The Damage Done
I was talking to one of my friends the other day, and we started talking about her kids and more specifically her eleven year old daughter. She’s a good mom, and rather protective of her kids (in a good way). What I mean to say is that she’s careful about where she will let her daughter spend the night. My Mom was the same way, she wouldn’t let me sleep over at someone’s house if there might be some unsavory characters hanging around. And to a mom anyone she doesn’t know is unsavory until proven otherwise.
I asked my friend is she had ever talked to her daughter about what to do if an adult ever tried to do anything inappropriate. She said yes, but she also specified that when she did have that talk with her daughter she expanded it to anyone and not just adults. Her logic, and she’s right, is that kids, people you know, friends, etc, are just as likely to victimize others.
We then veered into just talking about plain old sex. Trading stories of our parents giving us the talk or their version of it anyway. She said something I think speaks to a lot of people’s experience: “By the time my mom sat me down to talk to me about sex the damage was already done.”
I don’t have any kids, but if I imagine myself as a mother, I can’t help but be worried about all the things that could hurt them and how as a parent it would be my job to protect them. That is such a scary thought. I probably wouldn’t want to let them out of my sight until they were well into their teens. Unfortunately that would make for some pretty emotionally stunted teenagers. I guess at one point you just have to let go and accept that you can’t protect them forever. All you can do is prepare them for the world and then let them make their own way.