Outrage of the Weekend: Eek! A Male!

Hi Free-Rangers — Speaking of our growing terror of anyone with a Y chromosone, read this:

My husband, who taught kindergarten Sunday School, is no longer allowed to help out with the preschoolers.  At all. Why?  A child fell down and hurt herself, and while comforting her he gave her a kiss.  On the forehead.  And apparently another parent saw this and assumed he was some sort of sicko.  A month earlier he had a child in his class pass out napkins before snack and she went home and told her parents that she was the special helper in Mr. X’s class.  They switched their child’s class.  99% percent of parents loved him, because of a couple of paranoid parents, and a church afraid of being sued, everyone is suffering.  The kids come up to him and ask why he isn’t their teacher anymore.  What is he supposed to say?

95 Responses

  1. I feel pretty bad for the parent in this one. What a shame. I’m just not sure what people are thinking anymore.

    On another note… there was just a commercial for some front door lock that when your kid comes home from school it will send you a text message so you know they walked in the house.

    *sigh*

  2. Ridiculous. And so very sad.

  3. This is why I wear dresses every where I go. Maybe I should shave my beard too…
    Seriously though, this is ridiculous. What happened to talking to people. “Hey what’s with kissing my daughter on the forhead?..Oh, you’re a parent too and…”
    It’s like it’s the 50s again or something.

  4. I’m seething…in church, no less…

  5. He should tell them that their parents are too scared by what they see on TV to think straight.

    The whole concept that having a y chromozome makes you a child molester reminds me of a joke I read on the net.

    A man and his wife go to their weekend getaway in the mountains where the husband likes to fish and the wife likes to read the husband came home early one day from fishing and went to bed the wife decided now would be her chance to go out on the boat and read.
    so she did
    she didn’t know the lake very well so she just layed anchor anywhere and began to read, along came a game officer and asked her “what are you doing?”
    “reading” said the woman
    “this is a restricted fishing area”
    “but i’m not fishing”
    “that may be true but you have all of the equipment so i will have to take you in”
    “if you do that i will charge you with rape” the woman says
    “but i didn’t touch you”
    “this may be true but you have all of the right equipment”

    The assumption that every male is a rapist/kidnapper/child molester is killing the role of an adult male in the US. When I am in public, I’ve gotten weird looks for giving MY OWN SON a hug. just sad.

  6. So sad. We really can’t afford to lose such good male role models. And in church no less…

  7. Just today I was scolded by a police officer for “appearing to solicit a minor” and “endangering my children”. There was a kids carnival/fair here in Honolulu and there were pretty long lines for the bathrooms and I really had to go to the restroom, but I had my 3 and 1 year old along. Normally I would just take them in and put them on the changing station where they could sit while I did my thing, but the bathrooms were just packed and I knew the changing stations would be full to. So when it was about my turn I saw a girl come out of the women’s restroom right next door, maybe 13 or 14. She seemed like a nice enough girl so I asked her if she wanted to make five dollars really quick. I asked if she could give me 2 minutes of babysitting so I could go inside really quick. She said fine. When I came out to get my kids, less than 2 minutes later, I was scolded by a police officer for leaving my children with a minor girl that I spoke to while she was “in or around a women’s restroom”. He told me if I didn’t have my kids with me he would arrest me on the spot. I wanted to say if I didn’t have my kids with me he wouldn’t be talking to me, but I guess I was frustrated and intimidated and a little scared. I am still angry about it though.

    As for kissing, you should see the looks I get in public when I kiss my daughters owies better. I just want to scream “it’s her elbow stupid and it’s bleading!”

    Love your blog =)

  8. This is what I’ve always worried about . I love kids. You say the “wrong thing, you do the “wrong” thing, you’re screwed.

    I chaperone at my daughter’s high school events. I really really like teenagers (yea, I know, call me nuts but the kids at her school are awesome. Unusually well behaved for teenagers, delightful kids) and I enjoy talking to them. I called one I know “sweetheart” the other night, just a nice term of endearment. I’d better watch out, right?

    Ridiculous…

    I’m sorry for your husband. Paranoia seems to know no bounds these days.

  9. I should add my gender is female and I don’t call the boys sweetheart.

  10. If you get a chance, read the blog on the above website and check out the link from the blog on fears parents have. In response to it, one of my parents sent me the link to your site. I will be linking to your site and hopefully, if enough of us start to speak up parents may be able to relax and not live is so much FEAR. The site I found listed the top 5 fears, and then explained how to deal with them and the fears were usually not worth being afraid of. It is mostly due to the extreme press coverage of a few really bad things that happen to children.
    We had a case like what you explained at my church and I set up policies that would not allow men to work alone in classes, not because I didn’t trust the men, but to keep them safe from other parents that could accuse falsely due to FEAR.
    I am looking forward to reading your book.
    Blessings, Kahleen, director of the Mount Hermon Play School in Mount Hermon CA

  11. My husband feels this all the time when we’re in the U.S. He just likes kids but really must restrict himself.

    We live in the middle east now, specifically Dubai. In Dubai, a very multi-cultural city (95% ex-pat), it is *very common* for people to come and ruffle our daughter’s hair, play with her and her doll while she’s in the stroller, give her a little peck on the cheek, or in one case, a waiter even walked through the restaurant with her. And you know what, it’s almost always MEN who do this. Around here, it’s completely normal and quite sweet.

    Rest assured that I’m NOT subjecting my 2 1/2 year old to the clutches of molesters. We think that teaching her when strangers seem okay and when they don’t, we’re doing the best thing we can (a stranger talking to you when mommy & daddy are right there smiling = fine). A lot of these poor ex-pat guys have left their families back in their country and send money home. They just want to ruffle a toddler’s head and miss their kids. Pretty harmless . . . and in fact, sweet.

    Dubai is far from perfect but they’re far more advanced (or not as “progressed”) as we are in this respect.

  12. How awful. I hope the preschool loses all their clients over this. Just ridiculous.

  13. Kahleen,

    It sounds like the men are already losing out because of FEAR due to your policies. If you’ve had such a case, it seems the way to keep men safe from the fear of other parents would be to stick up for the men and help educate the fearful parents. Unless you’re really trying to keep your school safe from the fear of parents, rather than the men who may teach there.

  14. I just saw a youtube interview of Salman Rushdie, and he said something about the way countries reacted to the muslim uproar about those Danish cartoons which I think is relevant in this case (and many other like it).
    He said that there were two issues. The first was about the cartoons themselves. Should one publish them, etc. The second issue was the intimidation of the extremists. The way people reacted to that should be *apart* from the first issue.
    The first issue is about freedom of speech. The second issue is about intimidation and how to react to that.
    It’s a great interview. Bill Moyer interviews Salman Rushdie. It’s on Youtube. Go look it up.

    In this whole ‘Male kissing little children’s booboos’ thing, the same principles apply. You could argue about wether men have the freedom to express their normal, healthy human instinct to pick up and calm a distressed child (although it’s a no-brainer, really, if one wants to live in a free and healthy society) but the second issue is wether one allows themselves to be intimidated by a handful of idiotic extremists. What I find so incredible about these stories is how large organisations, such as schools, churches, scouts, whatever, cave under the intimidation of a handful of lunatics. Why? Ninety-nine point nine percent of people would agree that the accusations of child molestation when an adult of either sex kisses a hurt, crying child on the forehead. Why would that Sunday school ban male teachers or volunteers because of the outcry of one lunatic? Is everybody in America so afraid of being sued?

