Protecting My Children: Arming My Children

I have had many talks with my children about gut feelings, what is good touch, what is bad touch, how to ask for help. After a boy attempted to molest my oldest child last year (I was watching, hidden from view, so my son only knows his older “friend” put a hand over his mouth before I stepped in) I have been reluctant to connect with another family. I had long prepared my children to be suspicious of adults who behave inappropriately or ask for their help finding pets. I had not imagined that danger came from another child, a predatory danger.
It is summer, they see this other family quite frequently now that we are out and about in good weather. They ask if their “friends” can come over to play. I won’t let any of that clan cross my doorstep, and if I think about it too long, the pain of it makes me want to move. I should move eventually, anyway, to a more convenient location, but I am on wait lists. I filed a report with every pertinent agency and authority, and as far as I can tell, nothing has come of it. I hope no other children are in danger from this child. I can’t worry about what I cannot control, but still. It’s about children, in my community. I am worried.
All the available literature and media that coaches children on identifying good vs bad touch centers on specific actions, there is nothing about what I witnessed, the grabbing of a child from behind and rubbing genitalia on them, while all are fully clothed. My son could not see anything. He does not know what was really going on, and I stopped it before there was such an actual contact. So I want to explain to my children over and over to trust their gut, as I found myself doing when I prevented this. When they ask if the other family can come over, I remind him of the feeling he had, and how that feeling alerted him something is wrong, and therefore his “friend” is not really his friend. I tell him that Mommy only lets nice friends in, not “friends” who make you feel sad and icky inside. I explain that no matter what someone gives you or says, that the gut feeling is there for a reason, and Mommy trusts that feeling, and he should, too. It is an alarm.
But they are so needy, emotionally, two of my children. I fear they would keep any secret, permit any wrong, to make and keep friends. They are children. They are so vulnerable. How can I trust that they will be safe, anywhere, away from me, out of my sight?


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