Have you ever wondered how to talk to your kids about sexual abuse?
I have. I have three kids. That’s three uncomfortable conversations to start.
I just watched a fabulous interview with Tim Kimmel, the author of Grace Based Parenting. I highly recommend it. Please take time to watch it. It’s only a few minutes long. (I tried to embed it, but couldn’t get it to work)
Tim says in the beginning of the interview: “It is the job of the strong to protect the weak.”
That is so true. He gets it. In the family, parents are the strong ones and the children are always the weak ones. It doesn’t matter if the child is a teenage girl.
He then goes on to name three factors that are involved in abuse situations.
1) The Bully
2) The Bullied -the child
3) The Bystanders – those who do little or nothing
He says of the Bystanders that they are just as culpable. This is something fundamentalism needs to understand.
Here are his main points:
1) Empower them with knowledge
2) Replace fear with confidence
3) Have a clear action plan
4) Keep dialogue open/on-going
Towards the end of the interview, he gives a definition of love. It’s excellent! Here it is:
“The commitment of my will to your needs and best interests regardless of the cost.”
He then goes on to say that “the cost” may be going to the police about a child’s teacher, grandfather, or a parent’s best friend. How important it is to say those words to a child who may be afraid that a parent may hold those relationships as more important than the parent’s relationship to the child.
I have opened the dialogue with my oldest. It was awkward at first, but very important to me. I have always been very vigilant in monitoring her activities with others so she does not become a victim, but I can’t do that forever, and she is now old enough to understand “good touch, bad touch” and can answer me when I ask her if someone has made her uncomfortable recently. I need to open the dialogue with my son as well.
This talk is not just for parents. Put it on the table, so to speak, with a grandchild or a child who spends a lot time at your house. Be a refuge. You never know when they might need someone who cares.
Who do you need to talk with about sexual abuse?
Any other tips you can give for having this talk?