    This needs to stop. As the British could tell you, once you’ve paid Danegeld, you’ll never be rid of the Danes, and once you’ve started to be intimidated into weird behaviour, the intimidators will see this as a confirmation that you are weak and willing to accomodate them into the absurd. Fight! Lenore, you are a journalist. Write a piece about this, and not about the right of men to kiss a child, because this is a givin, but about the cowardly way institutions will cave in under the bullying of extremist weirdos’ threats of Sueing. Please.

  15. Sorry, I didn’t quite edit my above piece. I wanted to say, “ninety-nine point nine percent of people would agree that the accusations of child molestation when an adult (of either sex) kisses a hurt child, crying child on the forehead, or hugging them, is absurd. This is normal human behaviour.”

  16. While it certainly is normal human behaviour, it’s out of bounds for any man who works with children. I don’t like it either, but as a man who has worked with small children in the past, I would have been hauled over the coals had I given one of the children I worked with a perfectly innocent kiss on the forehead.

    The parent’s accusations/suspicions were completely over the top, though.

  17. that’s really sad, and I have no idea what to do about it.

    It’s a tragedy, I think, that society is becoming so paranoid, that any common courtesy like that should make a person lost their job or worse.

    I wonder what happens after a while?

  18. Okay I’m a parent of 3 kids, all under 5, i id al ittle looking up and math after reading this:

    I tried to find some actual criminal statistics on child molestation, they were hard to find, most were unverifiable claims by “child safety” sites, saying that, 1 in every 3 girls and one in every 5 boys is molested before age 18

    This is a very inappropriate figure, as according to law, a pair of 17 year old kids “going all the way” with each other, means both now count as molested. that aside, lets do some math

    1 in 5 boys, 1 in 3 girls, lets call that 1 in 4 kids ok?

    As of 2000 according to the census bureau there were 70.2 million kids in America

    70,200,000 divide by 4 = 17,550,000

    So if the above statistics were true, 17.5 million children are molester every year, even the paranoid might find that figure high, lets continue

    The cops arrest 9700 child molesters every year. Lets assume they catch, say one third? that’s 29,100 child molesters out there. see where this is going? that would mean each child molester out there, has to molest a little over 603 kids

    That sound right to you?

    Maybe you think there’s a LOT of molesters that don’t get caught? say we only catch a tenth that would still mean that each child molester in the US would have to molest 181 kids.

  19. When I was in High School, my favourite teacher was forced to resign because, after a school play, he told one of the actresses (my friend) that she was “really good and he could hardly take his eyes off her.” As in, a really good actress.

    She took it as a compliment, among many similar compliments given to her by friends and family members. So she off-handedly mentioned to her parents what the teacher had said. They freaked out, ran to the principal’s office, and that was that.

    The principal gave my teacher the choice: go through an investigation that could result in charges being pressed, or resign.

    That was that. His career was ruined because he was a man, a teacher, and kind enough to try to compliment one of his students on her acting skills.

    Steven – When I was four and under, my father was my primary care-giver. He certainly feels your pain about the bathrooms issue. Of course, where we lived, there were no changing stations in the men’s washrooms and, in many cases, it was not allowed to bring a child in there (because, you know, the only reason a man might want to bring a kid into a bathroom is so that he could have some private molesting time, right?). He would frequently have to find “nice looking women” to take me into the lady’s room for me to go, or watch me while he could go to the bathroom himself.

    We often talk about how breastfeeding moms are essentially under house arrest because it’s so difficult for them to find accommodations outside the home. We’re always hearing about moms in the US being arrested for indecent exposure just because they didn’t want to breastfeed in a dirty public washroom. Another side of the issue is for care-giving fathers.

    As a society, we want men to take care of kids and we want women to breastfeed. We just don’t want them to actually do it in reality where we can see them.

  20. James — your math is flawed. You’re calculating as if that quantity of children is molested each YEAR, when really it’s anytime between birth and age 18. That’s why your numbers seem off.

    If you divide your conclusions by 18, then you’re left with roughly 30 or 10 children per molester, which unfortunately does seem much closer to reasonable.

    I’m not sure what point you were trying to make though, so I’ll hand it back to you.

  21. @James, and in general – there are no strong numbers on yearly molestation of children, because a) it is so rarely reported as it happens, b) it occurs in series, and c) children’s memories are imperfect.

    Sexual assault resource centers and clinics are the most common places to report, and their statistics are considered inflated (due to population, not due to intent) for several reasons. However, actual police records are considered too low, as so many of these crimes are not reported.

    So the actual number of childre who are abused is likely somewhere between 1/10 – 1/4. And then you add on that children who are abused in one scenario are considerably more likely to be abused in other scenarios (polyvictimization), and the numbers get even more difficult to provide as simple metrics.

  22. THAT’S INSANE! Over the top… But not unexpected.😦 Must suck to be a guy nowadays…

  23. my husband and I teach kindergarten Sunday School together, and this is a very real fear of his. Fortunately, he’s never been wrongly accused of anything, but he is always hyper-vigilant about the interactions he has with the children we teach. He’s also the only male teacher in our (rather large!) sunday school, and the children’s director comments often that she wishes that she could get more male teachers, because the children need to see positive male role models int he church at that age, but that it’s near impossible to recruit men because they are fearful of stupidity like this!

  24. Caroline, on October 5th, 2009 at 8:19 pm Said:

    James — your math is flawed. You’re calculating as if that quantity of children is molested each YEAR, when really it’s anytime between birth and age 18. That’s why your numbers seem off.

    If you divide your conclusions by 18, then you’re left with roughly 30 or 10 children per molester, which unfortunately does seem much closer to reasonable.

    I’m not sure what point you were trying to make though, so I’ll hand it back to you.

    Caroline, you are correct, to an extent, however keep in mind that the Arrests are Yearly. the math could get FAR more complex, i was trying to simplify, unless you conclude that, molesters in jail are still molesting children somehow, you have diminishing returns, or somehow other molesters pick up the pace to keep up the average.

    and although those children have 18 years to “be” molested, most of the molesters are not going un-caught for 18+ years. the math would have to get fairly complex to actually account for these inconsistencies. and as said i tried to find a more accurate record of yearly molestations but was not able to do so.

    Also according to the DoJ Most molesters, are NOT serial molesters. Keep in mind we are talking about the number of children, not the number of times on the same child, A very large portion of molesters, have a single target, usually family member that is repeatedly violated. it is actually fairly rare for a pedophile to abuse multiple children, not unheard of, mind you, but it is the minority, By my research about 30% of pedophiles molest 2 or more children, Less than 5% molest more than 8 children

    If you want more info feel free to E-mail me Theeo123@gmail.com
    It would take more space h to site my sources, than I have used between both posts already. Suffice it to say I was a victim of such an act, and have done a LOT of research.

