Food For Thought

The guilty verdict for Jerry Sandusky is a great victory for those who have experienced child sexual abuse. Likewise, there is also a HUGE lesson to be learned by this case and many others. Public behavior is not indicative of private behavior. Thus, we as parents, must be watchful and discerning of adults with whom our children interact. Trust is earned, NOT given. Never make the mistake of assuming that teachers, coaches, doctors, neighbors, or even family members are trustworthy by the mere virtue of their profession, demeanor, or familial status. Predators thrive on the naïveté of unsuspecting parents who unknowingly go through life giving their children the proverbial thumbs up to any adult who shows interest in their child under the guise of being nice, concerned, or wanting to help them in some way; professionally or otherwise. Children take these cues and assume that these predators are accepted by the parents and by extension, assume that parents are aware of or ok with abusive behavior that is introduced because the predators have been given access to their space. Be careful not to send confusing or unintentional messages to your child….they need to know that no one is permitted to do ANYTHING that hurts them or makes them uncomfortable…NO ONE! You must reinforce that family friends, professionals such as teachers, coaches, day care workers, and family members should be told on immediately if they say or do anything that causes the slightest bit of uncomfortableness. Grooming generally starts way before the first act of abuse occurs, so be on guard and listen to what your child says, or in some cases, doesn’t say about people (incl older kids like neighbors, cousins, and siblings) with whom they interact with. You just may prevent your child from being the victim of a monster in lamb’s clothing like Jerry Sandusky!

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