Silly Season - A Predator's Paradise
Prepare your child for the “Silly Season” distractions.
I love everything about Christmas because it’s a wonderful season of family, friends, parties and remembrances. The underbelly of this season is when ‘those predators’ are on the lookout for your distractions. They are alert, waiting in the shadows for that precise moment when you take your eyes off your children to take advantage of your distraction, within the family or social environment. They look for sad, unhappy, angry children that are alone or lost, especially when there is pain associated with family Christmases.
It’s has nothing to do with what you do, right or wrong; indeed, it’s very normal to be distracted with cooking, cleaning, preparing food, budgeting, shopping, socialising, wrapping gifts and so on. Likewise, there are school activities, the winding up of the school year, holiday preparations, and there are other children to organise, certificate presentations and preparing for out of town guests. On top of all that, there are the many Christmas activities offered around the city that demands a child’s attention. The distractions are numerous. It is a very ‘silly season.’
The only sure safe way to protect your child to the best of your ability is to teach them how to recognise “grooming” behaviours in untrustworthy people within and outside your home. Give them permission to tell.
It’s worth the time invested in making them aware and also, to teach them how to tell you. This only works when you teach your child about good and bad gifts, touch, secrets and stranger’s tricks. The power is in YOU teaching them because you have a pathway to the right communication. Your child will know that you will believe them, because you taught them. Your child will know what to tell you because you gave them a language to tell you.
Please use my free colouring books, as a tool, to teach them.
This is the “Silly Season” that sexual predators come out from under their rocks.
We fail them when we don’t prepare them, and show them, how to respond to things they feel uncomfortable about, and we fail them when we don’t give them skills to self-protect from the people they spend time alone with.
The solution is easy, yet we fail to teach them because we don’t want to make them afraid of people within the family unit. Likewise, we don’t teach them about people who can trick them because we don’t want to make them afraid of people outside the home.
It’s much easier to teach them how to recognise and how to tell you than having to confront someone after sexual abuse has been exposed. Confronting an unhealthy behaviour of a family member is uncomfortable and risky. There is the potential to shake the foundations of the family when a confrontation is made and then other members of the family are put in a position to take sides. It can also be difficult to prove inappropriate behaviour between an adult and a child, or between siblings. It could create family friction and possibly make life worse for the child.
When a child is sexually abused by a trusted adult he knows he can’t win, so feels safer to remain silent than to create trouble in the family. The abuser may have warned them what will happen to the family if they do tell, and there is a large measure of truth in it, so the child keeps silent rather than face the possibility of causing the family to fall apart.
No one “gets over” being sexually abused as a child; instead, you learn to live with its consequences and face it through counselling and talking about it, forgiving the abuser and taking charge of your life as an adult. Some heal more easily than others, whilst others self-medicate.
Whatever means they use as adults to avoid facing the horrors they lived through as children, does not alter the fact that they were betrayed and violated by those they trusted and couldn’t tell anyone.
The most disturbing “reality bite” is that most people who have gone through the cruel experience of child sexual abuse, say that, if only someone had told them and given them skills and words to make sense of what was going on. If someone had only given them permission to tell their “secret” and assured them they would be believed, then the abuse could have been averted and they would have grown up without this horror to discolour their lives.
Years ago, Terri Willissee ran a poll on his show ‘Around Australia’ He asked the question “Do you feel your children are safe from a paedophile?” 76% said No… yet we are still not warning our children.