It saddens me that I even have to write this.
It is horrifying that I even have to share this conversation with my seven year old.
Nevertheless, as her parent, it is my duty to keep her safe. It is my job to teach her boundaries; what is appropriate and what is not. I have to warn my kids of danger.
We talk about looking both ways when we cross a street. We know not to run with scissors and to keep them pointed down. We talk about how Jesus is the only way to Heaven and how hell is an awful place for those who reject Him.
If the topic will keep them safe, it’s worth discussing.
One of the hardest conversations I’ve had so far has been about sexual abuse and inappropriate contact.
Now, you might think that this shouldn’t be a big worry of mine. After all, we homeschool. Our kids currently do not take part in any extra curricular activities aside from church. Their best friends are family. At this point in their lives, their world is still small.
Sadly, even in the smallest of circles, bad things can happen. I’m going to bet that you heard something about it in the news within the last couple of weeks. It was something about family or church members inappropriately handling a child. You know as well as I do that it can happen anywhere. It has happened even in the most seemingly secure environments.
In this day and age, teaching your child about inappropriate contact is a must.
How can we even do that? As I said, my oldest daughter is seven. She doesn’t know about the birds and the bees. We have tried very hard to keep her a little girl and maintain her innocence. So, this conversation isn’t easy.
Here are a few things that I shared with her in a way that I felt was easy for her to understand. Perhaps if this isn’t something you’ve discussed with your child, you can start here:
- If someone tells you to keep a secret from mom and dad, they’re lying. You need to come to us right away and tell us what they’ve said.
- If you don’t want to hug someone, you don’t have to.
- If anyone touches you ____, _____, or ____ (fill in the blanks), you need to tell mom and dad right away.
- Mom and Dad are here to keep you safe. If anyone ever tells you they will hurt you for sharing a secret, they’re lying. You still need to come to us.
- If someone ever makes you feel weird or uncomfortable, tell us.
- If someone asks you to be alone with them and you haven’t gotten our permission (not that we would give it), you are not to go with them.
These are fairly simple things, but I feel that this adequately explains to her that there are certain boundaries that people should not cross. I pray that these are things she never has to think about, but you can’t ever be too prepared.
We also take great measures not to leave our kids with people we don’t know. I’ve become leery even about church folk, as much as I’d love to trust every one. My child’s well-being is far too precious to risk it. My child may not understand at the time why I say NO to certain things, but that’s okay. I have to do what’s best.
As we raise our kids, we are preparing them for the outside world. We are preparing them to become adults that function well in society. The dark side to all of that is that we have to teach them about the wickedness of this world. If we want them to remain safe, we have to be up front about the dangers in this present day. Creating safe and healthy boundaries for them at a young age can help them as they grow.
This conversation is tough, but it must be had.