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daviesjv

I don’t trust her husband ...

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daviesjv
My daughter is eight and one of her best little friends at school lives just a few streets away and often comes over to our house after school for a play. The friend’s mother is lovely too and often invites my daughter over to their house to play as well. I do let her go sometimes, but often find myself making excuses, because for some unexplainable reason I just don’t trust her husband.

 

I should stress that I don’t know why I don’t trust him. I have never had any problem with him; he has never said anything inappropriate to me or to my daughter (that I know of). I have never heard anything bad said about him by any of the other school parents. But for some reason he just gives me the creeps. And because he works from home he is often there in the afternoons when the kids finish school.

 

Like I said, I do let my daughter go over there to play but I’m never really happy about the decision. But also like I said, I’ve got no reason not to trust him. Has anyone else had this issue? Should I go with my gut feeling and minimise the visits she makes to their house (I don’t want to risk offending her friend or her mother though). Or is it just paranoia from reading too many horror stories in the papers?

 

TW.

 

Hi TW.

 

I think that’s a great question and as a parent it’s something that I’ve considered from time to time, because when our kids do go visiting we can’t always control who else will be there.

 

I have asked Hetty Johnston, founder and executive director of the wonderful organisation Bravehearts Inc to help you out with a response.

“The first thing to say is always to trust your own instincts,” says Hetty. “Go with your gut feeling. Unless this is a common pattern for you, there is probably a good reason you feel the way you do - even if you don’t know what it is. Trust it. The potential to upset the little girl’s Mum by not letting your daughter go over to their house to play, pales into insignificance against the alternative potential that your child is unsafe.

 

But you raise another important observation. With the rising awareness of child sexual assault many parents are becoming almost paranoid. While this is understandable given one in five children are sexually assaulted in some way before their 18th birthday, this too is unfair to the child. Kids needs to be able to experience other people and to grow in their own confidence. They just need parents who will teach them how keep safe while they do it. As parents, we need to teach our children to recognise and trust their own instincts and support them whenever they feel or express a ‘NO’ feeling.”

 

TW, Hetty advises that the answer lies in education, both in terms of children and parents. “We wouldn’t think of letting our kids walk to school without first teaching them the road rules,” she says. “And we do this successfully without the need to describe the gory scene of a road accident. We can also successfully teach 3 to 8 year olds the road rules of personal safety and it do it without describing the gory scene of sexual assault.”

 

TW, if you’re unsure about how to talk with your daughter about personal safety issues then check out some of the fact sheets available on the Bravehearts website. Bravehearts also produces a CDrom called “Ditto's Keep Safe Adventure.” “It is not sex education, it is about personal safety generally - including bullying,” says Hetty. “It’s fun, it’s safe and it WORKS! It costs around $25.00 and represents the closest thing we have to insuring your child against sexual assault and other forms of harm. I recommend it to every parent in the nation with a child under 10 years old.”

 

 

And in the meantime, as Hetty said, trust your instinct. Personally I’d prefer to err on the side of caution!

 

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clairek

Always go with your gut instinct, but I understand the need not to offend anyone.

 

Why not invite the mother for a coffee every time the kids play together at yours, then hopefully she will invite you to have a coffee at hers. Engineering a habit of a cuppa (if practicle) when the kids play means you are nearby and can probably get to know the husband a bit better, and maybe find that he isn't so bad.

 

 

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alphawife

You post immediately made me think of the Oprah show "How the Gift of Fear Can Save Your Life". I really believe in trusting your instinct and think if you are feeling uneasy then it's worthwhile to pursue why.

 

Part of the show was on how to keep your children safe from predators. Here is a link to the recap... http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/How-the-Gift...ave-Your-Life_1

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Literary Lemur

I feel sort of like this around one Dad at school.

 

As an adult to adult I really enjoy his company but I feel like I don't "get" him and I can't put my hand on my heart and say I trust him 100%. Nothing has happened to make me distrust him but I do find his child's behaviour unusual. She seems very "flirty" and adult for her age. I spoke to DH about it and he said that she is definitely the only 7 year old her knows who tries to flirt with him.

 

This dad asked me to have his daughter overnight and she had never even visited our house before. That seemed strange to me in some way. Like he wasn't taking the usual precauctions with his own child if you understand what I mean.

 

I think instincts should be trusted 100% I will definitely use mine to guide me.

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newyearbaby

We are all scared of stories we hear about, but I am sure you don't think this about everyone you meet. So in my opinion, trust your instinct. It isn't worth it if something happens. Good luck.

