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?