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Old 01-15-2011, 07:56 PM   #1
Exer
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Are you afraid of children?

The title is a little bit misleading, but I just couldn't for the life of me figure out how to phrase it. What I'm basically wondering is this; have you ever moderated your honest behavior around children, due to fear of being falsely accused of something?

I had come across a comment on another site, posted by a woman who said one of her "rules" of life is NEVER leave a child alone with a man. I just found that to be incredibly sad and insulting. I don't know anything about her. I don't know anything about what she may have experienced in her life ... but I wouldn't be comfortable being ANYWHERE near her or her children if that is the way she thinks.

In fact, if I knew her opinions beforehand, I wouldn't even want to live in the same neighborhood, for fear of being accused of something that I didn't do.

It reminded me of an experience I had about 8 years ago. My mom works at an elementary school, and they were very short on staff. They started asking for some temporary volunteers for lunch/playground attendants. It was only 10 hours a week, so my mom called me up and asked if I would be willing to help out. I told her I'd be glad to, and the next day I was called in to meet the principal.

Long story short, without saying it outright, she ends up telling me that a 22-year old guy would be more trouble than it was worth, saying that I would be a "distraction" to the young ladies of the school. I left feeling angry and more than a little insulted and told my mom to never bother asking me to help out with that school ever again if that was the way they treated a person who only wanted to help.

The world is getting crazy ...

I'm 11 years older than my little brother. He's been living with me for about 7 years. When he was 16, one of his female best friends got kicked out of her home, and I remember the day my brother asked me if she could move in. I had to tell him no, and I knew how hurt he was about it. I remember explaining things to him ... telling him that I knew she'd be safe here. He knew she'd be safe here, and she knew she would be safe here ... but it would only take one wild accusation by someone -- like an angry parent who is pissed about someone taking their child in, even though they kicked the child out in the first place -- to pretty much ruin my life. I couldn't even take the risk, and how sad is that?
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:23 PM   #2
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I have had male co-leaders for my Girl Scout Troops occasionally and they have done REMARKABLE jobs! I never had a parent object. however one of the things that is done in Scouting (the Girl side, the Boy side makes TONS of mistakes), is make sure no child is ever alone with any ADULT.

and yes, I modify my behaviour around kids, clean up the potty mouth, don't tell risque stories and so on
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:02 AM   #3
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Exer, that’s one of the saddest things indeed. I’m always stunned how the deeds of a very very small minority of men can have such an influence over the life of the majority of the families. But they have. As a parent you are aware that there are men who misuse children and you want to protect your children. That doesn’t always work out well for the children, who don’t grew up as freely as they should.
When I was a kid we children played outside alone since a very young age, I guess we were about four years old. Nowadays they are shepherded much longer, many parents here still accompany their kids when they are ten years or older.
Or children need to touch and embrace. Not actively forced from the adult’s side, but they will come themselves to cuddle and snuggle. And they will not only cuddle with mom and dad, but with the uncle or aunt or grandfather or grandmother, too. On the other side you know that most cases of misuse are done within the family or the near neighbourhood. So you instinctively start watching a little bit, if you want or not, at least once in your life, although you’re trusting your brother, your father, your friends…
And children are the most confident creatures you can imagine. But you have to strip that confidence from a very young age. I think, almost every child learns as soon as it can listen not to trust to strangers, to people who present them chocolade or other gifts. And they don’t understand a word. It is really really sad that they can’t grew up with their normal sense of confidence.
Refering to the woman that inspired your post – I am convinced that children are missing a lot when they never can be alone with a man. Over the years I had four male friends regularly helping me with babysitting (it was a friendly turn, not a paid job) and they were all great and treated my daughter in a way that I as a mother could never have done.
I think the majority of men is worth every faith you can put in them, but there is this small minority that lets you act overcautiously and a little bit paranoid. You are right, the world is getting crazy…
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:59 AM   #4
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I can completely understand your fear. It's unfortunate, but if I were male, I would probably feel the same way. I have a friend of mine who was accused of flashing after 2 girls caught him taking a leak, in what he thought, was a private spot. Had he realised that anyone was around he would have waited, but one of the girl's dad was a local cop. This guy ended up in jail and is now has to register as a sex offender. When I had heard that he was registered, it didn't make any sense to me, so I asked him. He told me his story and how it has ruined his life. I feel bad for him. What guy has never taken a leak outside when they thought no one was around? There is nothing offensive about this man. Heck, one time a few of us were talking about strip clubs and he was appalled at what the girls were doing. He just couldn't believe it and had to leave. If he was a flasher he would at least appreciate a little sleaze.
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Old 01-16-2011, 09:02 AM   #5
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It's an unfortunate fact of life these days.
Once upon a time it was ok to ask a child if they were lost/why distressed; but these days I find it harder, but that's not just me, also my wife....
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:36 AM   #6
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It's an unfortunate fact of life these days.
Once upon a time it was ok to ask a child if they were lost/why distressed; but these days I find it harder, but that's not just me, also my wife....
I came across this article that was written a few days ago. It seems that a lot of people have similar thoughts these days. I'm the same way, I can barely even bring myself to smile at a kid these days, for fear their parents will think I'm some kind of creep.

