Continuing the Conversation Blog
Why It’s Good for Your Child to Hurt: A Lesson from a Sexual Abuse Survivor
Saturday, January 7, 2017
“I spent the first seven years trying to protect my daughter from every hurt and pain,” she said. “Then I realized this wouldn’t help her become the type of person I wanted her to become—a person with compassion. I didn’t want her to grow up to be self-righteous and unloving.”
I smiled. This mama has been my friend for years now. I’ve had a front row seat in her life and she in mine. Neither one of us are very good at small talk or as we call it—playing in the shallow end. So, when we carve out time for our friendship, we jump right into the deep end. Both feet. Prepared to go under, knowing that at any second one of us will reach out a hand to pull the other up for air. Safety.
She has spoken openly with me about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child and how it has impacted her life. I’ve cried for her and with her. And I admire her determination to seek healing for each area where sexual abuse has inflicted its devastating wounds.
On this day, she discussed its impact on her parenting and how she used to parent—looking for danger around every corner, on guard, sword drawn, no rest for her . . . and no rest for her daughter.
And if I’d suffered the same abuse as she, I think I’d parent the same way. To be honest, at times I do parent the same way. No judgments here.
But recently, she had uncovered a lie that her sexual abuse had created: If my daughter hurts then I’ve failed as a mother. Shame. On. Me.
“I give myself grace now,” she said. “I realize I can’t be there to protect her from everything. But I can be there for her and with her in her pain.”
I heard the truth in her words. I saw the change in her countenance. Freedom.
We both agree we must do everything we can to protect our kids from sexual abuse. But, we also agree that life hurts sometimes, and people who have experienced pain and have welcomed healing are some of the most loving, compassionate friends we have.
Perhaps that’s why I feel so safe with her in the deep end.
In this world, our children will have troubles. A good mama can’t protect her children from everything, but she can walk with her kids through the pain modeling love and compassion. And teach them how to be safe friends—in the deep end.
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.
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...
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
A New Website, A New Video -- Our gifts to you!
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Two Fearless Questions to Ask Your Child After a Playdate
Thursday, June 23, 2016
4 Things Perpetrators Don't Want Fathers to Know
Monday, June 13, 2016
April Awareness Month Wrap Up
Wednesday, May 11, 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