Communicating with your child is not always the easiest thing.
Matter of fact, it can be extremely difficult at times! Kids do understand more than we think, but having them express themselves to convey certain things, can be hard for them. We end up drilling them with questions, which in turn drives them nuts! Nevertheless it is important to have your child be able to trust you. Thankfully, this particular mother understood this.
Usually it is communication issues that cause parents to miss issues of sexual abuse. They asked the wrong questions and as a result the abuse does not get talked about and actually becomes buried deeper.
Check out one mothers experience:
One day my son went to a Halloween party at a friend’s house. When I picked him up a few hours later, I could see from the smile on his face that he had really enjoyed himself. Just before leaving, I was standing by the door with his friend’s father and grandmother.
Both of them told me how well behaved my son had been, which was music to my ears. Thank goodness! No fights or tantrums!
I scooted my happy kid to the car and started to drive home. But as we drove, I started to feel uneasy, something felt off.
Then it hit me. I swerved into the nearest parking lot. Everyone was honking their horns at me, but I was distracted. I knew I had to talk to my son, because when I was a child, I’d been through the same thing.
I remembered how I’d been sexually abused as a little girl by a teenage relative. And I remembered the innocent questions my mom had asked me when she picked me up from their house:
“Were you a good girl? Were you polite and honest? Did you behave yourself?”
My mom didn’t know:
1. that the teenager who lived there would threaten me before she arrived (and sometimes even stood behind her with clenched fists and threatening looks when she was there);
2. that these questions, especially in front of the person who had abused me, reinforced the idea that I had to obey the wishes of whoever was watching me when she was gone;
3. that I thought since I had answered “yes” at the door, I couldn’t take my answer back later (it would’ve meant explaining why I was lying before).
When parents ask their children if they behaved themselves in front of other people, they often feel pressured to say yes.
That’s why I turned to my son in the parking lot and looked him directly in the eyes. I started over from the beginning and asked the right questions.
Maybe you’ll also consider asking your children these questions next time they’re in someone else’s care. I asked him in private:
Did you enjoy yourself or not?
How did you spend your time?
What was your favorite part of the party?
What was your least favorite part?
Did you feel safe?
Was there anything else you wanted to share?
Make these questions a normal habit for your family. And let your kids know that they can share anything else at a later time if need be.
The mistake I made that day is totally common among parents. We feel like as long as we ask questions, we’re on top of things. The truth is, parents must always question – at the right place and right time.”
Tonya GJ Prince, from the US, authors this story and is an expert in domestic and sexual violence issues. Here she asks parents to please be willing to listen to their kids, but also ask the right questions. Professional help is a must if it is revealed that sexual abuse has taken place.
Read more: http://damn.com/child-party-suspicious/