked to them about whatever aspects they were ready for. We discuss how sex can feel really good when you're a grownup and with somebody you're in love with, but it can also hurt a whole lot if you're forced into it. I compared it to tickling- it can be lots of fun and feel good when you're in the mood, but it feels bad and awkward when you want it to stop but the other person keeps going.

I honestly can't remember when I first brought it up with each child. We have the conversation about tickling from age 2 or so. When they're old enough to ask about dating, kissing, and other aspects of human sexuality, I use the tickling example to explain the existence of date rape and how it compares to consensual sex.

I also don't focus on dangers to my kids. I focus on healthy relationships, and how to tell if something is wrong.
thanks, Ruth. i found your reply a bit more helpful.
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#19 of 29 Old 06-15-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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Whether boy or girl, I am curious about the age you feel is important to introduce such complex and violent topics? If not based on age, do you wait for your dc to bring it up,you bring it up, based on something you KNOW your dc has been exposed to-like a huge front page news article,etc..

When you do discuss it, can I be so ignorant to ask the HOW you discuss it?

TIA!!
I have a 11 yo boy and a 7yo girl. I have not had any sex talk with dd other than that her body is hers and it's not ok for anyone else to touch her. I may have also said that she is allowed to do whatever it takes to get someone's hands off of her.

My ds, in the past year, has had many more situations that have arisen that have enabled me to have interesting/informative discussions with him. In the past year, he has learned the mechanics of sex as it pertains to making babies (though it now occurs to me that I didn't necessarily talk about the emotional/physical aspects of sex...) He also has some classmates who have same sex parents, so he's learned about that. Most recently, some of his male classmates have been acting inappropriately towards the girls in his class. This has opened up all new things to discuss and I am quite proud of how we both handled it. We have discussed sexual harrassment and how it's never ok to touch or say rude things to girls. I've informed him that some of those boys, if they get caught, could be labeled a sex offender which can follow them the rest of their lives and told him the ramifications of that. I've informed him the correct way to handle any sort of sexual harassment he sees between any of his classmates.

I have not discussed rape or molestation exactly with him, though, since it's never really come up.
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#20 of 29 Old 06-15-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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We using teaching momments like news, signs at stores, et. It has been an on going conversation since they were little. That store was robbed -- guess not all people are nice. We lock our doors because not all people are nice.

Do you ever stop and look at those pictures at a store or in ads? Those are good starting point for conversation. Again not all people are nice arn't you glad most all. What do you think you should do if ---.

At 4 ish it becomes common on play grounds to here "I will tell your mom." Teach your kids then to respond OK. When people ask you to keep secrets or threaten you or threaten parents they are not nice and those are the times parents need to know. You talk about how you won't feel sad or mad if you find out things.....don't over react when the 4 year old tells you dc threw a rock. You aren't building trust. Calmly later talk about the situation. Admit to the child I bet you were scared. Let them know you were glad they didn't try to keep a secret. At that age you can talk about good and bad secrets. If the secret makes you feel happy and silly than it is ok to keep. If it makes you sad or scared, thats when you need to tell.


When we look at statitcs of 1 in 4 you need to break it down further than that on when and what age groups are most at rish and who by. Kids are more likely to be misharmed by people of trust than stranger.

Approximately 1/3 of all juvenile victims of sexual abuse are children younger than 6 yrs. of age. -- horrible statistic but it is and it means that most sex offences are happening after that age. When the kids are out.

Teens 16 – 19 were 3 ½ times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault You need to be more aware at this age and who and why it is happening.

Also you have to be open that these statsics more apply to girls than boy because we as a society have failed to look or address abuse against boys. If a 14 year old boy is sexually approached/touched by a girl/woman it is viewed differently than a 14 year old girl. I think this is one reason by boys can be more violent or sexual is because they are told by society to shut up and be this way. That they have to be horndogs if not they are freaks. My 14 year old son is suffering this. He isn't into girls yet. Not intresting in dating,et and he has girls chasing him---he has this 16 year old freaky girl that shows up to swim practice to try to talk to him. I scared her off on day. She is like a cat -- the more he ignores her the more she wants him. Other guys talk and flirt but he ignores her just because he isn't their developmentally there. She has offered him rides home if that was a 16 yo boy asking a 14 yo people would be more concern. We finally got other parents going up to her and "chatting" because they finally are getting the point after that incident. Cops won't touch or go talk to the girl either.

