Sunday, January 8, 2012

"Tough Talks" Articles: Talking to kids about sex and protecting your child from sexual abuse

This week I found out that a woman I know is now dating her third sex offender... that we know of. Typing his name in Google brings up his record as the first four results, it would have taken her all of two seconds to check it, but she says she didn't. It isn't as if she doesn't know they are sex offenders, it is that she doesn't want to know.

There are a lot of things we don't want to know, but pretending they aren't real doesn't make them go away. There isn't a fairy godmother in the world who can make a sex offender not be a sex offender. It's what they do, it's like asking a scorpion not to sting or a spider not to bite.

They might not molest your child... but I wouldn't go poking around just to find out. If you are a parent, you have a responsibility to protect your children from child molesters, and nobody should have to explain this to you. It should be hardwired, but sadly... as soon as I posted something about it online I got several messages from people saying that they know women who seem to date pedophiles exclusively. What gives? I have NO idea.

It only takes a few minutes alone with a predator to change a life forever. If the red flags are there, don't ignore them. It doesn't matter how much you love your partner, if they are a danger to your children and you fail to act then you are just as guilty as they are, and maybe even more so. You chose to bring that child into the world, and you owe that child as safe a passage as possible.

There is very little room in parenting for selfishness when it comes to who will and will not be around your children. It can happen to anybody, once after that, well... as George W. Bush once said...

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." 

Eventually, your kids are going to have sex. We all know where grand-babies come from, and whether we like the method or not, it happens. It isn't that we want them to remain celibate forever, but any good parent wants to hold it off as long as possible.

Educating your children as well as yourself about sexual predators is just one step along the way. Teaching them about their bodies and their safety every chance you get is the only defense you have, and even then they sometimes get through. The best of mothers have discovered that someone they placed their trust in was not trustworthy. The guilt they suffer is tremendous, but you are dealing with a professional, and to beat them you had better get educated.

When we were kids we had National Geographic and our parents' dirty books. Today's kids have the internet. Anything you want to know is a mere Google search away. Children are becoming exposed to sex at earlier and earlier ages. Sex bracelets, lipstick parties, and sexting might be foreign to you, but if your kids are above the age of 13, they probably know more than you think. They sell thongs for toddlers now, and parents are actually buying them.

Teaching them about the birds and the bees is one of the least looked forward to tasks in the parenting handbook, and most of us want to get it over with as soon as humanly possible. It's our kids... and sex... and... awkward...

I can't come to your house and do it for you, but I can offer you a bit of a helping hand: a pair of articles from the Boshemia's Bohemia archives. Practical parenting tips and ideas for helping you decide what you can do about those great fears for your kids.

Talking to Kids About Sex

Protect Your Child From Sexual Abuse