A lesson for parents from a pedophile
A convicted child molester in Florida recently contacted a tv station to tell how he had succeeded in abusing two young girls in the same family over a two-year period, and several others in the same community.
It’s hard to say why he came forward now (you can read about it here), and it’s hard to know how much of his story is true, but I worked with pedophiles as a counselor early in my career and interviewed others researching my book for my book for parents, and his remarks certainly ring true to me.
He offers one lesson you can take to the bank: Earning the children’s trust was easy because “If they believe that you will listen to them they start asking you questions about the body and sex that they are afraid to talk to their parents and others about. That’s really how it got started.”
Most everybody is very careful about discussing body issues with their children, and why? Most parents would probably say they want to protect their kids from information that’s inappropriate or that they’re too young to handle. But these attempts to be careful are actually having the opposite effect.
I would argue that parents are really protecting themselves — needlessly — from starting a conversation that makes them uncomfortable to think about. But what we can see from this molester in Florida is that by protecting yourself you’re leaving a big open window through which a pedophile can grab your child. Or, as in this case, your children.
I don’t suggest you run around the house naked or make sex a part of every conversation. And you can’t do the job in one talk or in one day anymore than you can teach a child about love, respect and kindness in a week.
But if you don’t start the conversation, someone else might, and then your family could be in trouble.
The Sex-Wise Parent to be published in April, walks parents through the steps of raising sexually safe and healthy children. Sure, it takes a little doing. But they’re your kids, and they deserve it.
And if you don’t teach them what every kid wants and needs to know about their bodies, you never can tell who will.
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