A Public Service Announcement

Monday, August 02, 2010 8 Comments A+ a-

There are very few things in this world that I hate; I might be agitated or annoyed by many things but rarely do I attach the word “hate” to many of them. I wrote about one of the things I hate here. But I’m going to write about another thing I hate today.

I hate that we live in a world where I have to have these conversations with my 3- and 5-year-old. I hate that we live in a world that I even have to give my children the appropriate skills to deal with these type of situations. I hate that something so ugly and disgusting even happens to children and their innocence; children are to be protected, kept safe, and their innocence defended. Yet time and time again, children are harmed irreparably when adults, sometimes an adult they trust, take advantage of their innocence and take away their trust. And should anyone, and I mean ANYONE, touch one hair on my child, or even look at them with a sideways glance, that person should seek protection right away. My Mama Bear instincts will emerge and I fear for that person, I truly do. Let that be a warning.

We’ve had the swimsuit conversation with Devyn before, and have recently started having the same conversation with Hudson. Simply put, no one is allowed to touch the parts of their body that is covered by a swimsuit, with the exception of needing to be cleaned, or medicine applied, or being examined by a doctor. There hasn’t been just one conversation, but a continuous conversation as questions are asked, or scenarios laid forth for clarification. But they get the overall gist that its their body and no one gets to touch them, ever. Of course there’s the usual giggling during bath time and the testing of boundaries, but they get it.

Have I mentioned I hate there’s even a need to even have to talk to them about it?!

But my conversations with Devyn have taken a different route lately, a route that I knew I’d have to tackle someday and I’m sad that at 5 years old, she’s already dealing with these kinds of feelings. But again, I’m determined to give my children the skills they need and to empower them to say “no” when needed. I’ve noticed as of lately that Devyn has started pulling away from hugs, cuddles, or hair playing; its not all the time and not with every person but nonetheless, she has started feeling uncomfortable when some people touch her and Jon and I agreed that we needed to address it.

And yesterday I bit the bullet and started what I’m sure is the first of many conversations to come. As much as she could comprehend at 5 years old, she now knows that if she doesn’t like being touched, she has the absolute power, authority, and permission to tell that person to stop. We even practiced it a few times as she quietly said, “Please stop, I don’t like that.” We’ll practice a few more times, enough to where she’s comfortable and sure of herself should she ever have to actually use it in real life. So to family and friends, here’s your public service announcement for the day. Our children do have permission to set the boundaries they’re comfortable with, they do have our permission to not hug or kiss if they don’t feel comfortable with it. It was a little odd coming to this conclusion, seeing as we’re a very affectionate, touchy-feely family, but if we want our children to have the confidence we desire for their lives, then this was the right decision and conversation to have.

I pray for their protection every day, for insight should something be amiss, and the strength to continue to have candid conversations, even when they make me uncomfortable, with my children. Truth be told, there are times as an adult that I wish I had the confidence to set boundaries in certain situations. Who knows? Maybe I’ll learn a lesson or two from my children. In the mean time, I feel like I’m doing what I can to protect them and equip them at the same time. And I’m praying with fervor that their innocence is never taken.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming…

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

8 comments

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Christina
AUTHOR
3:22 PM delete

proud of you. those are hard conversations.

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Stacey
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3:27 PM delete

Oh Jenn,
This is something that is soooo hard, huh? I am proud of you also and think you are a very wise & holy mother (and father) for setting your children up with this confidence.

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Amanda
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3:41 PM delete

It is super awesome that you are having those conversations! Your kids will thank you for it later... Much better than just ignoring certain possibilities.

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Courtney
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5:17 PM delete

I don't know why but this post made me emotional, especially with teaching Devyn how to say no. She has such a precious and soft heart, I hope that she will be strong enough to protect herself.

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Amy Silver
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5:59 PM delete

I dread having to have these conversations.. I agree, I just want to scream that it's not fair to them! You are such a loving mother, good for you for "biting" the bullet even when it's so incredibly sad and hard..

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11:37 PM delete

Your should be so proud to proactively do it so set your child up for the most rewarding situation when she does say "no"!!

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Christine
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10:30 PM delete

I agree with what Courtney said. You're right, it's sad that we live in a world that we even have to have these conversations. Good for you for taking the initiative to have these conversations.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
12:03 AM delete

Jenn, I'm proud of you for teaching your kids these things. It IS sad that in today's world, these things have to be taught to our children and grandchildren!! =( When I think of how innocent and tender Devyn's heart is, I don't want ANYTHING to change that!!!!! Remember the verse Matthew 10:16about going out into the world: "....so be wise as serpents, and innocent as doves...."
Love you, Mom

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