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Or children need to touch and embrace. Not actively forced from the adult’s side, but they will come themselves to cuddle and snuggle.
My mom works in Special Education, and they've been given very strict rules about how and when they are allowed to touch the students. They aren't allowed to hug, or pat them on the back or put an arm around their shoulders. Which is really strange considering some of these kids are completely immobile and need diaper changes and such. You would think if a simple pat on the back was too risky, actually needing to undress the kids should require signed approval by the President.

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I have a friend of mine who was accused of flashing after 2 girls caught him taking a leak, in what he thought, was a private spot.
That is just crazy. That is the sort of thing I'm terrified about; false accusations or being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I remember once I was parked in my car eating a slice of pizza, when a swarm of cop cars surrounded me. Turns out they were looking for a bank robber that matched my exact description (black hair, hat, goatee). Even though they only talked to me for a few minutes, it was a chilling reminder that INNOCENT people get accused of things all the time, and the burden would have pretty much been on me to prove I wasn't guilty.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:12 AM   #7
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I came across this article

I had to laugh ...

Quote:
Last February, a woman followed a man around at a store berating him for clutching a pile of girls' panties. "I can't believe this! You're disgusting. This is a public place, you pervert!" she said—until the guy, who posted about the episode on a website, fished out his ID. He was a clerk restocking the underwear department.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:14 AM   #8
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My mom works in Special Education, and they've been given very strict rules about how and when they are allowed to touch the students. They aren't allowed to hug, or pat them on the back or put an arm around their shoulders. Which is really strange considering some of these kids are completely immobile and need diaper changes and such. You would think if a simple pat on the back was too risky, actually needing to undress the kids should require signed approval by the President.
This seems to be another sad example that the overcautiousness often does more harm than good to those it is actually meant to protect. It would help the kids so much if they would get hugs, pats, embraces...
I hope your mom loves her job nevertheless. I show the deepest respect for everyone working with handicapped children.
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:00 AM   #9
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Its not just men. I'm female, but I'm also a homosexual. And I would be just as much at risk where I live as a man would be if he were discoverd alone with a child. It is helpful to me that I don't actually like children and have no occasion to be around them, but it could cause problems for my partner and I if we did.
I'm not an activist about my sexual orientation and I hate to see it politicized, but I can definitely relate to the sadness of the issue. With all the kids out there who need mentors and guardians how many people (for whatever reason) have to self-select themselves as ineligible to help because of all the trouble it could cause.

Last edited by astrangerhere; 01-17-2011 at 10:02 AM. Reason: spelling >.>
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:23 AM   #10
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I've been blissfully unaware of these prejudice until now. I guess that the situation in Bulgaria/Germany is somewhat more relaxed on the matter.
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Old 01-17-2011, 02:12 PM   #11
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I'm a mother of 2 boys and have been abused myself (by both a man, a woman, and 2 teenage boys). I watch people very carefully but I don't think I go overboard. I make sure I don't leave my kids alone with ANYONE that I don't trust, whether it's male, female or another kid.

