Are you OK with anti-molestation talks at school, church?

Apparently January is the month of anti-molestation talks at schools and churches. My kids have two scheduled this month.

I went yesterday with a friend to review the material that the kids will be shown at our elementary school.

(I’ve never actually reviewed the material before. I guess I trusted that the school wouldn’t present them with anything too crazy. I trust our principal very much. But my friend was making the effort to go in and invited me. So I went.)

The third graders will watch three video tapes literally from the 1970s. You have to get over the terrible ’70s clothes and production values (I keep waiting for Tootie and Blair to pop out!) but after that the tapes are OK. (They were also made in Canada so there are lots of aboots for about.)

The first tape was not offensive in any way but pretty vague. I said to my friend after watching it, I’m not sure the kids will understand what they are getting at.

The second tape jumps right in and throws out the word “sexual assault” immediately and explains what it is in general terms. Again nothing too graphic but definitely more specific.

They did a lot of acting out scenarios in the tapes, which I actually think is pretty effective in helping kids understand how a molester would try to trick them. They showed a guy looking for his “puppy” in a park. He had a neat dog whistle and a little girl volunteered to help him. They head off toward the woods looking for the dog and then he grabs her. My friend and I jumped when he did it.

That scene may be a little bit scary for the kids but I think it will help hit home what can happen.

They also talked a lot of about family members (uncles) and mommy’s new boyfriend coming into your room at night. I’m glad the tapes addressed this because often, if not most of the time, it’s not strangers molesting.

It also went through scenarios of a child telling a trusted adult and the adult ignoring them and telling them not to worry about it or it would go away or that is was even their fault. The point to the child was it’s never your fault and to keep telling people until someone helps you!

I thought that was a pretty realistic message as well.

We didn’t have time to watch the kindergarten or first grade one. I believe they will watch the same thing  that they saw last year and then act out some scenes.

I think last year’s talks were appropriate and effective. Both kids came home talking about private parts and good touches and bad touches. They both became much more modest after the talks at school —well they would talk about modesty yelling thinks like “Walsh is running around naked.” Or “Rose isn’t dressed!”

But at least they were thinking about it.

The Cub Scout manual also had a nice lesson about molestation and kidnapping. It had scenarios to read over with your child and then they answer what they would do. Walsh recently had a stranger offer him something to drink and he told them no. (I was standing right there and I couldn’t imagine what the guy was thinking. We knew another person he was with but why would you offer a kid you don’t know anything.) He said after we left them, the Cub Scout book told me never to take anything from strangers. I was so proud of him that he actually remembered.

What do you think of these types of anti-molestation programs? Do you think they help? Do you think the content is appropriate? (I’ve heard the middle school materials are too graphic. Anyone have any info on the middle school materials??) Have you even gone in to review the programs?

Do you ever pull them from the talks? Do you talk about it at home too?

Have your kids talked about what they have learned in these talks?

96 comments Add your comment

Sug

January 14th, 2010
9:36 am

I wish the schools would quit trying to parent my children. I’ll take care of this kind of stuff, you just teach them the basics…..I’ll handle lifes issues. You just teach the three “R”s……that’s your job. You do your job, I’ll do mine.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
9:40 am

Oh dear god…

motherjanegoose

January 14th, 2010
9:41 am

These things do need to be talked about and since some parents have their heads in the sand…the school has to handle it.

I am talking about Community Helpers ( at school visits) this month and one helper is the Fire Fighter. We talk about getting outside quickly if there is a fire but where should you go? Many kids have no idea what to do at home. Schools practice evacuation routes during fire drills but most parents do not have a plan. Children need to have a FIRE SAFETY MEETING PLACE that has been designated by their parents and at their house. Parents need to remind their kids and practice regularly, at their own house!

A lot of parents have the: “too scary and it probably will not happen to us” attitude whether it is about fire safety or molestation issues.

I was once shopping in Kroger and there were 2 little girls at one end of the aisle and their mom was about to move on the next aisle. She called them a few times and then the older sister ( who was closer to the mom) saw me round the corner and YELLED: STRANGER DANGER as I headed up the aisle.

The Mom apologized and told me that they had talked about strangers at school. I told her that I completely understood and that while I love kids, I would never take on any more as mine are just about out of the house :D.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
9:45 am

Being a child that was molested and did not think my own mom could help – YES they need to have these talks in school an as far as being to graphic for middle school, the boy knew girls that were in the 5th grade that were not virgins….

FCM

January 14th, 2010
9:45 am

I think waiting for the schools to tell your kids about this is just bad parenting. Obviously the schools feel they need to talk about this and my guess is that is because not all birthing agents bother to parent the kid.

