Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Kids and Molestation

Gotta love those convos with your kids where you almost feel as if you're talking to an adult because of the subject matter.
D: Mom, so what happened with Penn State? (We had talked about the Sandusky happenings when all that was going on, but he's up to date on all things sports so he had heard about the penalties and other news surrounding the university.)

M: Well...they're in trouble. Remember that guy that was touching other boys in the privates?

D: Well, yeah. But why did they knock down the statue of that one guy? Wasn't he a good coach?

M: Joe Paterno? He was a good coach. But then people found out he knew that the other guy was touching other boys and the coach didn't tell anyone. And they were like 'That's not cool.' And then they didn't care how good of a coach he was anymore. So they knocked down his statue. (I have no idea how true my answer was but I felt like that was a fair interpretation for this little teaching moment.)
D: Well, what about TCU, do they still have a team?

Onto the drug conversation.....

Who would have known that my boys' love and knowledge of sports would act as such an easy gateway to discuss some of the harder subjects of life! Yosh, I owe you big. And you too, ESPN.

We've made the decision to be as honest and open with our kids as possible. Sometimes I find myself wondering when we should talk with them about certain things and what exactly we should say. I've learned through trial and error....and rage. After the Sandusky news first broke, I was all, "Boys, you better believe there's gonna be some guys out there that want to touch your pen*s, they will even ask you to KISS it, or kiss theirs. People are crazy. You've got to know this could happen and that IT'S NOT RIGHT." You can just assume that everything in quotes was said in major capital letters. And on more than one occasion. Within a 48 hour time period. Probably not the most effective way. But hey, trial and error...and RAGE! But the kids take a lot of that pressure off when they ask questions, when they're the ones guiding the conversation.

As much as we've talked about "private parts" and no one should look at them or touch them, the disheartening truth is as long as we're letting them into the real world, there's no guarantee that they're safe from predators- whether that predator be other kids or adults, family members or strangers.

One of my readers has agreed to share her recently gained knowledge from a very unfortunate event.


I have someone very close to me whose children were sexually molested. This is a horrific thing for anyone to face. The perpetrator was a teenage boy (13 years old) which, interestingly enough, teenage boys- age 15- is the age most likely to molest. When you think of someone sexually molesting a child you think of a creepy old neighbor or a creepy coach. This was someone that everyone loved and trusted, a straight A student, on the football team, kind to everyone. He was actually a sociopath and was abusing and torturing children. There are some important things for people to understand about kids being molested:

1. Kids NEVER tell. Many people think that they are super close with their kids and that they would tell them. This is not the case. It is extremely rare for a child to tell. There is a huge amount of shame and self-blame and kids never tell. It takes very careful questioning to get answers out of kids and many many months. Sometimes it takes psychotherapy to get it out. KIDS don't TELL with words they SHOW you with their actions.

2. Here are some BIG red flags: A recent increase in bodily humor, excessive hip shaking, pelvic thrusting, bending over, pulling down their pants, DRAWING body parts, nightmares, sudden bed wetting, big behavioral shifts. You have to be in tune with your child. If something seems off get to the bottom of it.

3. Therapy is CRITICAL to help kids recover from the trauma of this. A therapist can do play therapy where the kids free their subconscious of the trauma and abuse. If kids are not treated the shame can lead to depression, drug and alcohol abuse and many other devastating things.

4. LISTEN to that gentle tapping if you feel like your child shouldn't go to a sleep over, a play date, a summer camp, anything. That gentle tapping is your gift that is given to you so that you can guide your children through life and protect them. You have to be in tune and aware to feel the tapping.

5. Pray over your children. Pray that you will be in tune with them, their needs and their lives. Take the time to connect with them, lay in bed at night with them and be there for when the emotions come to the surface.

6. Kids are resilient and their spirits cannot be broken if properly guided through this traumatic experience.

7. If someone you know has had their child molested, grieve with them and let them know you are there to help in any way.

Here is a link with some great books to read to your child. This will open up the conversation:


I know this is not only a hard subject to think about as parents, but also it's one of the scariest and most disturbing. That being said, it's a conversation that needs to be had so that we learn from others' experiences and better help those within our circle of reach.

The most encouraging words for me come from #6- Kids are resilient and their spirits cannot be broken if properly guided through this traumatic experience. If we do ever find ourselves dealing with this (whether personally or through someone else's experience), it is such a gem of hope to know that our children's lives don't have to be ruined.

How have you dealt with this subject in your home? What do you tell your kids to do if anyone tries to touch them inappropriately? Do you know of any other signs to pay attention to?

I would love your input. We never know what troubled mom is reading this blog and could benefit from your words, your experience, your knowledge...it takes a village!
As always, please feel free to contact me if you need someone to talk to or want to be put in touch with someone who knows better how to help navigate through hard times of this kind. agirlnamedgay@gmail.com


  1. "You're not allowed to play with anyone who is not wearing pants" That's a rule in our house and has been since my boys were little. It made a big scary topic easy to tackle. Do they always remember the rule? Who knows, but we frequently mention it after showers and baths.

    1. that's a nice, simple rule! we have to say things along the same line after shower time...can't do anything til you get your undies on!

  2. love this post. I am just learning how to deal with these things with my little kids and it is such a scary thing. Thanks for this meaningful post and the things to watch for. grateful for the advice.
    i have so far just tried to teach the sacredness of "private parts" to my kids. That they are special parts given to us by Heavenly Father so "you can be a Daddy" .... i know boys will be boys and talk potty talk, etc.... but i hope to also instill within my boy that these parts are sacred.

    1. I love that, becca- teaching them to believe for themselves that they are special parts. not just telling them, you don't touch yourself and don't let others touch you. if they understand the why, i think they'll be more likely to want to protect themselves, ya know. miss ya! can't wait for your new little one to come out!


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