Friday, June 17, 2011

Practical Parenting notes

Notes from our May mtg, with guest speaker Tracey Johnson of Practical Parenting

Practical parenting is on FB - Like it!

Tracey is the mother of two children, an 8 year old and 5 year old, one biological and one adoptive

Here are rough notes from her talk on talking with kids about sex:
  • self concept and self confidence are essential for a child/person to feel at peace with themselves
  • name all the parts of your body without "funny" names - makes it less weird, inculcate your kids to sexual abuse, reduce vulnerability by having language to talk about it
  • perpetrators pick kids who aren't comfortable with their bodies or lack self esteem/confidence...they test until they think they won't tell an adult, it's the kid who doesn't know enough/better who gets abused
  • explain what private means - just for you - parts are permanent
  • discussed prudeness/discomfort level of others - parents set their own personal/cultural boundaries for what is acceptable - there is no "right" level of exposure nudity
  • share birth stories - child thought all moms had to be "sewn up" since their mom had a c-section - talk about it from the get go - book called "it's not the stork"
  • don't dodge questions - kids who can understand aren't too young to learn - rather fumble with a two year old than get blushy with a two year old - be matter of fact "does it hurt? yes!" we were built to fit together like a puzzle
  • 8 1/2 yo is suddenly grossed out by parents kissing - totally normal
  • discussed media influence - once you tween/teens are on FB, make sure to friend them and post/check-in regularly - others with moderate themselves if a parent is paying attention
  • kids are very curious about different families
  • kids learn self concept about age 3 - start to play more gender specific roles/play ask questions to explore and differentiate - one daughter was a total princess at age 7 and a year later she's a total tom boy who has "banned pink"
  • they are just figuring out who they want to be - indulge them to some degree
  • sex play is normal, playing doctor is OK as long as the kids are the same age - track/engage closely - mitigate if needed, explain that you don't share private parts - ask them to get clothes back on to talk some more, answer their question (maybe read a book) - set limits for future play
  • one parent shared how their 6yo son one minute doesn't want them to look at his penis and then five minutes later is jumping around naked, there is a new awareness
  • is bathing together OK? Yes, usually they start to want their own privacy and there is no need to set any age limit, just a simple policy of no touching private parts
  • use bath time as a small conservation about what OK with private parts - kids don't bathe with other adults
Stranger danger:
  • make plans together for what happens if you loose each other
  • ask kids to find women in the store (much less likely to abuse) or a mommy with kids
  • have kids ask for their own stickers at the checkout line - if they are too shy to ask for a sticker, they won't be comfortable asking for help
  • most dogs are friendly, but always ask the owner first
  • explain that some grown ups don't know the rules about kids and how to keep them safe - if an adult ever makes you feel unsafe, tell me immediately
  • sometimes it's just a funny feeling - it's important to listen to your body and let me know
  • don't leave with another adult - a trust worthy adult would call me
  • doctors are OK - they are a safe place
  • recommended book - protecting the gift
  • don't get in a car or go home or get off the bus
  • just because you've met them before, doesn't mean it's OK - there is only a small circle of friends who it's OK, and they would call mommy/daddy
  • sleep overs - review safety rules, don't climb out windows, no knives, private parts - no touching, more details as they get older - even when it get embarrassing (maybe for both of you)
  • playgrounds - kids will let their guard down because it feels like a safe zone
  • no one should make it scary - you know your kids
  • set boundaries - make them earn your trust to gain responsibility
  • 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused, 1 in 7 boys - 70% is from within family or acquaintances
  • the long term impact of abuse is HUGE and deep
  • make kids comfortable with their bodies early - more likely to have positive adult sexual relationships
  • define stranger - someone mom and dad doesn't know
  • strangers are like dogs - you can't tell until you are introduced, and it's important that parents are with you when you meet them
  • different cultures have different views - explain/discuss them as they arise
  • when is OK to let your child walk to school? - as with all parenting, you set your limits and decide your personal/family boundaries
  • cell phone - limit access, lots of pros and cons, convenience and safety at a point, creates a much bigger world - kids don't look at each other...they are on their "phones"
  • media - keep them gently aware, help them make choices
  • limiting screen time makes them less vulnerable
  • comfortable and confident kids make happy and safe kids

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