Many of us have heard about, in some way have an opinion on, or have commented on the rape case in Steubenville, OH where two young men were just sentenced to at least one and two years in the juvenile detention facility for the rape of a classmate. Investigators put together what happened that night through a series of text messages; painting a scene that should give all of us pause and challenge us as parents and community members about the conversations we are having and not having with our kids.
We live in a world that is too often preparing the worst and not the best for our children. This incident in Ohio speaks to parenting issues, abuse of alcohol, valuing athletes over morality, the use of social media, sexual abuse, and the inability to be unpopular and right. How do we talk to our children to prepare them to not just survive but thrive in a world that has traps around every corner?
1. Be more afraid of your kids being un-equipped than you are of the issues that make you uncomfortable. They are going to get if they don’t already have bad information about stuff your afraid to discuss. Make sure they have good information to balance the foolishness they get from everywhere else.
2. Be more proactive, finding consistent spaces to have conversations about sex, alcohol, friend’s behavior, relationships, and social media vs. reacting to stories on the news or actions from your kids.
3. Tag team em’. Raising healthy kids is not something you can do successfully alone. Single parents, this is not a jab. Even the best single parents know that the help of a teacher, aunt or uncle, family friend or other helps us get the messages into our kids heads that need to be there. They may not receive from me what they do from you.
4. Empower your girls to protect themselves AND not be predators. The young lady that was rapped was drunk to the point that she doesn’t remember what happened to her. She should have never been in the position to be taken advantage of. While this doesn’t excuse the brutality of these boys, lets prepare our daughters to not be physical or emotional victims without sending them out to take advantage of boys in the name of getting over.