    The bottom line is, that fankley, there is very Very little statistical chance of your child being molested outside your immediate family

  25. This world is just crazy. 😡

  26. The church that my brother attends allows male volunteers in the nursery but they are banned from changing diapers because “our lawyers advised this to avoid problems.”

  27. What should he tell the children?

    How about the truth? Tell the childen theat ther parents hate men, because it is hate. Let the little darlings go home and ask their parents why they hate men and let their parnets be the ones who have to “explain” things

  28. Yet another great piece, Lenore. Blogged it.

    Now, more than ever, with all the divorce in this culture, kids need positive male role models, and instead, we’re teaching them that all males are predators? That any affection from a man is sick, horrible, and criminal? If anything is sick, horrible, and criminal, it’s that kind of thinking.

  29. What should he tell them? “Because a few people are afraid I might hurt one of you. I would never hurt one of you, ever. If you want to talk more about people being afraid, ask your mom or dad.” The poor guy probably didn’t even think about the kiss, for many of us parents, an innocent kiss is a natural response to pain in a child. The outrageous thing is that his church is not standing by him in telling the fearmonger in their midst to be still. The other thing he might want to think about telling them is goodbye. Why would any family want to stay in a church that is ruled by the paranoia of the few?

  30. This is on a slightly different bent to the male kissing toddler head thing but…

    When I was a young Peace Corps volunteer (in Latin America) 12 years ago, I was sent out to visit what would be my new village and home. I was sitting under a shade roof with men and a few women and the standard kids. My Spanish was poor at the time, so I was mainly observing … The little boys, under the age of 10 or so, generally were naked while the little girls usually wore panties. Mind you, I grew up in a conservative rural setting in middle America, so had a good idea of “right and wrong”.

    As I was watching the adult men would casually drape their arms around the young boys waists and stroke their genitalia. NO ONE cared, in fact, numerous men were doing this to numerous boys. An old woman, would would later become a dear friend, tugged at a little boy’s genitalia in a playful manner because it was protruding from a hole in his shorts. Everyone laughed (except me).

    Later on, I saw men and women doing similar things to little girls.

    This country is not full of perverts and the kids grow up to be well balanced adults. What is different is the perception of acceptable touch. Is there molestation and rape in that country? Of course, it exists in every nation. However, it seems that if these same behaviors were in the US, the entire village would be locked up forever and psychologists would be called in and the media would go nuts.

    Do I particularly want this to occur to my new little girl? No… But I did learn a big thing through the experience. Much of what we deem as “wrong” is not set in stone. Wrong changes with time and perception… Just as my host country may have gone a bit too far in the touching side, I feel we have gone way too far in the not touching.

  31. And what is this teaching our sons? Hey, you aren’t to be trusted, you are scum, you are all out to hurt people, especially children, you are worthless, you aren’t wanted, you are to be suspected in all things. Yeah, that ought to make healthy men.

  32. When we’re looking at the reported rates of child molestation, we have to consider what actions are being characterized as molestation. Some studies count a child receiving a spam email with sexual content as molestation.

    We have to ask whether the numbers being cited include only actual instances where a child was sexually touched or sexually threatened. I don’t think instances where a girl was whistled at or leered at should count. I was leered at frequently in high school by the boy’s gym teacher, but he never approached me, talked to me or made any threatening gestures. I just stayed clear of him and giggled with my friends about what a creep he was. I don’t consider myself molested and I definitely wasn’t scarred for life.

    I’m not in any way discounting the seriousness of child abuse, but inflating the numbers doesn’t help anyone. It just fuels paranoia.

  33. I volunteer with a friend of mine’s class in a public middle school here in our Houston neighborhood, and the first rule is you Never, Never, Never touch a kid. A handshake with a boy is marginally OK if you’ve known him for while and are proud that he has gone from “definitely going to be a gangbanger” to “might actually amount to something one of these days.” A side-hug or hand on the shoulder is felony trouble. Of course, any single male who volunteers to change a diaper while the mom is up to her ears in other issues is obviously a pervert. Not getting into the statistic wars, but I would bet that over 99% of the men who know how to change a Pamper do not find it a sexual charge, it’s just something that needs doing once in a while.

  34. My husband is an awesome primary school teacher and his principal is always flooded with requests from parents who want their kids in his class each year. He loves working with the younger kids and couldn’t imagine teaching any other age, but occasionally has to deal with narrow minded people.
    He once told me of an incident that occurred when he was traveling. He was making small talk with a woman on the plane and she asked him what he did. He told her he was a teacher and she asked which subject he taught. He said he taught grade three, and she wrinkled her nose and said “what are you, some kind of pervert?”
    Needless to say, that was the last word spoken between them during a very long flight.
    Talk about someone with her mind in the gutter!

  35. […] Skenazy of freerangekids.com (author of the terrific book by the same name) blogs "Eek! A Male!" about a man who taught kindergarten at a Sunday school, but who is no longer allowed […]

  36. Ultimately, the big problem here is that insurance companies exist for the purpose of making money for their investors, and they’ll do anything to avoid risk exposure because Wall Street demands much higher profit margins than they did in the past. Combine that with the enormous payouts made on behalf of archdioceses due to the Vatican’s coverups and everyone’s running scared for purely financial reasons.

  37. This is not going to be a popular view, but I am not fully comfortable with a grown man kissing the forehead of a child in his care, even if only to ‘comfort a boo-boo’. It seems to me, to be frank, a little immature, a little thoughtless.

    Now–and this is important–being a ‘little thoughtless’ is NOT tantamount to abuse.

    So again I think the issue lies in the response (in this case, the response of the church). Is the response over the top, paranoid, out of line with the reality of what happened? In this situation, yes, it sounds like it is, and one would like to see a more measured, thoughtful response.

    I have cared for a number of children over the years, not professionally, but informally as an aunt and parent. To be honest, I have never felt compelled to kiss a child as a way of showing concern for any pain or difficulty that they were having.

    The reality–sad though it is–is that men in our culture do commit more acts of aggression–of all kinds–than women, and young men have to learn, and most do learn, to behave in more circumspect ways than women and girls, generally, have to. Particularly men who work with children have to learn, and have had to for many years–this is not unigue to our times–that in working with women and kids they need to behave in controlled ways.

    Sometimes I think that adhering to what many think of as old-fashioned manners really helps. I mean, one would not kiss an adult without permission, right? Why assume that kissing a child is OK?

  38. “This is not going to be a popular view”

    You are certainly correct; that is the only part of your comment with which I agree. That poor, perverted, out of control man should know better than to give a hurt child in his care a kiss on the forehead, because men in our times are forced to behave in a more circumspect manner than women? And that makes the insinuation acceptable? Slowly but surely, “our times” have painted all males with the same Brush of Nefarious Intentions.

    If a woman worked outside the home in the ’50s, she was ostricized for stepping outside her assigned gender role. That’s what is happening to men now, and it’s just as unacceptable. But like women working outside the home, it might just take men ignoring society’s expectation en masse to change it.

