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-   -   Would you tell your child he was right to distrust a former caregiver? (http://www.mothering.com/forum/65-childhood-years/1439746-would-you-tell-your-child-he-right-distrust-former-caregiver.html)

EnviroBecca 08-07-2014 02:19 PM

Would you tell your child he was right to distrust a former caregiver?
 
I just happened upon some disturbing news that validates my son's feelings about someone who cared for him 4 years ago. I'm going to tell his father about it. I'm wondering whether to tell my son, too, and reiterate that it was right to tell us his objections to this person and that he should trust his "creep sense" in future . . . or if it is better NOT to tell him because it could scare him.

Specifically: My son is going into 4th grade now. For the first half of his kindergarten year, he went to after-school care at a small childcare center near the school. There were 3 adults working there at all times. The one who walked over to meet my son at school was Tom. My son complained that Tom acted teasingly with him--calling him names that are similar to his name but different, joking about did he have a girlfriend, tugging on his curly hair--and would not stop when he told him to stop. Although the teasing always sounded like it was within the range of what some adults think is funny, we felt that because our son did not like it, Tom should quit when he said quit! We talked with the childcare manager about it, twice, and both times she spoke to Tom and he backed off, for a while. We had no other complaints about this childcare and only left because my partner lost his job and became able to pick up our son from school. But by the time he left there, our son was grumbling that he really did not like Tom and didn't even want Tom to look at him.

So today, I noticed a mom online looking for childcare in my area, and I was going to recommend this center. I searched the Web for contact info...and I found that Tom was arrested 2 years ago and found guilty of sexually molesting a little girl. He did not do it at the center but at her home, where he was babysitting her. Investigation of the childcare center found absolutely no problems there. But still!!! My son was right about Tom being creepy! I am feeling sick even about having him walk half a block in public with this guy, day after day. I am confident that they were never alone and unobserved.

Should I tell him? Or is it better just to keep being supportive of trusting his instincts about people, without mentioning that this one person turned out to really deserve his distrust?

rachelsmama 08-07-2014 03:07 PM

I really don't know what I would do. Around here there's a bit of a tendency to tell children that their opinions/instincts/thoughts aren't valid, so I think telling a child that their instincts have been proven right could help counteract those negative messages. On the other hand, if he doesn't raise the subject I think it would be an awkward conversation to start.

FN2BAMOM 08-07-2014 04:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EnviroBecca (Post 17900002)
I just happened upon some disturbing news that validates my son's feelings about someone who cared for him 4 years ago. I'm going to tell his father about it. I'm wondering whether to tell my son, too, and reiterate that it was right to tell us his objections to this person and that he should trust his "creep sense" in future . . . or if it is better NOT to tell him because it could scare him.

Specifically: My son is going into 4th grade now. For the first half of his kindergarten year, he went to after-school care at a small childcare center near the school. There were 3 adults working there at all times. The one who walked over to meet my son at school was Tom. My son complained that Tom acted teasingly with him--calling him names that are similar to his name but different, joking about did he have a girlfriend, tugging on his curly hair--and would not stop when he told him to stop. Although the teasing always sounded like it was within the range of what some adults think is funny, we felt that because our son did not like it, Tom should quit when he said quit! We talked with the childcare manager about it, twice, and both times she spoke to Tom and he backed off, for a while. We had no other complaints about this childcare and only left because my partner lost his job and became able to pick up our son from school. But by the time he left there, our son was grumbling that he really did not like Tom and didn't even want Tom to look at him.

So today, I noticed a mom online looking for childcare in my area, and I was going to recommend this center. I searched the Web for contact info...and I found that Tom was arrested 2 years ago and found guilty of sexually molesting a little girl. He did not do it at the center but at her home, where he was babysitting her. Investigation of the childcare center found absolutely no problems there. But still!!! My son was right about Tom being creepy! I am feeling sick even about having him walk half a block in public with this guy, day after day. I am confident that they were never alone and unobserved.

Should I tell him? Or is it better just to keep being supportive of trusting his instincts about people, without mentioning that this one person turned out to really deserve his distrust?

Please tell him, by all means! Maybe not go into details about what Tom did exactly to the little girl, but I would tell him about the arrest. I think your son needs to know that his feelings were right, and that if he ever feels that way again about someone he should come to you immediately and let you know. I see this as an opportunity to talk about appropriate and inappropriate touching and bodily contact between your son and anyone else (adult or child), and maybe role play what your son could do if someone started doing some of these things. Role play and discussing options would help him feel more in control, like he has options if he ever gets into a bad situation. 4th grade is not too young. Wouldn't it be better that he be a bit afraid than that he is ever molested because he didn't trust his instincts or didn't know what he could do to get out of a bad situation? And you don't know that telling him would make him afraid. Instead, he might feel justified. Based on what you report him saying, he was probably afraid already at the time, but may not have had his fears sufficiently validated by you or your partner. Sometimes it's hard for kids to express what they really feel. This might allow him to release his fears by knowing he was right.

And you might consider apologizing to your son for putting him in a situation where he did not feel safe for so long, or for ever letting him be around Tom. You did your best, you tried to address the situation at the daycare, and you didn't know any better about Tom, but your son still might appreciate an apology. It could be healing for you both.

P.J. 08-08-2014 03:05 AM

I wouldn't tell him because it can only work to instill exaggerated fear in him and perhaps skew his clearly right-on-target instinct. He may start mistrusting adults who actually aren't child molesters, because he becomes so afraid about what Tom did to that little girl. It is obvious that he has a well-tuned creep-o-meter. Now you know how important it is to validate and take seriously children's feelings about other people and recognize the red flags. It's on your radar, so you just keep open for any red flags and keep the dialog open with him regarding these things as we do with all children in all cases, without needing to go into details about past abuse that could have happened to him but didn't. No need to terrorize him as far as I can tell. Kids are sensitive and as scary as it was for you to find this out, imagine it amplified. That's how he's going to feel. I'd leave it.....

Linda on the move 08-08-2014 07:52 AM

I wouldn't tell him because it won't make him any safer, and it will bring up new issues for him to deal with. I don't see that there is anything to be gained by telling him, and that it could be upsetting and raise questions that you don't have answers to.

It sounds like you dealt with it VERY appropriately at the time and you don't have anything to apologize for. You took his feelings seriously and you stood up for him.

luckiest 08-08-2014 08:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Linda on the move (Post 17901818)
I wouldn't tell him because it won't make him any safer, and it will bring up new issues for him to deal with. I don't see that there is anything to be gained by telling him, and that it could be upsetting and raise questions that you don't have answers to.

It sounds like you dealt with it VERY appropriately at the time and you don't have anything to apologize for. You took his feelings seriously and you stood up for him.

This. Also, even though I do think you responded appropriately, I would wonder if he might think you should have removed him from the day care, given that his dislike of the guy turned out to be completely founded. If that makes sense...I just don't see any upside to telling him.


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