A good post about talking to kids about the Sandusky case

Since the Sandusky verdict came down Friday night I've seen a lot of us talking and thinking about how widespread his actions were and how sad we all are. I'm in the middle of Dr. Janet Rosenzweig's very practical book Sex-Wise Parent: The Parent's Guide to Protecting Your Child, Strengthening Your Family, and Talking to Kids About Sex, Abuse, and Bullying right now, and found that Dr. Rosenzweig just put up a great post on her blog about talking to kids about exactly what the Sandusky case was about.

The post is called "It's time to ask your children if they understand what the Sandusky case was about," and it really asks you to be proactive with talking about it with your kids. I know that can be hard for us, but as Dr. Rosenzweig says, "now is the time to show your kids that their sexual health and safety is important enough that you’re willing to go way out on a limb." Read the post and take heart. The truth can protect our kids–their bodies and feelings.

I've talked to my kids about the Sandusky case and have been since the news first broke (and I know their dad has, too). Have any of you already talked about it? Have any of you been avoiding talking about it?

 

44 thoughts on “A good post about talking to kids about the Sandusky case”

  1. Yes, I have. When it first broke I realized just that- that it was a good way to bring up the topic. I knew they’d heard bits on the news, I just didn’t know if they’d listened. Plus, they’d just met new baseball coaches and I was dropping them off at practice and not staying around. It was the perfect time to re-visit personal safety. I wasn’t in depth, but just reminded them that ANYONE can be a “bad guy” and that sometimes it is a person we think we should trust who does something wrong. They need to trust themselves and never do something for a coach/friend’s parent/teacher/… that they think the adult wouldn’t ask them to do in front of me. I reminded them that you aren’t insulting the adult to walk away, you are protecting yourself.

  2. As a PSU alum (MA), I have been following the case in all its minutiae. I do not recommend this approach, by the way. Trying to stand witness for my school and my memories, you know? The assaults prosecuted in this case occurred while I was there, mostly. The mind boggles.Anyway, my kids are too young (5 ad 3) to have been exposed to any of the news coverage, but it has motivated me to re-up on my “touching the privates” talk. What I added this time around was:
    1 – telling parents even if the person asks you not to tell
    2 – telling parents if someone only asks to touch you / you touch them
    3 – telling parents even if the touching felt good
    4 – who CAN touch the privates: Mom, Dad, the Doc (if mom or dad are there) and your own self.
    5 – toucher person could be man, woman, other kid, or older kid (referring to teenage cousins as an example of “older kid” age)
    6 – ok to tell even if toucher is a friend of yours, mom’s, or dad’s

  3. I haven’t. My daughter is sheltered and unaware of the news, so it hasn’t come up and I have, you know, I guess, been avoiding it. But now I’m going to go read that post because you’re right, of course, it’s a golden and important opportunity.All I keep thinking is those brave, brave boys to testify.

  4. My son is only 10 months old, so I don’t have to talk about this with him yet (!!)…. But I sure would if he were older, and I will make sure to talk about this issue with him as he grows up. I’d like to recommend a book I just read about keeping kids safe (from sexual predators and otherwise) – it’s called Protecting the Gift (http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keeping-Children-Teenagers/dp/0440509009/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340772865&sr=8-1&keywords=protecting+the+gift) – very good, practical advice about safety, and the author has a particular focus on how the biggest threat to kids is not predators, but denial. He reviews common safety rules that don’t actually keep kids safe (“don’t talk to strangers” and “if you need help, find a policeman”) and those that do (“don’t go anywhere alone with a stranger” and “if you need help, ask a woman with children”). He bases his advice on real statistics, which I like. Thanks for raising this issue, Moxie. It’s so easy not to talk about it, and not talking about it is what allowed it to happen.

  5. My kids are also too young to have heard any news on this. But since I’ve been meaning to have a conversation on the subject, I’m happy to see MrsHaley’s bullet point list. I’m also adding Protecting the Gift to my reading list. Thanks for the timely post, as always.

