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#45059 - 06/25/03 10:16 AM Telling kids
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2260
Loc: Maryland USA
Nathan asked about how much parents should tell kids about SA history in this thread .

I have wondered about the same thing. My son is 11 years old, and since last summer he's seen copies of Mic Hunter's book and Mike Lew's books and a whole bunch of other similiar books in my bedroom and my office. He's never asked, but I know he's not stupid.

Is is wrong for me to just keep chugging along pretending that he doesn't know what I've been reading? I know I wouldn't go into any detail with him at this age, but maybe I should at least tell him why I read this stuff.

Advice, anyone?

Thanks,

Joe

_________________________
"Telemachos, your guest is no discredit to you. I wasted no time in stringing the bow, and I did not miss the mark. My strength is yet unbroken…"—The Odyssey, translated by W.H.D. Rouse

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#45060 - 06/25/03 11:16 AM Re: Telling kids
andrew-almost52 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/31/02
Posts: 243
Loc: canada
Hi Joe, my wife and I decided long ago to tell our children about the 'birds and the bees' thing
as they expressed curiousity about such things. And that even then, we would not give elaborate detail initially, but would try and explain things at a level they could understand. We have been helped in this by the school system who has a planned study curriculum that teaches the 'facts' of life. Both children have been taught from an early age about 'good' and 'bad' touching and about not keeping secrets. As parents, Joan and I are extremely vigilant about who the kids spend time alone with. More relevent to your question Joe ... I think that kids should be given honest answers, but not necessarily detail or graphic de>

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#45061 - 06/25/03 11:30 AM Re: Telling kids
Marc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 256
Loc: Tucson, AZ
Joe,

Let me first say that, "I am not a parent". Never had a child but I definitely would like to be (In spite of the fact that I am gay!) :p .

I think when and if you approach the subject with your son depends on two major factors...

1. How close the two of you are.

2. Whether you think that he is being abused.

If you feel relatively confident that #2 is not happening then really it is only one.

If the two of you are close (And I suspect this is the case), when he is READY to ask you questions, he will. You are already being open enough of a father that he has seen the books. You're right! (Having been a kid once many, many, many years ago... ok, maybe only many, many \:\) ), I can say that children are very observant and pretty smart.

What are your reasons for him wanting to be aware of the abuse that you went through? If it is to help him understand why dad does some things and you want to impart your values of honesty, honor and what a man is and it allows you to be closer to each other then "sounds good". Sit down with him and broach the subject. Be careful not to 'unload' on him. You may not be aware that you are doing it but remember, sometimes 'our' thinking gets a little out of whack.

Broach the subject and let him steer the questions.

That's my two cents.

Like I said, I'm not a parent... yet, but I do know what I wanted more than anything else from my dad then and now.

Love, Respect, Honesty, Guidance and Compassion \:\)


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#45062 - 06/25/03 11:55 AM Re: Telling kids
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Hi Joe,

Great question! If I do this correctly, I think I will be able to paste a link here to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They have a section on child safety you might want to read.

http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PublicHomeServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US

You may know that I counsel adolescents. In their freshmen year I always give them a personal safety review. Most of it they will have gotten in middle school. I simply tell them that I was sexually abused as a child and want to make as certain as I can that they will never be. Then I give them some of the common personal safety tips and explain why each one is important to them

Another place that I think has some good tips is:
The Jacob Wetterling Foundation and I have lost their url. Jacob is a boy who was abducted from Wisconsin many years ago. It is a little tough to read this one, I mean, emotionally tough.

At 11 years old, your son could probably tell you a lot of things that would surprise you Joe. I find that my kids know a lot about the mechanics of sex and absolutely nothing at all about sexuality. But we are correcting that starting this Fall.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#45063 - 06/25/03 11:58 AM Re: Telling kids
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Joe,

In my own experience, I did not remember the SA until 2 years ago. It took only a few months to tell my girls. But I was 45 and they were 1st year college & high school senior.

It was my feeling that they needed to know why I was breaking contact with their grandmother my mother who only recently were they getting to know as I had restored contact with her for a time until I remembered the abuse.

Also I felt they wanted & needed an explanation for why I was acting so differently, as well as the truth about my past which they had long known was pretty dark in some ways.

Another factor was giving them awareness about SA especially of males. This has been well rewarded so to speak. One daughter has already volunteered for a local rape crisis hotline group and plans to continue such work in the future. The other, in nursing, plans to work with trauma survivors.

Would I have told them when they were say 10-12 years old if I had remembered then? Who knows? Based on the openness of our relationships and what I think my wife would want I'd say probably I would have, tho certainly in a different way than I did when they were basically young adults.

Of course this is a very individual decision, Joe.
If your boy has seen those books laying around, perhaps the cat is already out of the bag--our kids "read" us a lot better than we usually think.

Perhaps a brief not too detailed discussion with him & see what happens? Could others in your family advise you on this, or not?

Tough call bro, but I don't know if there's really
a right or wrong here--just doing the best you can
when you can.

TC & TTYL

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#45064 - 06/25/03 11:59 AM Re: Telling kids
The Dean Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 2080
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
Sorry, I forgot this. Joe, after I do the personal safety review I ask them to tell me what I just told them. If they miss something I ask about it as though I am the child and they are the teachers. At least they know how to protect themselves when they are finished. I also tell them to be well informed but not paranoid. There is no need to scare when we are trying to inform.

Bob

_________________________
If we do not live what we believe, then we will begin to believe what we live.

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#45065 - 06/25/03 12:12 PM Re: Telling kids
Marc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 256
Loc: Tucson, AZ
Thanks Bob for just being there! \:\)


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#45066 - 06/25/03 01:30 PM Re: Telling kids
godsrabbit Offline
Member

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 98
the jacob wetterling foundation is at:

http://www.jwf.org/

the section for parents is at:

http://www.jwf.org/jwf_parents.html


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#45067 - 06/25/03 01:39 PM Re: Telling kids
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Joe
I think you're ready for that chat, don't you ?

I wish I'd have had a chat like that when I was 11.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#45068 - 06/25/03 04:19 PM Re: Telling kids
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Joe I am 62 years old and have been married for 36 years. My daughter is 22 and a lovely girl. I never told them about my sa until I started to heal. As a matter of fact after I decided to go for a long swim in Lake Ontario on a cold spring nite. My family had the police out looking for me because the people at the skating rink said I had been acting really strange.

AFter I told them they got really mad. Mad because I had not told them sooner so that they could help me. My daughter especially told me that now she understands all the things about me that were so different. She is really bright.

Joe what I am trying to say is that I wish to god I had told both of them when Tanya ( my daughter) was 10 or 11 or12.

They are a hell of a lot more perceptive than we give them credit for and have an ability to love regardless of what happened to us.

Hope this helps>

_________________________
Mikey

IT REALLY IS OK TO STUMBLE. NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.

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