    For the record, we kiss boo-boos in our house, and will continue to do so. We also make our daughter’s friends brush their teeth when they sleep over, whether they want to or not. When adults stay over, no, we do not make them brush their teeth. Nor do they get a bedtime story, or night-night hugs, or offers to call parents if they get scared in the middle of the night (well, unless they ask!). Children and adults – vive la différence! 🙂

  39. @wellcraftedtoo.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the majority of men are NOT aggressive and DON’T act criminally. Therefore, why is it reasonable to expect the majority of men to curb their perfectly normal behavior because “men commit more acts of aggression”? Wouldn’t it make more sense to encourage those men to behave normally and comfortably, so as not to reinforce the idea that any man who isn’t already a monster is just a ticking time bomb? Instead of isolating every man in his own personal bubble of circumspection, let’s teach our children to say, “I don’t like that, please don’t touch me that way,” when they feel uncomfortable, and then trust THEM to decide if that forehead kiss is out of line. Tell them it’s okay to SHOUT, “DON’T TOUCH ME LIKE THAT!” if someone is making them uncomfortable.

    I’d have liked to see a more measured and thoughtful response, too, but from the parent in question. This incident should not have effected church policy at all. The mother in question could have politely told the man, “In the future, please don’t kiss my child, it makes me uncomfortable.” Chances are a guy who volunteers to help with preschool Sunday would have complied without argument. Your aggressive types don’t usually end up teaching Sunday School.

    One doesn’t usually comfort an adult that’s fallen, but it is a normal and mannerly response to comfort a hurt child.

  40. @neener. Exactly!

  41. I work in the education system and unfortunatly we hear things like this all time. I feel we need MORE male role models for todays children that actually deserve to be looked up to, as it sounds with this gentleman.

  42. So tragic. Kids need good male role models who show compassion. This is really stupid. Those poor kids who will now not have this caring man in their lives.

  43. “To be honest, I have never felt compelled to kiss a child as a way of showing concern for any pain or difficulty that they were having.”

    This says something about you, and it’s not flattering. I mean — really!? Who doesn’t kiss boo-boos? Do you even have children? Do you like them?

  44. boggles the mind, i tell ya. cursed be my Y chromosome

  45. My husband is one of those affectionate dads that loves to help out and give comfort when he sees a child in need. It saddens him that he has to hold back so as not to be thought of as a “kid toucher.” Women have free range to give love and comfort but men have to stand on the sidelines.

    Sad really.

    JMC

  46. Not kiss a young child’s forehead to comfort them when they’re hurt? I definitely have to disagree with wellcraftedtoo. I would consider that kiss a very normal and appropriate way to comfort a young child.

    We recently moved away from a school that I just loved. One of the best things was the Dad’s Club. It gave the fathers a way to be involved. They hosted various events at the school, such as Donuts with Dads (there was a mom version too) and gave out fruit and stickers on Walk to School Day. It was great.

  47. E.Simms – I would like to see some evidence of a conviction of child molestation based on “Some studies count a child receiving a spam email with sexual content as molestation”

    The numbers used by the DOJ, and the numbers that I used, come from the Crimes Against Children Research Center, which uses clearly articulated statistical data based on charges, and documents the +/- range in their statistics.

    On some sites, namely those selling a product, you’ll find inflated statistics (1.8 million kidnapped a year, etc.), but not from the DoJ or from me.

    http://www.communitywatch.us/resources.htm

  48. This is not going to be a popular view, but I am not fully comfortable with a grown man kissing the forehead of a child in his care, even if only to ‘comfort a boo-boo’. It seems to me, to be frank, a little immature, a little thoughtless.

    Immature and thoughtless to do what mommies and daddies (and little kids themselves) do all the time, show affection?

    I have cared for a number of children over the years, not professionally, but informally as an aunt and parent. To be honest, I have never felt compelled to kiss a child as a way of showing concern for any pain or difficulty that they were having.

    You never kissed your own niblings’ booboos to make them better? (And they never asked you too?) You never kissed your own children when they fell down? Really? REALLY?

    That’s sad. That is, in fact, one of the saddest things I’ve read in a long time. Did you hug them? Let them sit on your lap? Anything…?

    Sometimes I think that adhering to what many think of as old-fashioned manners really helps. I mean, one would not kiss an adult without permission, right? Why assume that kissing a child is OK?

    I don’t think kissing your child is newfangled. I think, in fact, that it’s one of the most oldfashioned (and wonderful!) parts of being around kids, that they’re open with affection.

    I was raised, incidentally, to know that if I visited my family I was expected, As A Little Belgian, to kiss on the cheek as they all do over there as a greeting, as a matter of course. Nobody explicitly asks permission anymore than one asks permission to shake hands. But that’s tangential.

  49. there’s a reason why the Wiggles are always shown with their hands up in a “we’re no 1” position when they have kids in their shots with them – to avoid lawsuits of inappropriate behaviour with kids. The Wiggles for pity’s sake! If all kids learn is to distrust all men… the world is that much sadder place.

    My husband’s been accosted by security when one of our kids has had a melt down and he’s been trying to soothe the child or prevent them from hurting themselves. He’s been damn lucky that the kids have always said “he’s my daddy” and he hasn’t had to come find me to rescue him from security’s overworked paranoia, but it was real close once and another time, the security guard followed him out to our car and wrote down the license plate number and nearly called it in until I walked up behind him and loudly said “that’s my child is with their father!” Come on. Can’t a parent be MALE anymore? Or teacher? It can’t be that wrong to soothe a hurt or scared child if you’re male, now can it?

    Children need both women and men around them growing up. If men are too scared to do anything with kids what if a child is lost and hurt? Who will search for them? Most of the people that volunteer for search and rescue are men. Most police officers are men. Most firefighters are men. If kids are taught not to trust men, then they’ll never come out of a forest alive, never go to the police for help and never listen to a firefighter when their lives are in danger!

  50. It is perfectly normal, natural, and appropriate to comfort your *own* child with a kiss to the forehead. It is NOT appropriate to do so with somebody else’s child, unless you’re very close with them and their family. I can’t see why people are having so much trouble making that distinction.

    I would not consider it appropriate if somebody was to do it to my child, and I would not consider it appropriate for myself to do it do somebody else’s child.

  51. This is the sad reality! Parents need to be aware , but the fear created by the sex offender, child molestation laws have grown rampant , limitless and vast. As these laws progress many parents are cheering but , do they really know what’s at stake? The male population “IS” besieged and must take precaution, even the slightest accusation under these laws have devastating life altering results, children are not immune, either!

    The Vera Institute of Justice, “The Pursuit of Safety: Sex Offender Policy in the United States”, discribes in this report that 1 in 160 males are now registered as sex offenders in the U.S.
    Why I am getting concerned : A young man 15 in Michigan foolishly wraps his arms around a girl from behind and unintentionaly brushed her breast , was charged with 2nd degree sexual assault and registered, A man grabs the arm of a girl to scold her for walking out in front of his car, is a registed sex offender, any sexual contact = sex offender , consensual sexual behavior with a peson below the age of consent, devised in your state = child predator. Brandon 17 is sentenced to 60 years in Texas’ prison for an underage relation, http://www.freebrandon.com , It’s the law? Yea, I’m concerned for the males in our country! Really concerned!

