Are You Protecting Your Children From Danger?
In our society, we cannot deny that predatory behavior does indeed exist. Children are being taught at an early age about “stranger danger” and how to recognize all forms of abuse. This isn’t a bad thing, as it is designed to protect our children from harm, and bring justice to those engaged in inappropriate behaviors. As parents, we cannot always be there to protect our children- however we can equip them and protect them to a degree.
According to Child Help, the incidence of reported sexual abuse is over 9%. While it may seem like a relatively low statistic, keep in mind that not all victims come forward due to shame or fear. It is not an easy subject for a child to discuss for fear of not being believed.
Sexual abuse is rarely from someone the child/family does not know, but is usually from someone that they trust. Often it is a family friend, close relative, or can be a parent of a child’s friend. Due to the existence of this dichotomy, it makes it more challenging for a child to come forward with abuse allegations. Abuse allegations will wreck the relationship, and the child fears they will be called a liar- which is the worst feeling for any abuse victim as it creates more scars.
However, we are not here to discuss abuse, but to set it as a backdrop of a discussion regarding sleepovers.
Sleepovers are generally a fun activity for kids wherein they can get together with their friends and have fun all night long. It is a reprieve for parents as they can relax at home and take some time for themselves without having to pick up their children at the end of the evening.
While sleepovers may appear to be a harmless activity, there is a potential for many types of things to occur. Parents may we well acquainted with their children’s parents. However, most abusers are well known to their victims (I’m not saying every parent is an abuser, but you never know!). You may be giving your children easy access to an abuser. Most children who are abused in the home hide it well for the most part. Abuse is quite concealed, and abusers can be the most charming people you would ever meet. They have to be to gain your trust. So you may not know or detect the abuse is even present in the home.
Furthermore, as children get to be teenagers, you don’t necessarily know what is going on in their friend’s home. Many children sneak out for rendez-vous, have parties with members of the opposite sex without parent’s being present, and can be molested by other people. How do you, as a parent, know that your child’s friend isn’t sneaking in girls/boys? Are the parent’s closely monitoring the children’s activities or are they being left alone? We’ve all been young, so we know what people in this age group are capable of- if they want to badly enough.
With this in mind, this issue will be discussing the topic of sleepovers- whether parents should permit them, and what parameters they should operate under. It will explore both sides of the argument, and leave the final conclusion in the hands of the parents.
Your children don’t have to live in a “bubble”, however as parents we are responsible for protecting them, and raising them according to the Bible. It takes wisdom, caution, Biblical understanding, and a lot of God to raise children. Let’s protect them and their innocence, but allow them to have the fun of childhood. It is possible. This article will teach you the correct balance but not make you fearful.
You can find this article and more in our next issue, “Preparing the Next Generation”, coming out June 27th.
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