I have had a post in draft that I thought Dr. Helen would enjoy but I just haven’t found the time to finish it. Today she posted "Every possible form of interaction between an adult and a child is perceived as yet another opportunity for child abuse." and I commented with the story from my post:
We are creating a horrible side affect in the way our children perceive the world. The lack of trust and an understanding that most people are good will impact the choices they make in our future as they become voters and influence laws in our society.
Last year I dropped by the high school band practice to give my daughter some money since she decided to stay from practice to the game instead of coming home. My wife and 3 other children were in the van as I approached the field. The girls on the flag team became concerned because "a creepy stalker guy" was approaching the field. Their response was an immediate jump to the negative.
How strong was the impact of this experience with my daughter? Two days ago I offered to drop by during band camp to offer support to the team and my daughter begged me to stay away. She reminded me specifically that I am “that creepy stalker guy.” Wow. Gee. Thank you society for the hollow feeling you have put in my chest, destroying bonding opportunities between my daughter and me, and embarrassing my daughter in front of her peers.
How can we be raising happy children to become happy adults when we are teaching them to focus only on the negative…and a negative that is highly unlikely?
As a male in our society, I encounter these horrid attitudes more and more frequently particularly as I lead scouts or visit schools. Boy Scouts of America has added training for the adult leaders as well as the children regarding child abuse. Nothing is more uncomfortable than talking to an 8 year old about potential child abuse except maybe talking to a second grader about sexual harassment but that’s a different a story for a different time.
Recently, an adult was asking about how to handle my children while they were at camp and I instructed, "Be firm. Be direct. Tell them they are being annoying." He said he couldn’t do that to another person’s child. You know. We used to say, "it takes a village [to raise a child]." Now everyone in the village is a suspect for an imagined crime that has yet to happen. I believe in the school of hard knocks. I believe in common sense. And I believe in people! Wrong me once, shame on you; wrong me twice, shame on me. I will protect my children within reason. I will not/cannot bubble wrap them and protect them from every sharp corner or hard surface. They will learn more and live fuller lives by me allowing them to fall down or break a bone than by my words and fears. I will teach them trust, and impact upon them common sense.