Thursday, December 1, 2011

Keeping Secrets

Here we in the mist of another public College sex abuse scandal... I applaud the brave victims in Penn Sate and now Syracuse who have finally come forward and disclosed their abuse. Recently, the head coach of Syracuse's Basketball team, Jim Boehiem, said something incredibly stupid in a recent statement about the allegations against Assistant Coach Bernie Fine. He said, are you ready?..."I am shocked because I have personally never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged" OH REALLY? you were not a witness to the sex abuse? you know why? because sexual abuse is a SECRET! that's why! A horrible awful secret! I can not image a grown man seriously thinking that statement made sense.

These predators groom children, they gain their trust and then they take advantage of them by abusing them and then convince the children that this is "their secret". Children often, not always but often, don't even know that the sexual abuse is wrong because they are so young when it begins they do not know any better. I have talked to countless victims that have told me that they didn't know the abuse was wrong until they became older and then it just became normal? Its sounds outrageous but its true.

So what can we do as parents to prevent this from happening? Well one major thing you can do is communicate with your children. Tell your children that there are NO SECRETS in your family. Is that a 100 % guarantee that nothing will happen to your child? No, but its a little something. There are a few very important rules that I teach my kids: #1 There are no secrets in our house. I tell the kids you do not keep a secret from Mama and Papa and if anyone asks you to keep a secret you do not. No ifs, ands, or buts. Rule #2 You will never get in trouble if you tell the truth. That way they know if they do something wrong but are honest about it, I will not punish them. BUT I will punish them if they lie.. even the smallest lie. At family party a few months back I realized that my rules were understood. I don't allow my children to chew gum; basically any time they have gum, they swallow it. I just don't think a belly full of gum is a good thing, but I could be wrong? Anyway a very close family friend, Barb, offered Fashi a stick of gum and Fashi said, "I'm not allowed to chew gum" and Barb said, "its ok it will be our secret" GASP... Fashi refused the gum and basically according to Barb turned white when she heard the word "secret". Barb doesn't have children... I explained to Barb that, there are no secrets in our house and a light bulb went off. Barb realized she was wrong to suggest Fashi keep a secret from Mama. I used this little gum incident as a learning opportunity and again talked to Fashi about the importance of not keeping secrets. Are these 2 rules going to keep our children safe all of the time? I don't know but its one thing you can do to keep the communication going in your house. Next week we will discuss the importance of talking to your children about their body's.
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