My husband is not my childrens father, but he's as close as you could get without being blood related and I have never thought twice about leaving him with my boys, even before we were married. My husband loves babies and toddlers, he laughs and makes faces at them when we're out and so far I haven't had a problem with anyone giving him dirty looks. I've had many men talk to my kids on the elevator in my building, to say hi or ask how they like school and only once was I ever concerned. The guy that I had a problem with knelt down to them and was about 6 inches from their faces and just the look in his eyes made me feel sick. At that point I didn't care if I was being rude, I stepped in between and told him not to even breathe in my childrens direction or he was going to lose his teeth.

What bothers me in today's world are the amount of girls/women that make false claims just so they can get attention or revenge. I've heard so many stories from men about their ex girlfriends talling police they hit them or assaulted them when it wasn't true. It makes me sick to know how many women/kids are out there that feel like they can't speak out and these b**ches get away with putting innocent men in jail because they didn't want to be with a psycho anymore.

There are some really screwed up people out there, you just have to trust your own instincts.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:38 PM   #12
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I'm a mother of 2 boys .........I've had many men talk to my kids on the elevator in my building, to say hi or ask how they like school and only once was I ever concerned. The guy that I had a problem with knelt down to them and was about 6 inches from their faces and just the look in his eyes made me feel sick. At that point I didn't care if I was being rude, I stepped in between and told him not to even breathe in my childrens direction or he was going to lose his teeth..........

What bothers me in today's world are the amount of girls/women that make false claims just so they can get attention or revenge. .........It makes me sick to know how many women/kids are out there that feel like they can't speak out and these b**ches get away with putting innocent men in jail because they didn't want to be with a psycho anymore.

There are some really screwed up people out there, you just have to trust your own instincts.
I think you're very wise to stand up for you kids. Bravo.
My sister and I were in a bad situation when we were kids. Only a few years back I heard from my aunt that, at the time, they all said in the family: o, those poor kids! (meaning my sister and me). That made me sad and wish they had spoken out at that time.

At my daughter's school, quite a few years back; the headmaster had to leave, while some parents had started a rumour about him molesting some children. And it wasn't even true. We knew that man. Complete nonsense. But they ruïned his life; he had to move.

Yes, there're a lot of strange people around.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:38 PM   #13
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I keep up with the Free Range Kids blog, and they point out that there's an increasing insistence that all adults, and especially all adult males, are inherently dangerous to kids, and probably perverts, and that all touching of children (including by other children) is sexual and needs to be prevented.

It's ridiculous. And then they're shocked when late high school or college-age kids commit atrocities, because of course they should learn how to treat strangers, teachers & co-workers respectfully and politely, despite not being allowed any social contact outside of their immediate family or tightly-supervised peer groups for the last couple of decades.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:03 PM   #14
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poor American children, they have no Idea what a Kinder Surprise is....
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Old 01-17-2011, 10:47 PM   #15
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Well, I teach kindergarten, and even if I keep my hands off the children, they don't always keep their hands off me! I have had children---often---just come up and fling their arms around me for a hug. I have had them crawl onto my lap if I am sitting close enough. I often have to hold their hand if we are going down the stairs because some of them aren't too steady

That said, with my older students, I definitely do not get them doing those things, and I definitely do not initiate. As far as hard-core rules, the only thing we have been specifically told is that if a child has a bathroom accident, we don't have to change them. Usually, we do---they wear uniforms at our school and there is a cupboard full of spares, and none of us really want to leave a kid sitting in that if we don't have to. But the school 'policy' is to call the parents and ask them to come and change their kid. If we do find ourselves in a situation where we assisting with such a thing, we've been told to leave the bathroom door ajar so we are not alone with a child, and I know our two male teachers are especially cognizant of this.

I had one situation where it was after school and I was running after-care. We had a child that year who was chronic with this sort of thing, and it came up during my day to do this. Our admin was thankfully still there and she stayed with me while I helped him change, but if she had not been there---since it was after hours and other teachers were not around---then yeah, in that case, I am afraid I would have let him sit in it. I am just not comfortable with that sort of situation to be on my own with it. And everybody---even the child's mother---would have understood that and not been upset.
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