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mumofsky

From my own personal experience, I strongly suggest you trust your instinct. I think when an 'instinct dilemma' arises, you have to ask yourself "what I'm right" versus "what if I'm wrong", and I'm sure you can clearly see here that the two possible outcomes aren't equally weighted in risk. Feel confident in your decision, the other mother might be upset but the chances are if she felt the same about your DH she wouldn't hesitate to do the same. It's nobody's job to protect your child but yours, and you don't need to explain it to anyone.

 

I've had that niggling feeling about someone before, where nothing concrete at all was evident, yet tiny little comments or looks here and there made me uneasy and I couldn't pinpoint why. Years later it turned out I'd been 100% right in the worst way, so please, please don't feel guilty for trusting yourself. If her DH is normal and fine, there's still no real harm done. Perhaps if you really want the kids to maintain contact you can suggest a coffee at a playcentre with the mum instead.

 

 

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daviesjv

Mumofsky, your post just gave me goosebumps - literally. Great advice, and you are so right - when it comes to balancing the "what-if I'm right/wrong" question, there's no doubt as to which answer is more significant.

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a.go

I grew up in an Eastern European country. Even though my parents are highly educated intellectuals, as a child I was never explained the PERSONAL SAFETY rules, I was never warned there might be adults out there wanting to hurt me in some way... and so I was subjected to abuse from strangers, in the form of visual sexual molestation (flashing), from a fairly early age of around 7-8 (the earliest episode I can recall), to the ripe age of 21, and I was frozen and physically and mentally paralised every time it happened, I never called for help, I didn't know what to do, I just knew it was very scary and very wrong... But I could not even bring myself to tell my parents or grandparents... and they only learnt about it when I was in my 30s...

Now I am a mum myself, and I am not sure how I can protect my daughter from this kind of harm, because I know from my own feelings and the effect this had on me, that no matter what you say to a child, being exposed to something like that scares you so much, you can't talk, you can't walk, you can't run, you can't hide... I wonder if I could have coped with my molestations better, had my mum spoken to me about it... But how do you say to a 6-7 year old "If a man in a coat comes near you and shows you his penis, and wants you to go with him, please, don't"??? How do you convey this? How do you instil the fear without corrupting your child with your own words? Will she not end up growing paranoid and terrified of everyone if you try to tell her this could be ANYONE ANYWHERE ANY TIME???

I am very very worried about this issue, even though my child is only a toddler now.

I am 37 but the sight of an adult man exposing himself (and yes, I still see them every now and again in Sydney, although very rarely) still freaks me out and freezes me on the spot... just like it did when I was 7, 12, 15 and 21...

Any thoughts, anyone?

Edited by kiskarina

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David_Johnson

And people wonder why men feel so emasculated and left out of their child's lives these days!!! It's irrational paranoia like this that destroys the fabric of a community, and gives a bad name to the 99.9% of loving Fathers out there.

 

Just because they're male doesn't mean they're a paedophile!

 

Stop reading the ridiculous over-coverage and over-reactions of the mainstream media on these issues, and just get out there and respect your fellow man.

Edited by David_Johnson

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andyk

Very well and good David, but we are given instincts for a reason. I say use them and trust them.

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David_Johnson
Very well and good David, but we are given instincts for a reason. I say use them and trust them.

Instincts are one thing, but when you specifically say that you have no reason to distrust the person, have never heard anything negative about them, and have never actually seen any semblance of a problem, then instinct MUST give way to rationality. There's hardly an important decision made in this world that was successful purely on instinct. Decisions like this require rational thought ... not some pseudo-science hokum.

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andyk

then instinct MUST give way to rationality

 

I don't agree at all. Man or woman, if they are making your instincts scream then there is a reason and I would trust that.

 

Just because they're male doesn't mean they're a paedophile!

 

And I totally agree.

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Guest missmeow

I am big believer in parental instinct. It exists for a reason.

 

Plain and simple don't let your child near this person. Better to be safe than sorry. You don't want to look back at this in years to come and think if only I hadn't done that. The risk is far too high.

I do like the idea that has been suggested already of turning it into a coffee catch up as well as a play date. This way you can keep an eye on things and your child doesn't miss out.

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Shayley

I agree that instinct should not give way to rationality when it comes to this. I've seen this ignored by someone who then learned, more than 10 years down the track, that the carer had abused the child they were concerned for. This perpetrator gave no cues and there was no evidence to suggest they would do anything untoward. This perpetrator was also a woman. So male or female, if you don't feel good about leaving your child with someone, then don't do it.

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jibsi

Just to add another dimension to this, I also think that kids themselves can have an "instinct" with certain people.

 

When I was 9 I did Judo and really enjoyed it until a second instructor started with our group. I really liked the main instructor (who was male) but this new guy gave me the creeps. I distinctly remember hating the way he looked at me (like a lingering almost loving?! look). I told my mum about it straight away and that was it for her, I never went back. He never got the chance to do anything inappropriate to me, but I'm glad I didn't have to hang around to find out!