My children have had good touches vs bad touches talks since they were toddlers. I would not have thought to discuss it that young but the Pediatrician told me to start talking at about age 3. Yes 3! So I did.

My eldest child has gone to a teacher about children on playground doing the “show me yours, I’ll show you mine” thing. She was in 1st grade and rather upset about it. She still recalls (PreK) a mother who did not shut the door while helping her son (about 6) use the potty…she felt that she was exposed to the differences in boys and girls much to early…these are the feelings she has expressed to me. She had a boy with some developmental challenges trying to touch her last year. I was proud of her–she went to the director of the aftercare program and said “He is trying to touch things that are not supposed to be touched.” (Pretty good for 3rd grade). The teacher and director in both instances told her she did the right thing by telling–gave her high fives and made sure to let me know they were proud of her for coming forward. (I am too).

In both instances the PARENTS of the children involved were notified as to what happened. No cops, no DFACS, no suspension or notes to the school record, none of that. The father of the boy who tried to touch my child made him apologize. He was very upset with the boy and gave him a talking too in a classroom right on the spot!

I point this out to say that yes, these things are happening to children this young and we should not draw a blind eye to it.

As to the content of the program, I will certainly contact the school (I don’t know of any talks like this thus far being scheduled) to review. It sounds to me like some the material may need to be updated and made more age apporpriate.

cld

January 14th, 2010
9:48 am

I think these topics should be addressed at school. They also should be addressed at home, but we all know THAT isn’t happening often enough. And, in homes where relatives are the molesters, I would assume the topic is less likely to be addressed, and the child may fear going to his or her parent. So the kids need to know there are adults they can trust, even if those adults aren’t their parents. I hate to say it, but it’s true. My mother was molested by a family member for years, and my grandmother turned a blind eye. As long as there are parents who aren’t informing and protecting their children, I think the community needs to become the safe haven. Whether that community is school, church, scouts, etc . . . though I would venture to say that the kids most at risk for molestation by family members, probably are the ones who aren’t involved in social activities (church groups, cub scouts, etc) outside school.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
9:50 am

the talks should be from the school and from the parents this is no different than a sex ed class… Yes we parents need to do our part of teaching our children about this but then again there are girls in those classes that are being molested and this is probably the only way they can learn its not their fault or they really can seek help.

cld

January 14th, 2010
9:50 am

FCM . . . LOL at “birthing agents”!

Julia

January 14th, 2010
9:51 am

Thank you CDL!

FCM

January 14th, 2010
9:52 am

:) I thought the term worked glad you liked it

...

January 14th, 2010
9:54 am

I don’t have a problem with it. In fact, I applaud it.

Sug, you may be doing a fine job raising your child and telling them about this sort of thing. However, about once a month in this paper you can find a sad story where a parent was either molesting their child or turning a blind eye to it. Someone needs to help these children and since its their very own parents who are the offenders, it has to be the school.

I do think the school should give parents the option to have their child skip this.

motherjanegoose

January 14th, 2010
9:54 am

@ Sug, if you are doing a good job parenting…we thank you. Many parents who:

send their child to school with no breakfast
send their child to school in a tank top when it is 30 degrees out
send their child to school with a red tongue (”My mom told me to take some Tylenol and that I would be just fine”)
send their child to school with various abusive marks on their body
send their child to school smelling like they have never brushed their teeth or had a bath in days

ARE NOT….this is why these things have to be covered

What about the children who drowned ( here) last week. That was a HORRIBLE accident and since we live in the south, we do not usually discuss the disasters of walking on ice or licking a frozen metal pole. I do remember discussions about this when I grew up in Chicago. An e-mail was sent to the neighbors in the area but not all parents read the e-mail or chose to discuss it with their kids. My prayers are with those families and the families who will look out the window and see the lake everyday, where the boys drowned.

Teachers today continue to tell me that if parents would just do their job, the teachers could then do theirs.

We THANK you for doing your job!

The biggest complaint I hear from thousands of teachers is:
parents need to step up to the plate!

I was in a school yesterday with Preschoolers. The staff allows parents whose children do not attend on the day I show up, to come in and join the presentation.

There was a Mom in the back with a 2-3 year old ( I am confident of the age as I am aware of developmental milestones) . She handed him a bottle during the show. He also took his shoes off and was running around the back of the room. The Mom was not doing a thing. If it were my child, he would be out to the car faster than he could blink his eyes. The other children were wonderful!

This is a great preschool and the staff are great too!

