“I cannot say enough words of caution to single women with children: do not allow the men you are dating to have access to your children… It is hard to think that your new-found romantic interest is actually not as interested in you as in seeking access to your children, but it can be absolute reality.”
–Claire Reeves, “Childhood: It Should Not Hurt”
This applies, not only to romantic partners, but also to those that any parent may depend on to help care for their child.
Five things single parents should know & do to protect their children from being sexually abused
- Children of single parents are statistically at a higher risk to be sexually abused because they are more dependent on others to care for their child. Whether it’s a daycare service, babysitters, or relying on family and friends, the more people involved in the care of your child, the more opportunities for abuse and the more vigilant you must be.
- Be wary of anyone that offers to help care for your child – even for the shortest period of time, whether it’s by giving your child a ride to school, a short trip to run errands – even while you’re at home, even if it’s a family member. Predators will target single parents and often the idea that someone is offering to help seems like a G-d-send but turns out to be your worst nightmare.
- If you live with family, have a roommate, or your child is often in someone else’s home – be aware of who is coming and going into the home. Most of all – remember that blood-relation is not a free-pass. Incest is alive and thriving in the world today – in all socioeconomic demographics, and teens and children represent 40% of those that abuse other children.
- Be extremely cautious of anyone you date. It’s hard to believe your new romantic partner may be eyeing your child (regardless of age), but it happens so much more often than people want to accept. Even if your new partner seems very “attentive” and “loving” toward your child – keep in mind those that groom children in order to sexually abuse them often take on these exact characteristics to gain the trust of the parent & child.
- Empower your children! Reinforce their right to personal space, that YOU are their protector and that no one can threaten them or ask them to keep a secret. They may sense your level of stress in regard to finding suitable care for them, and/or your dependence on maintaining a job to support the family. Children will often “bear” the burden of sexual abuse because they are afraid that it may negatively impact their parent or family’s situation to tell. Let them know it is always the right thing to tell you, and that no matter the situation, nothing is more important than their safety.
Sections on this page have been adapted from TheMamaBearEffect.