Continuing the Conversation Blog

Two Fearless Questions to Ask Your Child After a Playdate Thursday, June 23, 2016

You have that nagging feeling in the pit of your stomach. You allowed your daughter to spend some time with a new family, one that you’d gotten to know reasonably well, but not as well as you’d like. However, because you understand that a mama’s got to gradually let out a little more rope in a child’s life as they grow, you agreed to let her go.


Now, you’re a little unsure. You want to trust that she’ll be okay, but now that she’s there, you’re struck by MAMA FEAR.


Oh my, I’ve been there, done that, still doing it. I get it. Seven kids. I’ve had enough mama fear to make an army of zombies run for cover. I understand.


And if you’re like me, gnawing, fearful thoughts lead to a myriad of questions that bubble in your subconscious and surface the whole time your child is gone. “Is she okay? Are these people really safe? Do they really share my values? Are they watching out for her as I would? . . .”


And if you’re like me, by the time we pick our kiddo up from her playdate, we barely make it into the mini-van before our bubble damn bursts. “Were they nice to you? Did anyone hurt you? Did they show you a movie you shouldn’t watch? Who? What? Where? When? How? . . .” And our child is drowning in our soap suds of questions, feeling our fear, with no understanding of why. They can’t even respond to our questions because, well, no one can communicate with bubbles in their mouth! By the time we’ve scooped up the bubbles, by ceasing our interrogation, we have no idea what our child did at the playdate or how our child really felt about it.


Because it’s not so much what she did at the playdate that’s important. It’s how she felt about what she did at the playdate.


How she felt will give us more information about her safety than the activities she participated in. Children are feelers. And right now all she is feeling is our fear and she can’t navigate through our feelings to get to hers.


We do this as mamas. I know, because I’ve written enough fiction in my head while my children have been away from me to fill a library. Well, okay, seven libraries. I’ve also been guilty of spouting off questions rooted in my fiction and based on my fear. (True confession: I just did this the other day with one of my teens. I’m still learning.)


And when fear governs our mama questions, we lose. And so does our child.


So how does a mama develop “fearless” questions? Questions that give you the information you need to know to discern if it was a safe playdate?


The first thing I have to do is examine my fears, then, give them the boot. And the best way I’ve found to cause fear to dissipate is to put on my “mama boots”, ask a wise friend to don hers, and together wade into the fear bubbles. We pop them one at a time. And we giggle and shed tears depending on what emerges.


Admitting fear and then staring it in the face chases it away or at least tethers it to reality (CLICK to tweet this). And mama, I find reality is a whole lot easier to navigate than fiction. It’s easier to pop a contained bubble than a floating one.


Once my fears are attended to, I ask my child two questions, bob and weave with her answers, and listen closely:


What did you like most about the party?

What did you like least at the party?


Then, I allow her feelings to lead me to the reality of what her playdate was like. I allow that reality to lead me toward my decision regarding the next playdate. And I am free to let out the rope, year by year, popping my fear bubbles along the way.


How do you deal with your fears? What fearless questions do you ask your child to determine if a playdate was safe?



Carolyn Byers Ruch is the founder of Rise and Shine Movement and author of the children’s books, Ana’s Song (formerly Rise And Shine) and Bobby Gilliam Brave and Strong, both tools for the prevention of childhood sexual abuse. She has spent the past ten years championing the issue of childhood sexual abuse and has received training certificates from some of the leading organizations dedicated to protecting children. A former teacher and mother of seven, her life has been enriched through adoption and foster care.




Share This Blog:

Would your child keep a
secret from you?


Get our FREE video:
What If? Conversation Starters 
or never miss a post!



We're moms, just like you, who want to help parents protect their kids from childhood sexual abuse.

You may also like...

"If," a Poem for Prevention
Monday, November 15, 2021

She's Already Won the Gold
Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Talking to Our Kids about Sex and Sexual Abuse. It's More Than Just the Facts.
Monday, February 22, 2021

When Your Nothing Is Everything
Thursday, April 16, 2020

Children Know the World Is...
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

“Kissing Cousins:" What Mr. Rogers and Daniel Tiger Taught About Sexual Abuse Prevention
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

So, What About Sleepovers?
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

How to Teach Our Children about Sex While We Are Still Their Heroes
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

How to Protect Our Special Needs Children from Sexual Abuse
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

What If My Child Won’t Talk to Me?
Saturday, June 23, 2018

THANK YOU for donating to Rise and Shine Movement's 5th Annual Stuffed Animal Drive
Thursday, May 24, 2018

One Essential Parenting Decision You Will Never Regret
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Rise and Shine Movement's 5th Annual Stuffed Animal Drive
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Processing the Larry Nassar Childhood Sexual Abuse Case
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Confident Parenting In A "Me, Too" World
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Are You and Your Children Free To Be?
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Three Questions Matt Lauer Should Ask His Children
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

When You Catch Your Child “Playing Doctor”
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Blush-free Family Movie Nights
Friday, July 14, 2017

How You Can Build a Relationship with Your Son by Talking about Porn
Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Day an Innocent Search Turned Up an Image My Son Can’t Erase: 5 Tips to Keep Your Kids Safe
Thursday, April 20, 2017

How to Speak about Porn and Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Child
Thursday, April 13, 2017

How You Can Help Protect Your Son's Innocence By Talking About Pornography
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Will Your Son Know What To Do When Someone Shows Him Porn?
Friday, March 31, 2017

Do Your Children Love Our Stories?
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Why It’s Good for Your Child to Hurt: A Lesson from a Sexual Abuse Survivor
Saturday, January 7, 2017

A New Website, A New Video -- Our gifts to you!
Wednesday, December 7, 2016

4 Things Perpetrators Don't Want Fathers to Know
Monday, June 13, 2016

April Awareness Month Wrap Up
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Tip Four for Protecting Your Kids from Sexual Abuse (April 2016 Sexual Abuse Awareness Campaign)
Monday, April 25, 2016

Tip Three for Protecting Your Kids from Sexual Abuse (April 2016 Sexual Abuse Awareness Campaign)
Monday, April 18, 2016

Tip Two for Protecting Your Kids from Sexual Abuse (April 2016 Sexual Abuse Awareness Campaign)
Monday, April 11, 2016

Tip One for Protecting Your Kids from Sexual Abuse (April 2016 Sexual Abuse Awareness Campaign)
Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 Stuffed Animal Drive Underway!
Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Winner Is (Our Bobby Gilliam Book Giveaway)
Monday, February 1, 2016

It's a Bobby Gilliam Book Giveaway!
Monday, January 25, 2016

Why Should I Talk To My Kids About Porn?
Friday, January 22, 2016

Prevention Strategies Around the Holidays
Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Your Best Defense Against Childhood Sexual Abuse
Friday, September 18, 2015

Could Josh Duggar Be Your Son? Four Things You Need to Know
Friday, May 22, 2015

Measuring Success for CSA Awareness
Thursday, May 21, 2015

Is Your Child's Summer Camp Safe? Three Questions You Should Ask
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What If Question Four
Monday, April 27, 2015

Bear Drive Huge Success in 2014
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What If Question Three
Monday, April 20, 2015

What If Question Two
Monday, April 13, 2015

Protecting Our Kids from Sexual Abuse
Thursday, April 9, 2015

What If Question One
Monday, April 6, 2015

What If Conversation Starters
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How Moms Can Make A Difference
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Children Don't Tell Because They Protect
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Children Don't Tell Because They Trust
Thursday, October 2, 2014

Children Don't Tell Because They Love
Monday, September 29, 2014

When a Story and a Calling Converge
Thursday, September 25, 2014