Please ask any teacher you know if they think the majority of parents today are doing a good job and get back with me. You may have a new answer and that is great news!

THIS is why schools have to handle some things for parents.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 14th, 2010
9:54 am

You can skip it if you choose to.

Be Nice

January 14th, 2010
9:55 am

Does anyone know if they do this in Fulton Schools and if so which grade(s) cover this topic?

Michelle

January 14th, 2010
10:00 am

I think it is a good idea. I don’t think they can ever hear too much about it. Sometimes the kids don’t necessarily pay attention to the parents, but when they are hearing the same thing from several sources, it helps to reinforce the topic. I would rather my child be over educated about the risks than to be totally blind to them.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
10:00 am

I really feel if you do not let your children see or go to this class you are doing a severe injustice to them…

motherjanegoose I love you!

FCM

January 14th, 2010
10:10 am

@ BeNice my kids are in Fulton. It seems to me they do have the couselors address this but I have not seen anything yet this year that says when. I also do not recall an “opt out” form coming home (years past) but that may be because I wouldn’t opt out mine form it.

Theresa it was either you or Keith who had a blog on here about The Talks or something this summer? There was a really good book someone mentioned. There was also an article in a more mainstream publication that stated that “self touching” was not indicator of molestation. I remember sending that to the school counselors who found it “very interesting”. According to them that is one of the things that they use as a criteria to question a student.

motherjanegoose

January 14th, 2010
10:19 am

@ Julia….HAHAHA! You are in the minority here!
At some point, you are going to have to decide if you want to be friends with me or FCM as we are often not on the same page. BUT FCM has been throwing me a few olive branches lately and so I am quite willing to be her friend too and simply agree to disagree. She has lots of neat ideas, especially her post at the end of the blog ( yesterday) about children challenging adults…that was spot on!

@ Sug…did you know that some schools have toothbrushes for each child and they show them how to brush their teeth and do it as a group each day? Methinks this is because the parents are NOT doing their job.

@ Michelle…great point!

Becky

January 14th, 2010
10:22 am

My two have had the talk of bad touching since they were first potty trained..I agree that it does need to be talked abot at school, because as sad as it is to say, a lot it happens at home like cld said..

@Julia, I’m sorry that this happened to you..I don’t know that I have ever known anyone that was molested..I do know and I have made it very clear to anyone in my family that if I ever find out that it happens to any of the little ones in my family, I will be like the Father in the movie “A Time to kill”..I will have my own justice..

I do have a neice that dated a guy once when her 2 daughters were like 5 & 7..The one and only time that I met him, I told him that if either one of them ever told me that he touched them anywhere, I owuld hunt him down and kill him..he wasn’t around that much longer..

DB

January 14th, 2010
10:28 am

Well, my kids didn’t need the lectures from school, because they got ‘em at home. But, because they got ‘em at home, it wasn’t a SURPRISE to them when they got the talk at school.

I don’t hate the talk or the topic. What I hate is the NECESSITY for the talk and the topic. But hating the necessity to the point of ignoring the need is just plain foolish.

I remember one of my SIL carefully asking me and another SIL one Thanksgiving if we had had “the talk” with our daughters. We laughed and said, “Oh, God, years ago!” (they were 12 at the time!). We then realized that she hadn’t — and not only had she not, she had refused to allow my niece to attend the sex-ed class at school. We were horrified, bundled her out for coffee, and sat her down and read her the riot act, giving her some suggestions on how to talk out niece. So, yeah, the most surprising people bury their head in the sand . . .

Rod

January 14th, 2010
10:32 am

Sug – some of the parents are the ones doing the molesting. So, no, we shouldn’t wait on those parents to warn their children about being molested.

mom2alex&max

January 14th, 2010
10:40 am

I suppose this is a good idea; I am kinda lukewarm about it. My kids have had (AT HOME) all the talks about stranger danger, good touch vs bad touch, etc. Last time I took them to the pediatrician she was quizzing them about those thing.

I told her: “They know ALL the answers, but I am under NO illusions that they would help look for a puppy in a NY minute”. My kids are pretty trusting by nature. The point of all this, is that while the videos and talks, etc is all well and good, I feel like nothing compares to keeping your eyes on them. And before anyone slams me with being an overprotective parent, nothing could be further from the truth: I am a VERY laid back parent. Almost “free range” is the modern word. I just know that my children are pretty trusting, so I simply MUST watch for that!

