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

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2258
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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#45069 - 06/25/03 07:59 PM Re: Telling kids
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
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.
I'm with Mikey. When I told my daughters they both said they wished they would have known years ago becuz it would have helped them understand a lot of things about me better.

But I didn't know...

Victor

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

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#45070 - 06/25/03 08:16 PM Re: Telling kids
brian-z Offline
Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 770
Loc: Western USA
Kids, should not be told. Information can be missed used. And thay have enough problems of there own, they don't need yours as well.


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#45071 - 06/25/03 11:02 PM Re: Telling kids
PeteT Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 28
Loc: Michigan
Joe
I came out with my abuse two years ago. Prior to this my wife and I were always fighting. I told my children after I started my T and after I confronted my mother (that knew about my abuse and did nothing when I was small). My kids are older but they accepted it quite well. They said it help explain why I behaved like I did. It would have been to hard not to tell them because of all the crying and emotional garbage that I was going through. It helped them understand what my wife and Iwere going through and I am really glad I was able to be honest about it. I think they needed to know as much as I needed to tell because I had kept it buried deep inside of me for over 35 years.

_________________________
Pete

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#45072 - 06/25/03 11:27 PM Re: Telling kids
Marc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/25/03
Posts: 256
Loc: Tucson, AZ
I still say, broach the subject and let him be your guide... volunteer ONLY what he asks questions to. That is the way kids think. They often only ask, what they WANT to know.


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#45073 - 06/26/03 02:14 AM Re: Telling kids
ScottyTodd Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 02/12/03
Posts: 1561
Loc: Pennsylvania
Hey guys! About telling "the kids"...I've always had a fairly open relationship with my daughter and 2 sons. When they were in junior high school I shared with each of them alone regarding the fact that I was sexually abused from 5 yo to 13 yo. They were each permitted to ask questions if they had any (some did, some did not). I did that because I didn't want to keep "secrets" and I didn't want them to either. I did that because they were given permission to speak what they had suspected or were confused about (i.e. there were a bevy of books around my home and office. I felt phony allowing them to think it was because of my profession). I did that because they were able say "so that's why you did this or said that when...." .

But each parent knows their children. For me, I protected my children more by sharing than with- holding information.

Howard

_________________________
If you think you can or you can't - you're right!.......anon
It's never too late to have a happy childhood!.....anon
You're very normal for the abnormal situation you've been through..............S. Todd

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#45074 - 06/26/03 05:19 AM Re: Telling kids
Ivanhoe Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907
Joe,

We've got two daughters. I promised myself that I would tell each daughter of my history when they reached Jr. HIgh--not the details--and it proved to be the right thing to do. Our younger daughter told me that she was pround of me for having suffered abuse and had not abused her. They are great young women and the younger one just had her first picture asppear in Opera News this month.
We have always talked about everything which has lead to some of the most stimulating conversation.

If I had a suggestion, it would be to talk to your boy; I'll bet he will love you all the more for it.

David

_________________________
"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot

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#45075 - 06/26/03 04:14 PM Re: Telling kids
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
Quote:
They were each permitted to ask questions if they had any (some did, some did not). I did that because I didn't want to keep "secrets" and I didn't want them to either. I did that because they were given permission to speak what they had suspected or were confused about (i.e. there were a bevy of books around my home and office. I felt phony allowing them to think it was because of my profession). I did that because they were able say "so that's why you did this or said that when...."
Howard that was very much my own situation except my girls were older.

Quote:
Our younger daughter told me that she was pround of me for having suffered abuse and had not abused her.
David, that's what my daughters--and my wife--told me. It's great to know I've broken the cycle of SA in my family; it's even greater to know that they know it!

However, ultimately, as Howard says
Quote:
But each parent knows their children.
Victor

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

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#45076 - 06/27/03 08:29 AM Re: Telling kids
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2258
Loc: Maryland USA
Well, I went ahead and told my son last night. I brought my copy of "Victims No Longer" to his room at bedtime. I told him that I knew he had seen books like that all around the house for several months, and I knew he isn't stupid.

I reminded him about the Cub Scout pamphlet in the front of his book from his Cub Scout days. I knew that I must have gone over with him their literature on "good touch" and "bad touch." (I actually don't remember going over it, but he did. I do remember watching the video "It Happened To Me" in my Cub Scout leader training, but that's another story for another time.)

