My goal for parenting ‘well’, was to protect.
Now I didn’t wake up one morning, breastfeed my daughter and think ‘oh gosh, I think protection of you and your little world is going to be my number one goal as I raise you’.
No, protection was / is an engrained response.
I think there’s supposed to be way more to parenting. But this was my driving force. It shaped how I was with my children, my absence from my children, my need to step back or be in their faces, or someone elses … it was to protect.
Protect from what?
Besides everything …
Dim and grim view you may say, and yes, in hindsight, I get that it probably was. But as I’ve said before, my PTSDness has shaped who and what I am, for the most part of my life.
When I knew I was having daughters … I was petrified. Absolutely petrified.
Statistically, females are sexually assaulted more than males. Well, that’s whats reported. And I get now, that those stats are largely incorrect. But as a new mother back in the day; and a very young mother at that; and based on my own experiences … being a female, and a little female at that … your chances of survival were slim.
I became ‘absent’ from my daughter when she was a baby. For the most part, this was to protect her from her birth father. He was violent, but his violence was directed at me, not her. In hindsight, a stronger, wiser person would have just reported his ass and been done with it.
However, if you know anything about reporting physical violence, from a females perspective; you’d have more results pushing water up hill with a fork than have the ‘authorities’ come to your aid.
I did what I thought to be right at the time.
I was never far away and was forever watching.
So when my daughters came back to live with me, after their father decided he needed to ‘find himself’, I saw it as a second chance. And one I wasn’t going to fuck up.
My basis for parenting was environmental; as in, I had learned and absorbed what I had seen and experienced. The rest of it came from Biblical principles that I had also heard and absorbed whilst sitting in church for years. Unfortunately, that didn’t give a step by step on how to protect children from pedos, and I wasn’t about to leave it up to faith and prayer.
So I hunted for solutions and a ‘how to’ manual and came up short. And then I figured – what better way to learn, than from peeps that hunted pedo freaks for a living. You’ve got to remember, this was about 2002 and there wasn’t a lot available to your average peep on this sort of thing.
Enter, ‘John Douglas’, former FBI criminal profiler dude; now author dude – of ‘Mindhunter’.
At the end of this book there was a list, of sorts, of what to look for, behaviour wise, when scoping out a would be, could be, offender. There were tips on what to look for in your children if you suspected something was amiss.
Here are some of the things I came away with, rehashed and implemented into my parenting.
- Know your children. Properly, and deeply. If you know them, really know them, then you will notice any changes.
- Teach your children confidence. Build confidence in them. Not only is confidence a good thing; a predator of children is less likely to ‘hunt’ a child that exudes confidence. Not always, but it minimises the chances. Confident children don’t make easy prey.
- Teach your children to trust their instincts and their gutt. If it feels odd, then it is odd. Always roll with your ‘first thought’ or ‘first instinctual reaction’.
These sound like simple things, but they are hard, for us. When we’re to busy to ‘know’ our kids … when we would rather have them obey than to seem disrespectful or obstinate … when we would rather that we taught them how to act and react.
Children are way way smarter than we give them credit for. They usually know what to do in any given situation, but our ‘socialisation’ of them teaches them to not listen to their instincts, to trust all adults and to obey authority.
If a child is uncomfortable with a certain adult, don’t make them say hello or give them a hug because we feel uncomfortable about how the child’s unwillingness to be compliant makes us look.
Teach them honesty, confidence and love; but also observance, instinctual response and strategy.
And for us … listen to what children have to say … we might actually learn something!