I also don't think we ask the right questions to find out what is stastically going on with them. We might ask if they have ever been abused....but we don't ask if you ever been smacked by a girl. You have to be very specific because males don't define some behaviors as abuse. I remember a male co-worker talk about a peeing game that they did at camp---it was encouraged by a male counciler. If you heard the entire story change the gender he was molested. He didn't get how a molester often makes things "fun" "enjoyable" then their fault.
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#21 of 29 Old 06-15-2009, 02:30 PM
 
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I have always openly and honestly answered my childrens questions whenever they came up. With my oldest (dd) she began asking at about 4 years old. I keep everything on their level and answer the questions that they ask...not more. I did have the "good touch/bad touch" talk with both my kids at an early age. The problem with that is that many children do not feel "able" to tell an older person to stop. My dd was molested at age 5 by my half brother who was 14 at the time and babysitting with my dad. She pretended she was asleep, and told us the next day. Sometimes I think it's too naive to expect a child to stand up to an authority figure.

As for the violent crimes that happen, my children have heard through the years about awful things that have happened. Again, this is an opportunity to have honest conversations that answer their questions. I personally am very overprotective of my children (they are not allowed to go places alone, etc), and I'm ok with that.

~Manessa mama to one teenageer, one tweenager, and a toddler

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#22 of 29 Old 06-17-2009, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We using teaching momments like news, signs at stores, et. It has been an on going conversation since they were little. That store was robbed -- guess not all people are nice. We lock our doors because not all people are nice.

Do you ever stop and look at those pictures at a store or in ads? Those are good starting point for conversation. Again not all people are nice arn't you glad most all. What do you think you should do if ---.

At 4 ish it becomes common on play grounds to here "I will tell your mom." Teach your kids then to respond OK. When people ask you to keep secrets or threaten you or threaten parents they are not nice and those are the times parents need to know. You talk about how you won't feel sad or mad if you find out things.....don't over react when the 4 year old tells you dc threw a rock. You aren't building trust. Calmly later talk about the situation. Admit to the child I bet you were scared. Let them know you were glad they didn't try to keep a secret. At that age you can talk about good and bad secrets. If the secret makes you feel happy and silly than it is ok to keep. If it makes you sad or scared, thats when you need to tell.


When we look at statitcs of 1 in 4 you need to break it down further than that on when and what age groups are most at rish and who by. Kids are more likely to be misharmed by people of trust than stranger.

Approximately 1/3 of all juvenile victims of sexual abuse are children younger than 6 yrs. of age. -- horrible statistic but it is and it means that most sex offences are happening after that age. When the kids are out.

Teens 16 – 19 were 3 ½ times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault You need to be more aware at this age and who and why it is happening.

Also you have to be open that these statsics more apply to girls than boy because we as a society have failed to look or address abuse against boys. If a 14 year old boy is sexually approached/touched by a girl/woman it is viewed differently than a 14 year old girl. I think this is one reason by boys can be more violent or sexual is because they are told by society to shut up and be this way. That they have to be horndogs if not they are freaks. My 14 year old son is suffering this. He isn't into girls yet. Not intresting in dating,et and he has girls chasing him---he has this 16 year old freaky girl that shows up to swim practice to try to talk to him. I scared her off on day. She is like a cat -- the more he ignores her the more she wants him. Other guys talk and flirt but he ignores her just because he isn't their developmentally there. She has offered him rides home if that was a 16 yo boy asking a 14 yo people would be more concern. We finally got other parents going up to her and "chatting" because they finally are getting the point after that incident. Cops won't touch or go talk to the girl either.

I also don't think we ask the right questions to find out what is stastically going on with them. We might ask if they have ever been abused....but we don't ask if you ever been smacked by a girl. You have to be very specific because males don't define some behaviors as abuse. I remember a male co-worker talk about a peeing game that they did at camp---it was encouraged by a male counciler. If you heard the entire story change the gender he was molested. He didn't get how a molester often makes things "fun" "enjoyable" then their fault.
You bring up some useful and insightful info here! Thanks. Very, very good points.
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#23 of 29 Old 06-17-2009, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have always openly and honestly answered my childrens questions whenever they came up. With my oldest (dd) she began asking at about 4 years old. I keep everything on their level and answer the questions that they ask...not more. I did have the "good touch/bad touch" talk with both my kids at an early age. The problem with that is that many children do not feel "able" to tell an older person to stop. My dd was molested at age 5 by my half brother who was 14 at the time and babysitting with my dad. She pretended she was asleep, and told us the next day. Sometimes I think it's too naive to expect a child to stand up to an authority figure.