  6. I have talked, briefly, with my 8 year old daughter, but I think the author is right, it’s time to revisit, reassure, and reinforce. I hate everything about this case, except that at least the outcome was positive for survivors (I think?), but I can’t let my discomfort get in the way of an important set of conversations.

  7. My kids are 6 and 3, and we haven’t spoken about the case, as they have had no exposure to it.We have taught them correct names for their genitalia (I like “It’s Not the Stork!” by Robie Harris), and have started explaining that it is OK to talk to strangers, but they absolutely cannot go anywhere with someone without checking with a parent or their official carer. (When we leave them, we also clearly state who to go to if they need help.)
    I’d like to do more reading. Does anyone have a preference for “Protecting the Gift” or “The Sex-Wise Parent”?

  8. Pretty sure my kids haven’t been exposed to the news stories about this case, but we have definitely talked about touching, etc. It’s something I bring up with them periodically, and yes Mrs. Haley I too think it’s imperative to talk about telling! I’ve really made a point of letting my kids know that they need to tell, and shouldn’t be afraid to tell, no matter what.I clicked the link over to Amazon and noticed the “Sex Wise Parent” book is available on Kindle for only $0.99.

  9. Hi AskMoxie readers — Thanks for your interest in the Sex-Wise Parent! I wrote this book to provide an overall view of sexual health and safety covering everything from anatomy and physiology for grown – ups, to teens and sexting, and kids and media. There’s information on protecting kids from abuse at home, in school,in organizations and with peers. I’ve gotten great feedback on the chapter with a list of questions parents might discuss with each other to clarify the sexual norms they want to establish in their home.If you opt for the Kindle version, there are links that take you right to the source material, so you can read what groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics have to say on topics related to sexual health and safety.
    I hope parents find this a practical and useful guide that they can turn to when they have questions; it’s a book that you can keep and refer to as your child passes through each developmental stage.
    Thanks – and please feel free to send me questions using the CONTACT feature on my website, SexWiseParent.com
    Janet Rosenzweig, Author, The Sex-Wise Parent

  10. I thought the point breaking the connection between implied enjoyment and the body’s automatic response to touch was so important and one I gadn’t considered. I spoke about that with my 6 year old son right away. It was hard to bring up but as soon as the topic started, it was fine. We also stress that if something does happen he won’t get in trouble for not saying NO loud enough or getting away etc. Tell us anyway.

  11. Me encontré su mensaje para la información y me vi obligado a visitar su blog una y otra vez. En aras de la pertinencia, quiero darle las gracias por sus esfuerzos en la difusión de información académica.

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  14. Chiming in late to say that I finally had the opportunity to read Dr. Rosenzweig’s book (via Kindle – only 99 cents).@ Lucy – “Does anyone have a preference for “Protecting the Gift” or “The Sex-Wise Parent”?” I’ve read them both, and they’re both valuable. Even if you’ve already read “Protecting the Gift,” then you still could benefit from the insights in Chapter 13 of “The Sex-Wise Parent” on “Be Prepared – It Can Happen Here” – which I think should be required reading for every parent. I wish it had been Chapter 1 instead of Chapter 13.
    My only real caveat about the book – Dr. Rosenzweig is anti-co-sleeping, and I just didn’t find her arguments against co-sleeping terribly persuasive. In short, she personally feels both parent-child co-sleeping and opposite-sex-sibling co-sleeping are never good ideas because they’re situations in which a child might accidentally encounter an autonomic erection. Her conclusion seemed to come more from a place of her own fear-based opinion on the overall risk/benefit calculus than from logically researched facts, and she completely overlooked the many wonderful benefits of co-sleeping.

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  21. My kids are 6 and 3, and we havent spoken about the case, as they have had no exposure to it.We have taught them correct names for their genitalia (I like Its Not the Stork! by Robie Harris), and have started explaining that it is OK to talk to strangers, but they absolutely cannot go anywhere with someone without checking with a parent or their official carer. (When we leave them, we also clearly state who to go to if they need help.)
    Id like to do more reading. Does anyone have a preference for Protecting the Gift or The Sex-Wise Parent?
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