  52. RobC: Wow – hope your kid never spends the night with mine and has a bad dream or falls off the bunk or something. Something requiring one or both of us to run upstairs, see a crying child, call to the child from (our approved location) across the room that everything will be okay (while we of course never rush to hold, hug, or otherwise comfort that child with anything beyond words from across a room – you know, a kiss on the forehead being inappropriate and all).

    Again, I’ll stick with my affectionate, demonstrative, SAFE, loving house where children ARE treated differently than adults, and we will continue to refuse to cave to the man-fear. Growing up, those were my favorite friends’ houses to visit, as my own home was one of no touching unless, of course, I was being molested. I needed to experience “good touch” and still thank God for friends’ dads who showed me what healthy affection looked like.

    What bothers me most about this entire debate is the way some people are sexualizing a kiss to a child’s forehead!

  53. neener, I don’t think they’re “sexualizing a kiss to a child’s forehead”, I think they’re expressing legitimate views on what is an appropriate boundary.

    Would I complain if it was my kid? No, but I’d pay attention, because it does show a disconnect with our social climate, and where there is one boundary being pushed, there may be others. And, it doesn’tt matter if it’s a female or a male teacher – I’d have the same response.

  54. Really RobC? My doctor high fives, pats on the back, hugs and even kisses my kids. When my 19 month old (at the time) fell down in his exam room, he quickly picked him up, look at his head (he had hit it), said, “oh, this one doesn’t really need my attention”, kissed the little red spot” and put him down. He does this because his passion is the health and well-being of all children, big or small. My kids love him. I know him, since having him as a doctor, outside of the practice and this man lives his beliefs, period. He doesn’t walk one way and talk another. I value his medical advice more for this reason, I know he truly cares. I would be sad if someone told him he should not love children and show them the compassion that we are missing in this day and age.

    Of course, I grew up in a time where teachers would hug a crying child, doctors knew each child’s name, a police officer could come to the school just to give out stickers and let you see his badge, and the ice cream man wasn’t a child molester with a bell.

  55. I think he was definitely treated unfairly. I wonder though if he has considered the fact that this was the Lord’s way of telling him he was in the wrong ministry. Sometimes the ministries we like helping with are not the ministries we are supposed to be helping with. Hopefully, he will take this time to pray and see where his talents might be better utilized. In that case, he could truthfully tell the children that he is taking a break to see where God wants to use him next.

  56. I meant to say maybe it was the Lord’s way of telling him something, not that it definitely was.

  57. I was definitely scared for my daughter, so I did a little research on how to keep her safe. These are the steps we’re taking:

    1. No contact with any family members. Statistically speaking, they are the most dangerous.

    2. No church, or religious groups. You think schools are a hotbed of pervy men? Try the church!

    3. Never use the same babysitter more than once. If you’ve read about “grooming”, you know it takes some time.

    4. No personal attachments of any kind. See item #1.

    5. Also, just to be extra careful, I use chopsticks when I change her diaper. You never know.

  58. This entire website is one big dedication to disconnecting from our social climate! 🙂

    When one sees a simple kiss to the forehead of a distressed child who is in his/her care as crossing a boundary, I fail to see how one is not sexualizing the kiss. The boundary exists because of the perception that it will lead to something more nefarious, right? (I mean, this isn’t some random guy walking down a random street, grabbing kids left and right and giving them long and slobbery kisses on their mouths, right?) What about putting a hand to the child’s forehead? Wiping away tears? Checking a head bump? Is that okay? If it’s not, then that’s because all touch is bad. If it is okay because there are no lips involved, then that is sexualizing the kiss.

  59. MikeT wins the thread! LOL!

  60. Although this blog discussion has ended I have to throw in a final, belated word.

    I understand that a new translation of the Bible is coming out in which Jesus says:

    Suffer the little children not to come unto me, for lo, I am the wrong gender.

    My church changed its nursery policy to exclude men because of * what visitors might think.* Now that I see this issue as part of a wider cultural pattern of discrimination, I feel a letter to my elders coming on. What I want visitors to KNOW is that our church is full of wonderful men who love kids.

  61. I feel we need a new movement for this topic- Free-Range Men!

  62. This makes me so sad. I have worked at large churches and although we have safety procedures, we are always wanting more men to be godly role-models for children, especially the younger ones. Not only are churches trying to protect the kids, they are also trying to protect themselves from being sued. The latter fear is what I believe drives behavior like this.

  63. “Wow – hope your kid never spends the night with mine and has a bad dream or falls off the bunk or something. Something requiring one or both of us to run upstairs, see a crying child, call to the child from (our approved location) across the room that everything will be okay (while we of course never rush to hold, hug, or otherwise comfort that child with anything beyond words from across a room – you know, a kiss on the forehead being inappropriate and all).”

    neener – the way you’ve been carrying on and blowing out of proportion everything people have said that you don’t agree with, I hope the same thing. My kids have enough drama queens in their lives, they don’t need another one.

  64. And I haven’t been ‘sexualising’ anything, so get a grip.

  65. You know, the funny thing is, it doesn’t seem that the kid felt uncomfortable about this. It doesn’t even seem that the PARENTS of the kid felt uncomfortable about this. It is some other random person who was uncomfortable. So because of some random person who has NO part in the situation, he can’t teach Sunday School?

    On kissing kids, I’ll admit to doing that quite often at the preschool where I worked, just on the top of their heads. I picked it up in Ecuador where you kiss everyone, including the guy you just meet, on the check. It is normal and just became habit. No one has ever said anything to me, but I’m a girl so I guess that makes it ok.

    And on men and kids, it is really sad that so many kids will have absolutely no male figures in their lives. So many kids are growing up in single parent homes, usually with mom, and now men can’t be school teachers or Sunday School teachers or even innocently say hi to your kid in public because he might be bad. So now, at best the only contact kids will have with men is mom’s boyfriend, who often times comes and goes anyway. At the after-school program where I worked, out of the 40 or so kids I had, I could count on one hand the number of kids living with mom and dad. On two hands I could count the kids living with one parent and a stable step-parent or boyfriend. That leaves the LARGE majority with no male role model. And we are growing a whole generation of these kids.

  66. “So now, at best the only contact kids will have with men is mom’s boyfriend…”

    Who is, statistically, the person most likely to abuse him/her!

  67. Yeah, the more I think about this the madder I get. Men are portrayed on TV as bumbling, lazy, helpless husbands and fathers. Then in real life, they are treated as sneaky, malicious perverts. Where in the world will our children learn how to be a good man or find a good man?

    I agree with Tana. One of you men out there needs to step up and go create a blog addressing the way men are treated. I’ll subscribe to it.

  68. I went to see the latest Hayao Miyazaki film last month. While they are anime movies, if one says that Miyazaki makes only kid movies one has obviously never seen the bloody and gory “Princess Mononoke”. So I went the second to last row and sat down. A few minutes later a grandmother comes in with two granddaughters, about 5 and 7 years old. After seating them directly behind me, she then prepare to leave to get popcorn. But before she goes, she reminds them in a rather loud tone: “If anything happens, anything at all, remember to use your pepper-spray!”.

    Since she sat them directly behind me, I felt she was directing this comment at me. So I stood up, turned around and told her “Thank you very much for that helpful tip!” and left the theatre. As I was leaving I could hear her sputtering “I didn’t mean NOW!” I went to another movie with no grandmas in the theater.

