A few bloggers are observing this month as CSA awareness month and they are doing a fantastic job. I always knew that there are incidents of CSA around us but I never knew that they happen so often and multiple times with same victims. A lot of stories on the blog left me in shiver.
I believe a kid should be educated about his body and should be told about what is acceptable and what is not but I am not yet sure how much is appropriate at what age. I do not want my child to be scared about every around him. I don’t want to get paranoid and raise paranoid kids. However I do need to do something since I have realized that it is must.
So I started with thinking what did my parents do ? I realized that my mom did advice against letting my father’s cousins hugging and cuddling with me. I do not know if she observed or sensed something or she was just cautious. I do not remember any of my uncles behaving badly with me. However my mother’s advice (I do not remember how it was given, in what words and ways) did impact my relations with them. I was always concious in their presence. I somehow felt that they are not good people and I need to be alert with them. Was that correct , I do not know till date.
Did my mother do the right thing ? I don’t know. She may have protected me with potential threat. But she did impact my relationship with those individuals. What I do not know is may be she saw some real threat and so she actually saved me, since she never adviced me against , playing with my grandfather or father. However I do not remember my grandfather and father hugging and cuddling too much with me ever since I realized that I was a girl.
Now that I bring the topic of gender , my brother was never adviced any of these things. He was allowed to hang around with same uncles without my mom being around. It was considered safe for him.
Except for those uncles also , my mom always reminded me that I am a girl and I should behave a certain way to avoid troubles. I know that many of us , even myself do not consider it a correct way to protect a child from abuse , but then we cannot blame them for what they did. They had little control on outside world and all they could do is influence us. However she never spoke to me clearly about what is private. What should not be allowed etc.
I think my parents did a fair job by protecting me in whatever ways they could. However some of their ways did make me feel rebellous , angry at that age mainly because I felt its happening only to me and not my brother. But as an adult I do not have any complaints against my parents , though I am also certain that I will not use the same approach for my kids.
What have I done till now ? I have a son and he is 4.5 years now. He goes to a daycare and I am not around him all the time. But we do a lot of talking , since he was barely able to speak. I have always encouraged him to tell me about his day , about his feeling about kids and adults around him. I have always repected his feelings. If he doesnot like one of his two teachers because she is strict , he has all rights to feel that way. If he doesnot want to be friends with one boy , it definitely okay. He usually share his feelings with me if not all the details of his day. He sometimes ask me as well about my day at office and I do tell him things that I would expect him to tell me. Like what I ate , how mcuh of work I had , that I missed him , that I had a argument with my boss ,everything that would matter.
Until recently , I had always told him that he should not run around the house naked. I have also told him that he should not pull off his pants in front of all. However about 3-4 months back I realized that I need to take this education to next level. This was when he told me that a kid who is younger to him pulled his pants in daycare to see his stuff. That kid was too small to think of CSA , he might just have been curious. However thats when I told him that those are his private parts and they should not be shown to anyone. And no one should be allowed to touch them as well. And if someone does , you should say NO , I will tell Mumma and should scold that person loudly.
I have been reenforcing the message slowly every few weeks. Recently took a step further and told him that he should also not touch anyone else’s private stuff. I am now sure that he has the word PRIVATE in his mind.
Is this enough for now. I do think so. I do not want to get overboard. If I will have a girl next I plan to do the same with her as well.
What do you think ? How much have you told your 5 year olds ?
If you haven’t anything , then you sure need to visit the CSA blog. If you have , then do share it with all.
Lets all protect our kids!