 

My point is, I feel lucky that I had a mum I was really close to and was encouraged to talk to her about anything. At the age of 9 I had no idea what a pedophile was but all I knew was that something didn't feel right. The other instructor didn't look at me like that!

 

Talking to your children about how a particular person makes them feel could also give you some clues? Just a thought....

 

 

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katie.baby
then instinct MUST give way to rationality

 

I don't agree at all. Man or woman, if they are making your instincts scream then there is a reason and I would trust that.

 

Just because they're male doesn't mean they're a paedophile!

 

And I totally agree.

 

 

Wow I completely disagree with this. I have had countless instincts with some men that have had no explainable reason for a negative perception, and yet I have 95% ended up being right. The other 5% I guess I'll never know. I agree with the notion that we should never distrust anyone, be it male or female, for no reason. But an instinct is an instinct and at the risk of sounding sexist, perhaps women's instinct is in fact a lot stronger than a man's, because whenever I have this instinct and tell my husband, he usually never feels the same way, but chooses to go with my instinct just in case.

We should always trust our instinct. A child's safety is top priority and goes above and beyond avoiding the risk of acting paranoid. The same goes for a child's instinct, keep your communication open and trust their instincts as much as your own, as their feeling of safety is your responsibility.

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katie.baby
Just to add another dimension to this, I also think that kids themselves can have an "instinct" with certain people.

 

When I was 9 I did Judo and really enjoyed it until a second instructor started with our group. I really liked the main instructor (who was male) but this new guy gave me the creeps. I distinctly remember hating the way he looked at me (like a lingering almost loving?! look). I told my mum about it straight away and that was it for her, I never went back. He never got the chance to do anything inappropriate to me, but I'm glad I didn't have to hang around to find out!

 

My point is, I feel lucky that I had a mum I was really close to and was encouraged to talk to her about anything. At the age of 9 I had no idea what a pedophile was but all I knew was that something didn't feel right. The other instructor didn't look at me like that!

 

Talking to your children about how a particular person makes them feel could also give you some clues? Just a thought....

 

Totally agree with this 100%. Had the same feeling towards a couple of men when I was about 5-10. There was one particular guy (my older sister's friend) who gave me way too much attention and I used to plead with my sister to not make me talk to him or let him sit next to me, however back in the day there was not much room for kid's opinions or instincts. Listen to your kids, because even if nothing ever happened, there will still be that feeling with them that they were never heard by you.

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Sammitty

I work in child care and we have to do courses of child protection.

 

I found them very informative as you are given helpful tools about how to make your children less at risk.

 

Molesters like to train and manipulate children 'that will not tell anyone', they do not go for kids that speak up, are loud and confident, and are too risky at keeping the secret. They also spend a lot of time and effort grooming them too.

 

I plan to inform my kids of their rights and how it's ok to speak out, yell for help, say 'NO' and hopefully make them confident enough that they are too risky to approach.

 

If you can go and do a course on child protection, it is very eye opening but it doesn't make you run out and accuse every Tom, d*ck and Harry. You too become informed of what to look for.

 

You can do courses privately or through TAFE.

 

Ofcourse the courses can make you very emotional too! But well worth it.

 

Thats my two cents.

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ozMax

Every time I have ignored my instincts I have regretted it later when it turned out they were right.

 

When I was a kid my instinct told me the extra friendly relationship my dad had with my cousin wasn't right. I didn't know why, just that it didn't feel normal.

I don't need to say what he was up to, just that she finally told someone over 10 years later :(

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toni147

I agree that instincts are important to listen to, but I think that you need to go with your child's instincts over yours. You might have a dodgy feeling about someone completely harmless, but what if your child is 100% relaxed with them? I think kids who are confident, happy, and secure actually have FAR better instincts than most adults. Two examples from my own experiences:

 

When I was a young child of about 6-8 my parents were friends with a couple who had two little girls about my age. I loved playing with the girls, but the Dad made me feel very uncomfortable. I never understood why then, but I hated being at their house when he was there. And I recall one time my parents were going to leave me there overnight while they went away, but I begged not to have to stay there. My mother thought I was being horribly rude about this man (and terribly inconsiderate of her and Dad!), but thankfully listened to me and made other arrangements. Whatever my parent's link to the couple was eventually died off and we stopped spending time with them -much to my relief. Many years later when I was 15 or so I was there when a mutual acquaintence of my mother's and the girls' mother told her that the father had been sexually abusing his daughters for years before it came out. My parents sensed nothing, I knew there was something wrong about him.

 

But on the other side of the coin...