    Now my problem was two-fold. First, if you are so concerned about a child’s safety that you have to arm them, then why not take them with you to the concession stand? Second, if you’ve armed these kids who have little experience or maturity and given them carte blanche to use those weapons for any reason, how do you expect them NOT to use them in benign situations? Pepper spray in a crowded theater? Come on.

  69. @ a bunch of commenters above–

    Wow, this a rather odd conversation. I didn’t even have time to read all the comments. But I stand by my assertions, and wish that some of the commenters above had read all of them, not just the first line.

    I do think it’s a bit odd for a grown man to kiss the forehead of a kid in his professional or quasi-professional care that has hurt him or herself. Sorry folks, but I do. Kissing your OWN kids who have fallen, or hurt themselves, is fine. But kids in your care?…

    BUT as I said in my comment, behaving a bit oddly is NOT the same as being abusive, sexually or otherwise, and I don’t agree with the response of the church to kick this guy out (unless they had other reasons for doing so).

    As for the questions re my personal life (really!), yes, I’ve raised several amazingly active kids who are now young adults who survived all sorts of ‘boo boos’ –and are still doing all sorts of potentially dangerous stuff–and, no, I didn’t kiss cuts and scrapes–I was too busy trying to assess the damage, and run for the Bactine, bandaids, and ice!

    Yes, I’ve cared for other people’s kids beside my own and, no, I didn’t kiss them when they were hurt, nor did I even think to–I was too busy trying to assess the damage, and run for Bactine, bandaids, and ice.

    Hey, this is starting to sound like a broken record…

    I’m married to a guy who treats desperately injured people with live-threatening injuries, so in our house we take injuries pretty seriously until we know they’re minor and kissing the boo-boo routine sort of doesn’t enter the picture.

    I’m sorry that some folks don’t like to hear that men who work with women and kids need to learn–as do women(!)– to control what might be for some men (and some women) ‘natural impulses’ (as one commenter either said or implied) to hug, kiss, touch (I don’t know who these guys are, but some commenters seem to know them), but welcome to the wonderful world of men and women.

    I don’t know where you are living, but in my world, and the foreign lands I’ve traveled to, free and UNINVITED touch, kissing, and hugging between the sexes is frowned upon, generally doesn’t happen too often, and can even–in our nation, and quite a few others–precipitate accusations of harassment or even assault.

    I thought I’d been ’round the block more than a few times–where are these places where the sexes are so free and easy?? Not in my workplace, school, university, sidewalk, neighborhood cafe, movie theatre, grocery store…

    I guess it’s shocking to say it in the 21st century, but we still live in male-dominated, patriarchal societies (wow, did I just write ‘patriarchal?) and men and boys who don’t learn these ‘unwritten rules’ run the gamut from annoying the heck out of women and girls, and becoming, shall we say, ‘unpopular’ to getting in some very hot water…

    Guess it’s the price you pay for being–still!–the dominant sex.

  70. I do have to say in defense of the poor woman getting slammed for not kissing boo-boos that this was something I rarely did either. Every family has their own way of comforting and your way does not make it the right way.

    My sister always acts like an umpire when her sons fall and get hurt. She crouches, spreads both arms and yells “safe”. They laugh, get up and start running or sit still waiting for band-aids. Those boys are not being damaged because mommy doesn’t scoop them up and smother them with kisses. They know she cares and that’s all that matters.

  71. Assuming a man has malicious intent because he’s kissed a hurt child on the forehead in full view of other adults and children just does not compute. It’s because the person assumes the kiss might be a precursor to something more. I’m just curious about the insistence from some corners that it’s all about Boundaries! and no acknowledgement of what’s suspected to be on the other side of the boundary. Like the exhortations to know where your child is 24/7 because “you never know what could happen,” this is fearmongering, plain and simple, and I don’t let it go uncontested, because I don’t like the generalized distrust to which it leads.

    MaeMae, ITA! I love the PSAs for the government’s fatherhood initiative and wish they got more airplay. My husband’s and daughter’s favorite: http://www.fatherhood.gov/media/tv/cheerleader.cfm
    (apologies for the lack of linking skills)

  72. @Dubois–Why would you assume that someone who doesn’t ‘kiss boo boos’ cannot, or does not, comfort others…? How odd….You know, there are many ways to comfort that don’t involve kissing…

    @Stephanie–Of course, I hugged, cuddled, and comforted my kids all the time–hurt or not. Still do, and, boy, the 20 year old son doesn’t always like it! But the kids of others? No, I didn’t touch them with nearly the same freedom. Do you?

    Is it me, or it this conversation really beginning to feel more than a little moronic?

    @bethan–like your point about the issue being one of boundaries, and of looking at the incident as just that–an incident that suggests heightened awareness MIGHT be called for…

  73. @Al–What a difficult, and angering, situation. You have my sympathy.

    And great choice on the movie–Miyazaki is wonderful!

  74. As a fellow clergyman shame on this pastor for bowing to this pressure. This was an opportunity to stand up for truth. It would have been better to lose those two families than to let this injustice for forward. I am outraged. and saddened by this story.

  75. On the stupid idea of keeping grown men at arms length due to the “remote possibility” of their molesting kids, what about marking males in general? Why don’t we just tattoo BAD GUY on their foreheads at birth, so everyone will know who to avoid?

    Here’s my experience: my son has Asperger’s Syndrome (very high function autism, but has difficulty understanding social cues). In order for him to learn how to interact properly with his peers, the teachers taught him to stand in front of a mirror and mimic the facial expressions he saw from his fellow classmates and to ask them how they would react if they were sad, happy, etc. It was a great learning experience for him and the other kids where very happy to help him, as it made them more aware of how they respond to situations within their social groups. It was all good, actually interacting with others and making real friendships, until one of his close friends fell and hurt herself (they were both 8 yr olds). His response? He walked over, gave her a hug and told her it was all right. The school’s response? A one day suspension for inappropriate touching, and a note placed in his school file! OMG,I was livid! And my son was so confused and hurt. he wouldn’t even hug me for a long time. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Humanity is so lost.

  76. […] Outrage of the Weekend: Eek! A Male! Hi Free-Rangers — Speaking of our growing terror of anyone with a Y chromosone, read this: My husband, who taught […] […]

  77. “Assuming a man has malicious intent because he’s kissed a hurt child on the forehead in full view of other adults and children just does not compute.”

    I absolutely agree. But nobody here is making any such assumption. All we’re saying is, when you’re interacting with a child in that particular context, kissing said child anywhere, for any reason, is not appropriate behaviour.

    But what would I know? I’ve only worked in the field which we’re discussing.

  78. All we’re saying is, when you’re interacting with a child in that particular context, kissing said child anywhere, for any reason, is not appropriate behaviour.

    And all the rest of us are asking is “Why?”

    Something a little more thought-out than “Because I think it’s not appropriate”, please.

  79. OK I can’t read anymore comments.. they are just arguments.

    What I’d like to say is that I would WANT my hurt child comforted and I do not think it’s fair to assume a man is out to molest your children.

