Recently on Facebook, someone posted a story written by a mother of a three year old little girl. I’m going to call it Papa Please Back Up.
It was written by Lisa Norgren, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A. You can read the entire article by clicking on the name above.
A three year old sits at a table as her grandfather looms over her. She physically reacts to his closeness by pulling away.
He pokes her and tickles her. She is visibly uncomfortable and shrinks from his touch.
The mother, who’s obviously spoken with her daughter about this issue before, reminds her daughter of her right to space but the little girl stays silent and then finally, asks mom to speak.
The girls mother steps in and asks him to back up and leave her daughter alone.
He’s offended and says “I can play how I want with her.”
Words are exchanged. He says he’s “playing with her” but the little girl wasn’t playing the mom points out. The interaction was one-sided.
The author looks at her mother who herself survived sexual assault as a young woman, as did she.
It’s about giving that little girl a voice and strength to say no and fight for her space in the world.
It’s about keeping all little children safe from predators and the grooming that can happen right under the noses of bystanders.
It’s up to a parent to teach a child (both boys and girls) without going overboard. The balancing act is one that needs to be based on fact, voice, and intuition. It’s about listening to your inner voice and establishing your place in the world and not accusing others of inappropriate behavior at the drop of a hat.
Communication is key between a parent and child.
Too often I’ve read that children have gone to a parent and voiced concern over how an adult is touching them or talking to them only to find no support or this issue sluffed off as a game or play.
This is not okay. If a child is uncomfortable for whatever reason, listen.
The issue is that the children often don’t have the words or vocabulary to tell their story. They need to be taught at a young age that their body is their own and it needs space from others sometimes.
Teach your children the proper names of their body parts.
Talk to them about having space for their body.
Teach them what a secret is and that you don’t keep them from mom/dad.
Empower them to leave the situation, location, whatever.
Let a child know you’re there to support and listen.
Remember it’s about breaking the cycle of looking the other way.
Tell your child to listen to the little voice inside them that says this doesn’t seem right or feel good.
If a child asks you to stop or back away–then do so without hesitation. This goes for people of all ages, sexes, status, etc.
Don’t poo-poo a child’s feelings. If they don’t like the way Grandpa’s breath smells then they need to learn how to be respectful and polite without feeling like they have to be breathed upon.
Parents should never make a child (of any age) go through a room to kiss and hug everyone goodbye. This is not necessary. It’s not cute and is often very uncomfortable for the kids and adults alike. I always hated that.
Please do what you can to protect and empower your child but don’t go crazy paranoid or make your child so fearful that they can’t have fun playing with Granddad.
We’re protective of our children and we should be. They are a gift. The story that prompted this post related to a woman who suffered sexual assault, as had her mother, so the lesson is one of breaking the cycle.
Learning from the past is so important or you’re bound to repeat it. By giving young children a voice, chances of them being stronger, having support, and being able to tell what is happening, is much more prominent.
Remember, I’m just one opinion here. Please feel free to leave comments and let me know what you think.
I’m not an expert or a doctor…I’m an Auntie who cares deeply for the welfare of all–especially those without a voice.
Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to like, share, comment, and follow.
It’s about empowerment and providing a voice.
There is help 24/7. Others are there to help.
In Canada: Assaulted Women’s Helpline, free at 1-866-863-0511 or TTY 1-866-863-7868
Canadian assault Centers and services: Click Here.
n the USA:
If you are also a survivor of sexual assault, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or click here for more free resources.