Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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Trusting Teens Part 2

You can read the background as to what touched this off here.

Why is it suddenly like there are more pedophiles today than before? If pedophiles weren't around in the 50's, 60's and 70's, then why were so many of my friends molested when they were younger? I know dozens of women (and a few men) who had their trust violated by family, parent's friends, priests, teachers.

I would like to suggest that it was even more dangerous before because it wasn't acknowledged so the kids had no protection..and how scary is that? If a child reported it, they were silenced, not believed, doctors, priests, teachers, family members, even their mothers. You think that would happen now? Any licensed person who even suspects abuse reports it quick, fast and in a hurry. That wasn't the case when I was young.

Most molesting happens with people already known and trusted. Controlling your child's texting or online activity won't help that. Education, being present to your child and building self esteem will.

Yes, we now have the internet. But if your child is online doing stuff that's self destructive, it says to me there's something else going on there besides just being coerced into something. It says to me that they've either been so sheltered that they haven't a clue, haven't been educated as to their possible vulnerabilities, or have been so controlled they'll find any way to be independent...even if it's self destructive.

When a kid (or anyone, actually) gets into these situations, it says to me that they have lost the ability to discern when something feels "off." They aren't listening to their inner signals. But isn't that what we are trying to foster as parents..that inner voice that our children learn to trust and guide them through life?

Teens are going to make mistakes. We adults make plenty of 'em. Sometimes their mistakes will be big ones and we will wish we had controlled them more in the mistaken belief that somehow we could have prevented this or that.

But we can't. Life isn't like that and we don't live in cages. If my dad had known one quarter of what I'd done, he would have had many more heart attacks than he did. My (now in their 20's) kids have told me stuff they did that I'm so happy I never knew about. Like...traveling alone in Germany at age 17 and getting on the wrong train...which stopped in the middle of nowhere and she had to walk back to the station on the tracks. age 19 in China taking a 23 hour train trip alone to sightsee the wonders of that country...going out on the town with some rowdies and ending up in some hotel room at another point on that trip.'s a scary world out there. If I had known what they were doing beforehand I would have flipped out. These are some of their best, most exciting memories. They've built confidence inside my girls. I would never want to take that away from them.

Do we really want to? Do we want our children to live full, interesting, exciting lives or do we want them to be "safe?" Is life about always being small or is it to be lived BIG? They can walk out the door with all in place, cell phone monitored, good grades, we know exactly where they are while riding their bike to school...and a car hits them and they die. It happens.

We cannot control Life.

And in the meantime, it's about our kids, in their ability to be responsible to the best of their ability. And then we have to turn it over to....whatever: their angels, God, the process, fate, whatever....

From two of the wisest Teachers I've encountered (not the exact conversation, but the essence):

He: I promised Nemo that I would never let anything happen to him!!!

She: Well...that's kind of a funny thing to promise.

He: Why?

She: Well...if nothing ever happens to him, then nothing ever happens.


Warrior said...

I agree to a point but I would also point out there are a huge amount of Naeive people out there, just as there was in the 50s and 60s. People couldn't imagine the terrible things. Now they can but still they never imagine it happening to them. Often it's way too late. It doesn't mean anything other than naievity is off. But then we live in very very different places. You would be surprised what people can get away with here.

Pamm said...

Agreed, Warrior. I will ask, again, you want to foster that, putting boundaries around them so their naivety continues? you want to continue to teach them?