Keeping my children safe

It was time to initiate the chat with my older daughter this week. She’s 10. She was sat at the breakfast bar drawing. My husband and I were sat near her in the family lounge. I hadn’t wanted it to be premeditated or else I’d feel the pressure and panic. So I casually asked her about the word she’d used the previous weekend that caused me to get very angry. The word that made me send her to room for using it out of context and that had her Father speak to her about it. At first she couldn’t remember which really got my shackles to rise. My husband prompted her the word was ‘raping.’ She said yes rather dismissively and I went over what she thought it meant and what it actually meant.

We have taught all of our children the basics about bad touching and that adults might tell them to keep ‘secrets’ we’ve covered that bad touching can be done by other children, teachers, parents, even people that should know better like police officers and that regardless of what is said and/or done they must always tell us.

We used the word raping to explain that could mean different types of assault and usually forced. My daughter asked how someone could force themselves on you. I could feel my strength was wavering. But I persevered and gave examples without being brutal enough to give the kid nightmares. Then suddenly she said, ‘did you say no?’ I said what? She repeated the question. I felt my entire life drain out of me.

My husband took over the conversation and brought home the importance always communicating any unwanted attention and also only using the word correctly. Then I came on really strong going over it all again until she got really upset and ran running from the room in tears saying she didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

Mother fail. Again.

When I was growing up my parents didn’t teach me anything. They taught me things like not putting elbows on the table, how to sit like a lady, children are seen and not heard, etc. I didn’t have sex education, and my parents didn’t even tell me about periods. So when I got my first period, I thought I was dying.

When I was raped, I knew something was wrong as I was in pain and the man seemed angry but I didn’t know what it was. When I wet the bed for months afterwards (at 14), no one said anything, no one told me it wasn’t right. The nightmares, the self harm, not eating, was all visibly apparent but wasn’t discussed and they were coping mechanisms that I had learnt and no one told me they weren’t healthy.

When I met this gorgeous man at 17/18 and that began this spiral into a terribly unhealthy relationship of re victimisation all I knew was that I had a man that I believed could keep me safe and would stand by me.

I was, ill prepared.

When I pressed charges against the man that raped me my parents told me that they knew something had happened but felt it was up to me to tell them.

But how could I? I didn’t understand what had happened to me.

So now I have this powerful urge to fill my daughters with as much knowledge as I possibly can. Forewarned is forearmed. Because I know I spent most of my childhood confused, fearful and alone. I was embarrassed, ashamed, I didn’t know where to turn. And I NEVER EVER want my children to experience that.

But I don’t want to overload them like I did this weekend to my daughter. Fortunately my husband can be objective and play mediator. I’m just so scared for them. I don’t want to fail them.

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6 thoughts on “Keeping my children safe

    1. Thank you. I would never tell her about my own experiences until much later and even then I’m not sure about it but I had to address her using the word without understanding it’s meaning.

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  1. It is hard isn’t it? How do any parents handle those types of conversations? Of course it is going to be all the more difficult for survivors. My oldest is 6, we are quite open in terms of sex. When he asks questions, he is given an honest answer- but in terms of what he can understand.

    We have talked of unwanted touch. We continue to talk about how it’s exciting to keep surprises to ourselves, but we must not keep secrets. Rather than have specific conversations where we sit and talk, I say these things often and randomly.

    I reassure them- in different situations and scenarios that I will always listen and believe them. I want them to know this across the board- not just in terms of possible abuse.

    My boys will be raised knowing that sex is better in relationships. They will be raised knowing that sex is where both parties consent enthusiastically and that anything else is wrong. I feel that is my duty as a mother of boys.

    Well done for having the chat. I am sorry your parents failed you. 😦

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  2. Definitely not a “fail”! You did great. I find it so difficult to deal with sex and my own kids. My 12 year old actually told me on Thursday that it isn’t my fault. He used those words. I love him! He was referring to his fear of undressing at the doctor…anywhere for that matter. He was so proud that he could change for gym this week (first year they have to change clothes). I feel so responsible to keep them safe, informed, let them talk…but it’s a fine line, I think I’ve scared them into sex is bad (it is tho!!!! Lol, no, it made our children, it must be good…it’s confusing)

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  3. Wow I think you did an awesome job explaining. .it’s incredibly hard to know when the right age is, and so important to have this conversation..
    I missed my chance with my older one and it hurts big time he was only 2 when he was sexually abused by his kindergarten teacher ya fortunately I spotted the signs straight away but she had done the damage it still haunts me today we immediately sort help and she was expelled from teaching. . The pain is ever lasting!
    I have of lately been beating myself up big time there’s so much I wanna do with my older one to support him but hard to juggle work &anxiety that’s up and down!

    Take care lisa

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