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FORUMS > Child Behavioral Issues
Replying to Topic: teaching children self protection
Created On 12/4/05 12:42 PM by bubbles


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bubbles
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Posts: 114
Joined: Jun 2005

12/4/05 12:42 PM
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Hi Frum T,

During the last few years, since I have become aware of my own childhood abuse, I have been very concerned about how to protect my children.

I don't want to frighten them by constantly reminding them of the dangers, yet I live with the "knowledge" that something will happen to one or all of them eventually.

These fears are kept to myself.
They don't know that every time they go to friend for shbs (which I try to keep at a minimum) I become so anxious that I completely block it out, so that I don't even think about it at all, and I actually succeed in deluding myself into believing that they are completely safe. (smthing I am unfortunately rather good at)

I truly "believe" that my kids will not succeed in getting away from being violated at some point in their lives.
On an intelectual level I know the statistics, i know that it does not have to happen to them, as well as the fact that I will do everything in my power to protect them.
But on an emotional level I believe it is almost inevitable.

My question then is two fold.
1) What is the appropiate way B'Derech Hatorah to teach children self awareness?
2) How do I let go of my fear of believing that "it" will eventually happen, no matter what I do to prevent it?

Would welcome any suggestions/thoughts/experiences.

thanks
B.
 
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frumtherapist
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12/8/05 8:36 AM
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Hi Bubbles-
I'm not sure why, but I didn't realize you had posed this question to me.
Actually you asked two questions - and I'm going to answer the seond one first- the only way to get over your own fears due to your own traumatic history is through your own personal therapy, which I believe you are already doing- it also might be helpful to read and even attend some 12 Step meetings, where the concepts of serenity and surrender are discussed and practiced- something we all need, not just addicted people!

Additionally, you will be unable to healthily discuss these issues with your children if your own fear is truly "running your show", so to speak. Which leads us to your first question- how to discuss this with your kids. I always tell parents, these kind of topics do not warrant a one time "big" discussion - it is unrealistic to expect that handling topics like s..x, abuse, healthy and unhealthy touching, dealing with strangers, etc, can be effectively discussed in one discussion- so my advice would be: develop (if you haven't already) the kind of relationship with your kids where you are able to freely bring up concerns and issues- and that it is a discussion, not a lecture- your kids hear you, and you are just as interested in hearing their reactions, thoughts and concerns as well.

I am not sure, but it seems like you are specifically concerned with s..xual abuse behaviors- correct me if I am mistaken.
It is important to explain to children that they have a built-in "gut feeling", which is almost 100% accurate- meaning - if they are alone with one or more people and beginning to feel like the conversation, and/or the behaviors of these people are making them uncomfortable, they need to TRUST and believe in that gut feeling, and understand their RIGHTS- to leave, to DISCUSS what happened with you or another trusted adult. As I am sure you are aware, becoming an unwilling "keeper of secrets" is a very huge part of these kind of trauma - and you want your children to know that they NEVER need to become an unwilling "keeper of secrets".

To summarize: maintain a comfortable relationship with your children where ongoing frank discussion is part of the fabric of your relationship, and teach your children about their instincts, and the importance of being tuned in to their thoughts and inner signals - and to respect them.

I'm not sure if you were looking for an answer that was specifically Torah-based - I am sure no Rabbi would have an issue with my answer...
Hope that helped a bit.
 
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frumsw
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1/27/06 1:23 AM
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frum therapist gave a great answer and I just want to add that by matter of factly mentioning the "Bathing suit rule" (nobody touches you anyplace that's covered by a bathing suit and vice versa and if they do, tell me) at an appropriate time (getting dressed or bathing or whatever) I felt I was giving the information without scaring them.


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frumsw
 
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