 

A couple of years back I first had exposure to a woman who volunteered at our local creche who made me feel very "odd". I couldn't put my finger on it, but I felt something wasn't 100% about her. She never met my eye when we talked, and seemed in a hurry to get away when I tried to talk to her. I was slightly concerned about my kids with her (though they were never alone with her) until one day we were walking in the same direction after creche, and my eldest (who was all of 3 at the time) reached up and took the woman's hand. My DD literally led this woman across the road, and then gave her a gentle pat on the arm at the other side before waving goodbye and hopping in the car with me. On the way home I asked her why she took XX's hand, and she replied "So she could get across the road safely with us, Mummy". Asking the centre director about XX the next time I was there, I discovered that the volunteer had an intellectual disability...so what I took as shifty, evasive behaviour was just a very shy, mentally 12-year old girl in a woman's body. My 3 year old adored her and wanted to protect her. My "instincts" were off, but DD's were right on.

 

Anyway, I guess my point is to "listen" to your kids with your eyes and ears. My children are assertive, vocal little girls with a strong sense of social justice and fair play. So if my kids feel safe and protected with someone, that's good enough for me. I can tell almost immeadiately if THEY don't like someone, or feel insecure with someone, and I go with their instincts on that one. I was a child who loved to hug and kiss and jump and climb all over people I liked, and my two daughters are the same...but unlike my parents I would never force or guilt my kids into kissing "Uncle Brian" or spending solo time with "Aunty Joan".

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snapchat95

.

Edited by snapchat95

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LittleRB

I would 100% go with my instincts if I had a gut feeling about someone. These days I always follow my instincts as I know from past experience that I've lived to regret the times I didn't.

 

I'm not saying your fears are always founded, that is, just because you have a creepy feeling about someone, doesn't mean they ARE a child abuser. Howevr, I am a highly rational, logical person, and when your instincts kick in about something this serious, I can't understand how you wouldn't follow them and risk the unimaginable happening.

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kotchiornok
I agree that instincts are important to listen to, but I think that you need to go with your child's instincts over yours.

 

I think this is fantastic advice. It is important especially because it shows your child that you (and they) can and should take their feelings seriously - that if they feel uncomfortable with a situation then they (or someone else) can and should put a stop to it. This is so important in getting kids to speak out if ever anything does happen.

 

The book "Blink" by Malcom Gladwell has some interesting things to say about first impressions and gut instincts. He does say that your intuition can be surprisingly perceptive, but there are also situations where it can be corrupted by stereotypes and likes/dislikes, eg: prejudice can operate at an intuitive unconscious level, even in individuals whose conscious attitudes are not prejudiced. I can't really remember all the details about it, but I seem to remember you are more likely to be wrong making a snap judgment about someone (as in a first impression) than when you have spent a bit more time with them and have more "data" (conversations/facial expressions/body language etc) to base your "gut instinct" on - of course though by this time you have already got a "first impression" so it is not all so straightforward.

 

I like the idea of asking the child how they feel - they may well have a feeling for the situation, but in any event it lets them know that their comfort level with a situation is important and should be taken into account. Although I guess if you as a parent have a very strong feeling then supervising contact is probably a reasonable precaution because the possible harm far outweighs the difficulty of doing this.

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Magenta Ambrosia

The best advice I've ever been given in relation to children being able to say no is respect their boundaries first. Never make a child hug or kiss you or someone else if they don't want to, teach them it's OK to say no to being touched when they don't want to be.

Tell them if someone makes them do something they don't want to do for them to tell someone and they will be protected.

If a child feels uncomfortable around someone never dismiss their feelings, respect them.

Let them know that touching where swimmers cover is something only adults in a loving relationship are allowed to do. And it's against the law for someone to touch their private parts or for you to touch theirs until they are an adult.

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mumofsky

It speaks volumes that the one poster to object to the use of women's intuition here was a man.

 

I am bloody horrified that there are irresponsible w*n*ers like that finding a voice on here, telling mothers to go against their motherly instinct and leave their kids unsupervised with men they feel uncomfortable around. What's your interest in it? Why do you care so much if she wants to protect her child?

 

To say instinct must give way to rationality is absurd. If I'd chosen to follow instinct over rationality, my DD would never have been allowed to be in the occasional care of her father who was (as most here know) later convicted on child pornography offences. I'm not proud of that but by god I'll say it if another mother wonders on EB whether she's imagining something and is getting told by men she's never met to shut up and ignore her instincts about the protection of her child so as to avoid the emasculation of men. I had nothing concrete either on DD's father, nobody had ever said anything bad about him - but I just felt weird. So if you want evidence of one successful decision based on instinct, imagine I had trusted mine and kept DD away from that monster, and that would have been one.

Seriously, it's too dangerous a topic for the blackshirts to get all political on. It makes me mad. sorry.

Edited by mumofsky

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