Be Nice

January 14th, 2010
10:53 am

I have a 1st grader in Fulton…first year in public school…and we haven’t’ gotten a form or notification. I would hope they’d at least tell parents before addressing the topic. I have no problem with schools talking about this; we’ve addressed it to some extent at home. I do think as with sex ed, drugs, etc. that the best info comes from home, and parents/caregivers need to proactively discuss these serious issues with their students before it’s raised in school so the kids won’t be hearing the information for the first time at school.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
11:01 am

Well I’m glad the boy scouts are teaching these lessons! Its good to know when a young scout is told by scout a leader that the boy can sleep alone in the scout leader’s tent that he’ll know to turn down that offer. Are catholic priests teaching this lesson to alter boys too?

mom2alex&max

January 14th, 2010
11:10 am

Tiger, I don’t know if you posted that in jest or not, but as a mother of two scouts I simply MUST say something about that. Boys Scouts of America have extremely strict rules regarding their leaders and the boys. NO boy may sleep in the same tent as a non-related adult. NO boy may ride in the same car as a non-related adult to scout events. Adult leaders go through several hours of training on this topic alone.

I don’t mean to be preachy about it, but BSA has taken huge steps to raise awareness on this topic.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
11:25 am

@mom2A&M….it was kind of in jest…and mostly a tongue in cheek respsonse to:

Doug Smith, the man who ran the boy scouts child abuse program in their national headquarters being sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for child pornography trafficking….

Bruce Phelps, former troop leader, admitting under oath to having sexual contact with two scouts…

The attorney who represented to the two scouts above, after having access to the BSA’s files finding that before 1991 “a Scout leader was being tossed out for child molestation or suspected abuse at the rate of every three days”

The BSA’s response to his accusations that “The total number of individuals in the file is an extremely small percentage of the tens of millions who have served in BSA since 1910.” Hmmm…I’m no math genius…but 1 tenth of 1 percent of 10 million is still about 10000 people.

I apologize though….the BSA didn’t deserve my cheap shot at them…I can’t help it…I’m a rabble rouser! :-)

Jane

January 14th, 2010
11:26 am

mom2alex&max – you said: “NO boy may ride in the same car as a non-related adult to scout events.” How do the boys get to the events if mom/dad isn’t available?

ABC

January 14th, 2010
11:29 am

Those BSA guidelines are rich coming from a group that’s anti-gay.

Liz

January 14th, 2010
11:31 am

ABC – And what do you want them to do – promote sex with kids!

Get a grip folks. There are bad apples in every group. You try to minimize those and move on.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
11:34 am

I dont even think that a gay or anti gay or what the hell ever would promote children being molested.

Tara

January 14th, 2010
11:35 am

I fully agree with DB – I don’t think my own kids will need this in-school education, as I plan to teach them at home. But the fact is, not every parent does that. I appreciate that the schools care enough about kids to pick up parents’ slack. What I truly hate, is the necessity for such talks and the fact that, no matter how many talks are given, there are adults who will continue to prey on children.

@mom2alex&max – I heard a speaker one time discussing the importance of not only talking to our kids about good touch/bad touch, stranger safety, etc. but also play acting scenarios with them. I know it still doesn’t guarantee that a child will always do the right thing, but the speaker was saying kids learn a lot more effectively when they can practice what they’re hearing.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
11:36 am

I guess what this all boils down to – there is Not one organizationg that is perfect because its ran by “man” and again “man” has free will and some of the ones in higher powers abuse that position.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
11:38 am

Liz is absolutely correct. I apologize for getting things off topic. It was not my intention to condemn the BSA…they do some cool stuff for communities and kids. Nor was it my intention to imply that every scout leader in the BSA since their inception has been a predator. That’s not my belief. Besides the BSA themselves cleared that issue up. The number is only around 10 – 50 thousand.

oneofeach4me

January 14th, 2010
11:38 am

lol@ Tiger… I got the humor.

@mom2alex&max ~ I am glad that you clarified that. I want my 4 yr old son to join the scouts. But with everything I have heard in the news and what not about Scout Leaders molesting the troops, it can be a little unnverving. I don’t want to worry everytime he is away on a “trip” with his troop. So.. I told dad.. if he joins, so shall you. And so the agreement has been made and come spring, my son will be a cub scout!! YAY!!

@FCM ~ I really wish that my pediatrician had told me this with my 1st one. I had a negihbor girl across the street that was 2 years older than my daughter. Needless to say I walked in her room one day to find the 6 yr old girl from across the street touching my 4 yr old in places she shouldn’t have (with clothes on). Talk about a stressfull and sicking time… uggghhh..

