I was asked to write about what my boundaries are with my child for daycare, baby sitters, nursery at church, and everywhere else. I must admit that setting proper boundaries is extremely difficult because it is vital to the protection of your child. . . so coming up with those boundaries, knowing what the right boundaries are, being consistent in keeping those boundaries (add to the mix of trusting that others will enforce your boundaries), and being willing to adapt those boundaries just terrifies me. Being the son of a pedophile, I now know firsthand how dad was so easily able to gain access to children, isolate them, and abuse them. Thankfully, he is raw when we talk. He’s told me that I can share some information from his letters, and I will here. One line from a letter that will forever stick in my mind is this: “Jimmy, I dropped kids off at a Christian daycare and I could have easily abused any kid I wanted from there. Daycares are one of the easiest targets for pedophiles.” Though he assured me he didn’t abuse any kids from that particular daycare, his words haunt me yet. He was not a daycare worker, yet he still admitted that, as an outsider, he could have abused any kid he wanted. My daughter goes to daycare. I see TONS of gaping holes in which a pedophile could walk right through. Access to your kid’s body is the key that unlocks your child’s innocence. Period. I will establish the reasons why we should restrict access to our children in this blog, then write about what those boundaries are in part 2.
WHY SET BOUNDARIES?
The reason why we do things is important. Most people don’t want to think about the “why.” Not in this area. Our minds want to believe that “good” people would never do these things to young children, especially a close family or church friend. 40 million survivors of child sex abuse in our country alone will tell you otherwise. So our easy answer is to teach our kids about “stranger danger,” a useless strategy since the majority of molesters are groomers and over 75% of molesters are known by the victim. But we feel better about having taught our kids “safety” and so we blindly drop them off at daycare without questioning their policies, we leave them alone with a babysitter or nursery volunteer, granting unlimited access to our kids, we let them have sleepovers at their friends’ houses–never thinking that mom, dad, or siblings living in the house could be pedophiles, we drop them off at Kindergarten without asking about safety policies, we pat them on the head as we drop them off at Christian camp for the week, and we let the doctor examine our children alone because he is, after all, a professional.
But guess what? Every single scenario I just mentioned are considered “high risk” areas. They are called high risk because the main ingredient for the recipe of sexual assault is present in every one of them–access. While you were worried about whether your kid will get along with other kids, or pass his physical examination, or get good grades in school, you overlooked one vital fact–you left your kid alone at a place where he or she can very easily be isolated from the herd and be sexualized by an adult within seconds.
Am I too over protective? I get asked that a lot. Ask Dr. David Wilson, a respected child psychiatrist and osteopathic physician and surgeon from Ogden, UT who was charged last Monday for 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and who was looking at hundreds of graphic nude images of children aged 6-12 on his office computer at the hospital where he worked.1 This is not an isolated incident. It. Happens. All. The. Time. I daily read of stories of sex crimes committed against children–committed by family friends, doctors, ministers, baby sitters, teachers–and the story is always the same: “We never would have thought he was doing this to children.” Exactly.
Worse yet, the multitude of stories we read about in the news only include the people who are getting caught. We have a responsibility to set real boundaries for our kids. Unapologetically. And here’s the great irony–the more you establish boundaries to keep your kids safe, the more you will be ridiculed by family, friends, and peers. When they don’t care to understand the why, you are just being a paranoid weirdo. But guess what? It’s not their kid! It is so important to understand how pedophiles think, operate, groom, and gain access to children. Without this understanding, you will never, ever, ever, ever see the real need to set important boundaries for your kids’ protection.
I will write a follow up on what boundaries my wife and I have set for our daughter, and how that is not adequate for her protection. More, not less, needs to be done. We can do this without being paranoid or locking them in their rooms for life. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Subscribe if you would like to follow these important blogs. I’d love to hear some of the reasons why some of you have set boundaries for your kids, and what (if any) backlash you’ve received because of it.