I explained that I had not yet told my parents. I told him that the effects of something like that include making people think differently about relationships, friendships, etc. He impressed me quite a bit when he suggested the effects would include "a lot of stress." Empathic young man.

I did not give him any details, except when he asked how old I was and how old the perp was. He told me that he would come and speak to me or his Mom if something like that ever happened to him. I explained the importance of telling us is that we can help him get help, not that we can make him tell everyone while trying to get the perp.


Brian,

I read your reply about keeping my problems from him. That was my greatest fear in telling him. I am the oldest child in my family and I bore a lot of inappropriate responsibility in my youth. I did not want to burden him with something he does not deserve.

But when I continued to think along those lines, I decided that the risk of his knowing what happened to me, coupled with the opportunity to talk to me or my wife again at any time, scares me less than the risk of him suffering and not being aware that it is possible to get help, and that someone who loves him very much will certainly listen and understand. I posted elsewhere that the very notion of seeking help was too foreign to occur to me when I was raped. I could never forgive myself if I left him in such a position.


Everyone,

Thanks for all your helpful words. This was a very important decision for me. It felt good to read your concern for me and my son in your messages.

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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#45077 - 06/27/03 09:41 AM Re: Telling kids
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Joe: Way to go my brother. You have a truly remarkable son there just like I have a daughter. They are pretty damned smart.

Quote:
Thanks for all your helpful words. This was a very important decision for me. It felt good to read your concern for me and my son in your messages.

You know Joe I think it was more than a father son disucssion. It was more like a peer to peer conversation. You can be sure my brother that you have a strong young man there who will do you proud.

Your Canadian brother

_________________________
Mikey

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

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#45078 - 06/27/03 10:38 AM Re: Telling kids
Wuamei Offline
Member

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

This will doubtless be a big step forward in your recovery and a big step in your family & your relationship with your son. Not surprisingly he sounds like a very smart & sensitive young man.

Quote:
I posted elsewhere that the very notion of seeking help was too foreign to occur to me when I was raped. I could never forgive myself if I left him in such a position.
My feelings exactly, when I told my daughters. Furthermore they would have been very offended if I had not told them!

Joe this is an important part in breaking the abuse cycle and breaking the silence!

Thanks. My thots and prayers are with you, your son, and your family.

Victor

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

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#45079 - 06/27/03 12:55 PM Re: Telling kids
Marc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

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

Happy 2nd birthday!!! \:\)

I don't suppose you are willing to be loaned out as a father? :p

Great job!!!


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#45080 - 06/27/03 06:14 PM Re: Telling kids
Leosha Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/18/03
Posts: 3614
Loc: Right here
I think if your son is smart, and he is good age, it may not be bad to say that you were hurt when younger, and you are work at it, and you will do all you can to protect him of it. Then he will of course ask questions, and you choose what to answer. He is at good smart age I think, to know that even parents have past and childhood things. I will be curious of what you do, and how it goes.

_________________________
Avatar photo in memory of my younger brother Makar.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."~~~Martin Luther King Jr., 1963

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#45081 - 06/27/03 10:09 PM Re: Telling kids
outis Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/27/03
Posts: 2258
Loc: Maryland USA
Guys,

Thanks again for all the kind words. You have been just fantastic!

Quote:
You know Joe I think it was more than a father son disucssion. It was more like a peer to peer conversation.
Mike,

You are right on the money. That's how it felt. I can see the man forming in the boy before my eyes. It's awesome.


Quote:
Joe this is an important part in breaking the abuse cycle and breaking the silence!
Victor,

Breaking the cycle and the silence. Two things that need to be broken. It felt good, because I believe I have done my son a service. Maybe the effects will reach beyond his life, too.


Quote:
Happy 2nd birthday!!!
Marc,

Second birthday?! Will I have to age faster, or do I have to start to mature now? \:D With all that's been going on this week, especially the last couple days, it feels like a new birthday or something.


Quote:
I will be curious of what you do, and how it goes.
Leosha,

I did talk to my son. I did not tell him specific details. He asked only how old I was, and how old the man was. You can see what I wrote earlier if you scroll back up this page.


Thanks again, to all of you.

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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