    I actually had to smack myself last year. The old lady kindergarten teach was very sick and her replacement was a 20 something year old man. I was thinking wow, if I had a little girl in his class I’d be uncomfortable. Then I reminded myself that WOMEN molest kids too and MEN don’t only molest little girls, but quite often litte boys. Then I realized how stupid I was being and smacked myself. I did not know this man and he looked really friendly and helpful. He probably was and the kids REALLY seemed to like him.

    I rememebr when my son was in kindergarten I was nervous for him as the teachers are NOT allowed to help them with the toilet from age 4 on. My son sometimes needed help at that age. Instead I had to change his pants and underwear 2x a day because he got pee on them from school. I find that unsanitary and would have no problem with someone HELPING HIM.

    On a field trip I volunteerd o n I was in charge of my son and 3 other kids. One boy wet his pants and we did have backup clothes. My first thought sadly was that would the mom be upset I saw her son naked?

    I’m always grateful when another parent or a teacher helps my child. They usually have kids of their own too. My son was diagnosed with a form of autism at age 4 and when he was 5 his teacher said she has a daughter with it and she really had my son’s back and cared for him like her own. I’m eternally grateful for that.

    Why can’t we trust people anymore? I’m sure perverts were around 50 yrs ago, just no one talked about it as often so it seems like it’s worse now, but probably is not.

    I had a boyfriend who I found out was a pedophile (luckily never acted on it, just caught with it on his computer) years after I moved away and married someone else. Looking back I saw all the signs. Here’s a CLUE folks! This guy was a total dork. He didn’t really get involved but he would be around kids. He stole underwear from the church daycare yet he wasn’t a daycare provider! He really kept to himself.

    Listen to your instincts about people, most of them have good intentions. And thank you forehead kissing man… I’m sure you made that child feel like the owie would be ok and screw the parents! You helped the child and that’s what matters.

  80. Someone asked why we can’t trust people anymore? Well, maybe some of us have very good reason not to trust. I find it more than a bit disturbing that some of you are so quick to pooh-pooh the very real fear some parents do have of child molestation. I say tha because I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of my mothers boyfriend. When it happened to me back in 1973, people didn’t talk about such things. NO ONE supported or tried to protect me. My own mother didn’t believe me. In fact, some hinted that I ‘asked’ for it. At age 11? I don’t think so.

    So…when I grew up and became a mother myself, did I protect or perhaps “overprotect” my daughter against any men who may be potential molestors? Damn right I did…and I absolutely WILL NOT apologize for that. Based on my personal experience, I say better safe than sorry. It’s just a shame some of the people at this blog seem to have no compassion or sensitivity toward those of us who have had terrible things happen to us…and want to make damn sure it doesn’t happen to another child again.

  81. I am sorry that happened to you, Survivor. As a fellow victim I do have compassion and understand the fear. However, I chose a long, long time ago that what happened to me would not define my life. It would not take over and make me scared to do anything. I will not restrict my children because of something that happened to me 20 years ago. They deserve a chance at a normal childhood and I will let them have it. I take precautions that maybe some others don’t but I won’t let what happened to me affect my children.

  82. Wow deane, is your husband teaching my son this year? LOL

    He’s in grade 3 and he has the MOST awesome teacher, who happens to be a man. I can’t believe how narrow minded people are. Women can be anything these days – doctor. lawyer, teacher, garbage collector – but god forbid a man do something that involves children, he’ll never hear the end of it.

  83. Survivor, perhaps you need some therapy to come to terms with what happened to you and the fact that people didn’t believe you.

    If my child told me someone was inappropriate with him or her then I would never assume lying even if they were! I still think it’s fair to teach your kids to TRUST people but give them tips on when they should not. The older they get the more they will understand what you mean by that.

    Until they understand just don’t leave them alone with ANYONE you don’t trust no matter the gender of that adult. Women can molest children too!!! If you are there nothing will happen and perhaps you can heal from your bad memories and learn to trust people again. I’m sure you don’t want your children to fear everyone right?

  84. wellcraftedtoo,
    I think your issue with many poster here is you sound rather professional in your treatment of boo boos. Your significant other works with “desperately injured people with live-threatening injuries”, boo boos by definition are not that serious. Boo boos are scrapes, bumps, and bruises that happen to kids all the time, if they cut their finger off it moves out of boo boo territory.

    I have never once used or thought the phrase “assess the situation” with my kids boo boos. After reading your post here is what came to my mind, please take no offense.

    Scene in wellcraftedtoo’s house.

    Kid1 falls off swing and scrapes hand.

    Kid1: oof! ouch!

    wct: what’s wrong?

    Kid1: I fell off the swing.

    wct: Oh my goodness! We must assess the situation! Kid1 get me some ice and bactine, STAT! Also, finger tip bandages – large and small, knuckle bandages – large and small, a thermometer, and scissors, we may need to cut away the clothing! And get me . . .

    Kid1(getting up): I think I’m ok

    wct: Lay down and don’t move we must assess the situtation! Good thing I know CPR. We also need antiseptic, gauze pads, gauze rolls, ice pack, heat pack, antacids, burn relief spray . . .

    Kid2: Nobody got burned.

    wct: We don’t know that until we assess the situation! Get me an eye patch, and tweezers! A butterfly bandaid and some rubber gloves! Don’t forget . . .

    Kid1 (gets back on the swing and continues to play)

  85. @Happynat–

    No, no, silly, FIRST you assess, THEN you react.

    Or, are you too busy ‘kissing the boo boo’ to figure that out?

    Lol

    Glad my kids weren’t in your care, or could they have been…???

  86. wct,

    My point is it ‘s not a clinical process. It takes .023 seconds to “assess” a boo boo, but you claim you were “too busy trying to assess the damage, and run for the Bactine, bandaids, and ice!” You don’t have to kiss the boo boo, but you also don’t need to make it an episode of ER.

  87. I gotta agree with Nat here. Unless your kids have compromised immune systems or are hemophiliacs or something, to be too busy “assessing the damage” and then “running for bactine, bandaids, and ice!” is kinda overdoing it.

    And this is one of those situations where “I’m accustomed to more serious problems than y’all” doesn’t work. Unlike cops who overprotect because they spend their life with the dregs of society, you’re overdoing things because your experience with more serious injuries hasn’t… taught you… to easily tell a serious injury from a minor one?

    We *all* assess kid’s injuries, we just don’t all insist on calling it that. My procedure runs like this: Kid falls down or cuts themself. I tell them to come to me if they want their kiss. If they can walk to me, it’s probably not that bad. If they don’t want a kiss and run off happily, it’s probably not that bad. If they can’t get up? THAT’S bad.

    I then kiss their little boo-boo. If they’re fine, I’m fine. I’m not dragging out the frozen peas. If they’re gushing blood, I send them up to get their own bandaid. They wash it off and bandage it, and then they get their kiss because, dude, I’m not kissing blood. If they can’t handle it themselves it’s clearly more serious than I thought.

    It takes so little time and energy to see if it’s serious and even *warrants* bandaids or bactine (well, TTO here) or ice (seriously?) that I have, if I want, time to positively smother the kiddo with kisses and tickles in betweentimes.

  88. Wow, can’t believe I’m back to this blog. But while trying to get some work done (oops, sorry if that sounds ‘professional’), I realized that I really have enjoyed this blog, and most of the discussions on it, and thought that I’d made some positive contributions to it.