As for the violent crimes that happen, my children have heard through the years about awful things that have happened. Again, this is an opportunity to have honest conversations that answer their questions. I personally am very overprotective of my children (they are not allowed to go places alone, etc), and I'm ok with that.
Manessa- I'm so,so sorry about your precious dd.
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#24 of 29 Old 06-17-2009, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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UPDATE....

while i have always had casual and not so casual talks with our dc about good/bad touch, trusting their guts about people, etc... i had to take it to the next step with our oldest. it was touchy, as she scares easily. i am very, very glad we talked, using some of the points pps made(emotional, feel good vs. bad, non-emotional). dd was unaware of the difference between molestation and r@pe. she also needed to hear from me about s*xual harrassment(sp?), what it looks like, how to handle it,etc..

honestly, our oldest is strikingly beautiful, and is growing up each day with a body that is catching the eyes of teen and college age males. she goes to the pool alone(well,with a friend), and yesterday, said some boys were making comments about her body. she asked if that was crossing the line-and I said yes! and today she will point them out to me-i will address it with the pool manager(friend of friend), and we'll take it from there.

no WONDER she wanted to get a new bathing suit yesterday....she wanted a full tankini w/surfer shorts-and found one that she loves.(she was wearing a 1/2 tankini w/bikini bottoms)

anyway...thanks....
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#25 of 29 Old 06-17-2009, 03:58 PM
 
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We use life's happenings to talk to our children about these issues. I have a 10yr old ds (as of yesterday ), a 7 yr old ds and an 11 month old dd. We have always been very open about nudity and used proper verbiage like breast, penis, etc. When I was pregnant with dd we used it as a way to talk about conception, birth, breastfeeding. These are things we had brief conversations about prior to my pregnancy but it allowed my boys to experience it. As far as rape, sexual abuse... We have always told our boys that any touch that makes you uncomfortable, no matter who it is from, is not ok. This is a topic that we bring up on occasion to keep it "fresh" in their minds. We were watching network t.v. the other day and a commercial for an upcoming news segment came on. It mentioned a girl being raped. My boys asked what does raped mean? I explained that it means that a person is forced to have sex when they don't want to. This led into another brief sex talk that was based around questions my boys had.

I do not believe that having these conversations with my kids is causing them to live in fear. I think that it is empowering them. They both are comfortable riding their bikes to the park without me, going into a store to make a purchase while I wait in the car, or if they are at a sleep over and want to come home to call me to come get them.

I want my kids to know that these conversations are not taboo. God forbid something happen to one of my kids; I want them to have the words to tell my husband and I and the confidence to know that we will listen.
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#26 of 29 Old 06-17-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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Questions relating to sex are answered as they are asked, for the most part.

Sexual violence is a whole other story. I am not comfortable with DD watching the news or even reading parts of the newspaper, because there are too many upsetting stories. Even if she knows that people get murdered, she doesn't need the details. She doesn't need to see a picture. And I see no reason why she has to know that children are sometimes murdered by their own parents.

As far as knowing about sexual violence against children, the issue only recently came up in a discussion of chat rooms - she is absolutely not allowed to be in them, but an incident in which some kids on a school bus used a fake name in a Nintendo DS "chatroom" to talk to her sparked the conversation. It was mostly about how she should never engage in conversation with a person she does not know on a copmputer or telephone or any situation in which she cannot see that person in front of her. We talked about how sometimes a person who wants to harm a child might pretend to be someone else and use tricky ways to find out where that child lives or goes to school, and she asked me specifically what the "bad things" are, so I gave specific answers and said there are sick people who might kidnap a child and physically harm them or do sexual things to them.

For the record, I hated having to tell her that, but it was necessary. I don't think of it as spoiling her innocence as much as I think of it as giving her a fear that I wish she didn't have to have at this age. BUT I am not a paranoid parent and I know that there are ways to keep her safe, and if she and I and DH use our brains and follow our instincts she is very unlikely to ever be hurt by someone.