I think this is a great idea as long as they keep it age appropriate. Since that instance I have had constant conversations with my daughter about her body is HERS and is NOT to be touched by anyone. My son who is 4 understands just that his peepee is his and no one else is to touch it. I just think that sometimes when it comes from outside the home from someone else other than parents (especially teenagers or middle schoolers) that they will be a little more receptive. I wish Cobb County would do something like this. Maybe I can search for the video on YouTube??

@MJG ~ good points on the parenting. However, the mention of sending kids to school with no bfast. My daughter doesn’t have an appetite in the am. But when she does, she just eats bfast at school being that she is there by 7:15 which gives her about 30 minutes to eat. Now my son.. that’s another story. The boy wakes up asking for oatmeal.. lol

FCM

January 14th, 2010
11:41 am

@ BeNice talk to your child tonight. I am sure that they probably had the Stranger Danger conversation. I know mine did in K and 1st–that one is certainly done without a note.

MJG –OMG You said something nice about me….LOL ;) I told you before we aren’t all bad…besides I have been praying about you. Funny how God changes the prayer eh?

FCM

January 14th, 2010
11:52 am

@oneofeach4me some of playing doctor is normal development of our sexuality….we worry about emotional, developmental, physical, academic, etc growth in our children…we seldom consider sexual growth–except to say “don’t do ANYTHING”. It is there from birth. That said, I would be just as sick to walk in on the same thing…with the discussion at least your daughter would have known to say no about it. Informed decisons at 4–who would think?

Julia

January 14th, 2010
11:52 am

both of yall crack me up and like each of you for your own traits – I can find something good in both of yall :) so ((((HUS)))

FCM – yesterday wa the day from you know where.. My corba was canceled and now I have to fight that….. Also a guy I went to highschool took his own life yesterday afternoon. I am not in a good place today.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
11:53 am

I never ate breakfast still dont

oneofeach4me

January 14th, 2010
12:04 pm

@FCM ~ that is why I didn’t freak out too much. Yet in still… it caused some issues for my girl about a year later when she touched one of her friends inappropriately. So needless to say I had to deal with it from both ends. But hey, these things don’t come with an instruction manual. And the 1st go round is usually where u live and learn.

Liz

January 14th, 2010
12:16 pm

@ Tiger needs me on his PR team – even your “apology” was offensive (@ 11:38) with your last two lines.

This is not a joking matter.

FCM

January 14th, 2010
12:16 pm

Julia — super hugs and prayers to you girl!

FCM

January 14th, 2010
12:17 pm

Julia I need to find a way to send you my personal email or phone # so if you just need to talk you can…

Julia

January 14th, 2010
12:22 pm

here is an email acct I dont use much and really dont care whom has it .. I do check to from time to time…

rushjula@yahoo.com this is a very generic one :)

Julia

January 14th, 2010
12:26 pm

Liz the first time I talked to Tiger – we got off to a bad start so we had our little squabble but he really does grow on you. I dont find what he said offensive but today I have a migraine so I am not sure if I am seeing what you see or not

Now if you want offensive.. go look at the post yesterday in the boy with long hair and someone made a retarded comment That was offensive

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
12:28 pm

Hey Liz…I don’t think 10K-50K (granted this is a speculative number since the BSA won’t actually tell anyone what the number is…but I think its reasonable based upon their own statement) predators passing through a single organization dedicated to children is a joking matter at all. That’s kind of the point.

Just because I use sarcasm and cynicism to illustrate my point of view doesn’t mean that I don’t take them seriously.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
12:29 pm

Thanks Julia…..I think I’ll grow on Liz too…but she might think of me more as a rash.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
12:35 pm

I am probably gonna put more on here than any one really wants to know but….. I was a child of abuse starting around the age of 3. The first time was by a cousions neighbor in front of a room full of other kids. No one came to my aid. Once it was over he told me if I did tell my mom she would not beleive me. Years went by then it started with every man in my family. I cant even remember everyone that abused me – why did I let this go on so long – I thought it was my fault and I never thought any one would beleive me. If there would have been a class like this in my school – I would have folded like a deck of cards and maybe it could have stopped way back then.

usually lurking

January 14th, 2010
12:42 pm

@Jane – A Scout leader can drive a group of boys; it cannot be one-on-one.
@oneofeach4me – A parent has to camp with a Cub Scout, not until Boy Scouts are the boys allowed to camp without a parent going on the trip. Glad your son is going to be a Scout and that your husband is going to get involved as well!!
And as mom2alex&max said – the Youth Protection Training is quite extensive and taken very seriously – and it is for protection of both the adults and the youth.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
12:43 pm

Tiger you are ok in my book :).. I think now we can even pick on each other with out a fit ya know :)

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
12:47 pm

ditto Julia!