    I’ve seen some devolve into personal jabs and attacks, but not many. I don’t mind being disagreed with, but I don’t like the personal stuff–and the way both giving and getting it gets in the way of good discussion– and find myself wondering what it’s all about.

    It seems like there are a number of issues here really muddying the water.

    First off, it should be obvious that there are many ways to comfort a hurt or frightened child, and that posters here–of all places–should be able to state their views on that without being attacked.

    And, about the ‘assessing’ issue, gimme a break: ALL good parents and caregivers ‘assess’ the situations the kids in their care get into. Are they really hurt? Do they need assistance? What kind? How much?, and so on.

    Maybe you aren’t aware of it, or call the process by another name (got a better one?), but any caregiver with basic common sense does this, and it’s just game playing to pick this apart.

    Two situations; read them and tell me you don’t reach different conclusions with each (which means you ‘assessed’ the situation).

    A toddler in your care, in view, runs on the sidewalk, falls easily to his knees, gets up, looks over and sees you saw the fall, and then lets out a half-hearted cry.

    A toddler in your care, in view, runs on the sidewalk, falls forward, strikes her head hard on the sidewalk, gets up and looks wobbly, plops back to a seated position, and lets out a piercing wail.

    Of course you reacted differently to the two scenarios (at least, I hope so).

    So what is all this nonsense about assessing? Word play? Ah, the power of words…Come up with another if you don’t like mine.

    Finally, and this I think is the real issue running through this entire post and the comments on it.: fear. I think many of the people posting here are natural/knee-jerk/frequent ‘kiss it and make it better’ types. I’ve no problem with that (although as I said way, way up above, I do find it ‘a bit odd’ in a grown up man in a professional or quasi-professional setting).

    And I can’t help but wonder if when those folks read what happened to the guy with his church position, they can’t help but feel scared, and wonder what if that happens to me? This is sad, and a theme running through much of this blog and the comments on it: anger that so many people and organizations in our world today are so reactive and rigid, and fear and sadness that they, or a loved one, might get caught up in something similiar.

    What doesn’t help any of this is when the readers and posters on this blog themselves become reactive and rigid, and react to one another with personal snipes and snips.

  89. wellcraftedtoo — I think the issue is that you and a couple others talked about how the man in the church was crossing some type of boundary (and even if you didn’t say it, outright, you did seem to imply it when you talking about how you didn’t do it and you didn’t think it was appropriate in even a quasi-professional setting).

    The questions they keep asking, and that I think I’ve yet to see answered, are “what boundary is that? And what’s on the other side of that boundary?”

    I think, also, it’s been made pretty clear that some people are boo-boo kissing types and others aren’t. It seems, too, that there is a hidden question among those that have responded — “what do you do to comfort the children in your care?”

    Finally, it doesn’t seem to me that they’re getting hung up on the word “assess,” but rather the entire section of sentence that word is a part of:

    “and, no, I didn’t kiss cuts and scrapes–I was too busy trying to assess the damage, and run for the Bactine, bandaids, and ice!”

    A couple people have already tried to clarify that boo boos, by definition, aren’t generally serious enough to warrant ice, and often not even Bactine or bandaids, just some comfort and encouragement that it’ll be alright (this, of course, comes back to “what do you do, then, when it’s not serious enough to warrant first aid supplies?”).

  90. @dragonwolf–I like your polite tone, and your questions that address issues (and don’t attack personally), but I’m getting more than a bit burned out on this blog.

    Quick replies: The boundary crossed? Well, kissing is pretty darn close. In my world–I’m of French ancestry, but not French–it’s intimate, not necessarily sexual, but intimate, and people– in my world–for the most part kiss only those they are quite close to (those who try to kiss others they are not close to are usually swatted at and called bad names). They generally don’t kiss the children of others who are in their care…Sorry, but welcome to my world, which is actually a pretty populous place (not the French part).

    Other forms of comfort? Hugs, pats, consoling words, tone of voice, a pick-up, a cuddle, holding on lap, a reassuring word, supportive presence, distractions, a treat if needed…and, yes, medical care if needed. My kids played hard; you bet the bactine and bandaids and ice sometimes came out. (Is this a generational thing? More watching of kids today, a few boo-boos, but fewer real cuts and scraps and bruises? Perhaps…It’s also age related. Are we talking toddlers, who generally have more boo-boos and fewer serious injuries, or 10 year olds climbing trees, skateboarding, and racing dirt bikes? When was the last time you tried to kiss the boo-boo of a skateboarder? Good luck, lol.)

    Talk to any teacher, preschool teacher, daycare worker, nurse, parent who sits for others kids, coach, camp counselor; better yet, watch the good ones…people comfort kids all the time, without kissing.

    And people comfort other adults all the time, every day, without kissing.

    Are these questions for real?

    Oh, and why do people get hung up on the ‘entire section of the sentence’? Do you really want to put your mouth on someone’s cut or scrape, or have someone else put their mouth on your cut and scrape–I mean, REALLY?

    Thanks for the nicely-put questions…

  91. wellcraftedtoo – Thank you! This is what I’ve been trying to say, and it baffles me that so many people simply aren’t getting it.

  92. @Uly: And all the rest of us are asking is “Why?”
    Something a little more thought-out than “Because I think it’s not appropriate”, please.

    Thank you. I never saw the answer, either.

    For the record, we’re (assuming here!) all parents/guardians. Whatever field in which one is employed doesn’t really outrank that. Recall that this very blog was started by a mom based on a parental experience.

    @Survivor: I am so sorry for what happened to you. It happened to me, too, many times over, so I know the fear. I’ve chosen a different path in raising my daughter than you have in raising your own, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. I still get scared as hell sometimes when the “what ifs” take over. But I personally couldn’t continue to live like that – it wasn’t good for either of us. Bottom line is, you have to do what YOU can live with, get past what you can, and keep on trucking. My very best to you.

  93. wellcraftedtoo — Thank you, I learned a long time ago that personal attacks never get anyone anywhere.

    We all have our paradigms and therefore have trouble understanding other people’s points of view in many different situations. What may seem obviously wrong, out of line, crude, or whatever to some of us (such as your perception, and that of a few others, regarding the kissing thing, or the one commenter’s story about going to a Latin American country) would seem perfectly acceptable to others. It’s when one side insists that they’re “right” and the other is “wrong” in their ways, instead of working to understand, that we get the most problems, but that understanding has to go both ways to be most effective.

    Anywho, I don’t blame you for getting burnt out on this thread and I don’t expect a response at this point, so don’t feel obligated to respond.

  94. I feel for this guy. I’m a male that works with kids, and I always feel the constant “eyes” of society scratching at the back of my mind, causing me to second guess myself and my actions. Sure, that poor twelve-year old girl is absolutely overwhelmed with her huge amount of homework, but is it appropriate for me to give her a re-assuring pat on the shoulder? Is it appropriate for me to even think about giving her a re-assuring pat on the shoulder? It feels right…I mean, I want to give comfort to these kids, because they’re really the epitome of overworked and underpaid. But am I going to lose my job because of it?

  95. You should find another church immediately.

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