The 1 in 3 statistic can be misleading, because what I have read is that 1 in 3 girls by the age of 18 has had sexual contact with an adult, and I wonder if that includes 17 year old girls with 19 year old boyfriends, for example. I have not read that 1 in 3 girls is sexually assaulted, which of course is a very different thing. I might be remembering this wrong, but even if I am, the majority of sexual molestation is perpetrated by someone close to the child, and Gavin Debecker's book does a fabulous job of helping parents know the red flags of a predator. And yes, things happen, and I can't control everything, but I don't live in fear.
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#27 of 29 Old 06-17-2009, 05:15 PM
 
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And you can tell your girls that. I won't be telling mine, because I don't buy the statistics for many reasons (ticked off girlfriend, etc.) and the world is not a place we fear. Strom Bride is precisely right. Strange Man that Lives Next Door won't be the one to hurt my girls, it will be Uncle Bob. And I don't have any Uncle Bobs to worry about.
Seriously, the "ticked off girlfriend" is usually what the story the perpetrator spreads to CYA. Way to perpetuate the disbelief that follows victims of sexual assault. :

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#28 of 29 Old 06-17-2009, 06:09 PM
 
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How on earth can you possible know that? Do you have any idea how many women don't talk about it - ever? They simply don't discuss it. They've internalized the very clear message that they did something wrong. I'm not sure I even know 10,000 women - but I'm sure I know women who were molested who have never told me about it.


And, again - how do you know? I was talking to someone I went to school with at my 15 year reunion. We'd gone to the same school from 4th grade to graduation (4-7 at the school with the creepy janitor). I said something to her about it, and she was stunned. She'd had no idea whatsoever that it happened in "our school". It's not like the perverts or their victims walk around with a sign announcing that it's happening.


Obviously, it's up to you. I don't remember how old your girls are, but they probably already know it happens, anyway. It's not anywhere near as underground as it was when I was a child. (Nobody admitted that it happened at all back then.) I sincerely hope it doesn't ever happen to either of your children - I wish it would never happen to anyone again. It's horribly damaging.
Yes, yes, yes. To say that statistically it's not going to happen.. statistics don't help if it does happen to you or someone you love. I dislike the current media circus and overprotective (to the point of smothering) tendencies.. but what is the harm in raising children to believe that sometimes, bad things happen to good people?

Nearly everyone I know has suffered sexual abuse or rape at least once in their life, many of them as children. In my own family - my father (school janitor, pastor, friend), three of my four aunts (boyfriend, Strange Man Next Door, date rape) both my great-uncles (at the hands of my great-grandfather). And that is just the people in my family who have shared what happened to them. When I say sexual abuse I am not counting sexual harassment (which many women get nonstop from before puberty), garden variety sexual touching (guys pinching your butt at work) or stalking (people like to joke about stalking and act like it's flattering.. it's not a laughing matter IMO, it is extremely threatening and often leads to much worse). I can say pretty certainly that every woman I know has experienced these (perhaps less traumatic, but no less serious) violations.

It's epidemic and it's not openly discussed in our society. There is stigma, shame.. and many people don't admit or know that what happened 'counted' as sexual abuse or rape. Or suppress the memory for years and years. Plenty of people say they don't know anyone it happened to - that just means no one has ever shared with you.

Honestly, I don't see how discussing these issues with children (in the most generalized way if you like) is 'scaring them'. We teach our kids to look both ways crossing the street, be safe around heights, not to play with fire or electricity, etc - to me at least, educating them that sometimes, people touch other people in a way that feels wrong or bad, or threaten them in various ways - and that if this does happen to them, they can say no, and to please tell their parents who will listen and stop whatever this person is doing - is no different. I've known about 'bad touch' since I was 6 and I have never lived in fear that it will happen to me. I do feel it has contributed to my awareness of predatory behavior and many times allowed me to sense bad intentions, defend myself or speak out when I otherwise would have stayed silent.
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#29 of 29 Old 06-17-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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Manessa- I'm so,so sorry about your precious dd.
Thanks. It's been over 5 years, and she is doing great! I still have a lot of issues, but that's a whole other thread

~Manessa mama to one teenageer, one tweenager, and a toddler

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