I remember all the different babysitters that I had while growing up. Some were nice…and some, well, not quite there. Once I hit the teenage years, I remember the babysitting that I did myself. Little kids will say and do some of the craziest things!
But what happens when the trust disappears? What happens when that child is suddenly not themselves? You would think at first that they might be sick. But, perhaps something has happened between the babysitter and the child, which has led them to fear their own babysitter.
A friend of mine came called me one day to tell me a story of an incident that had happened to her. She had been trying to get it out for years, but just didn’t know how to.
Finally she told me: she had been molested as a child by her babysitter.
After a moment of being shocked into silence, I urged her to tell me what had happened.
When she was about seven, her little sister and her were being babysat by a teenage boy of about sixteen or seventeen. The family knew his family some, and everything seemed to be going well.
Then after awhile, she remembered he would take her into his lap and touch her in inappropriate places. As a small child, she didn’t at first realize that this was wrong. And then finally, things started to click that things might be wrong. She didn’t want to play with him anymore. He threatened to play more with her sister and the other children that he had been playing with.
When she threatened to tell, he retaliated and said he would write her parents a note saying she was bad and couldn’t babysit anymore. At one point, her little sister even remembered some of the minor incidents: him yelling, locking the children in the guest room, punching a wall, and eventually sitting in his lap and being touched. The younger sister had managed to suppress these dark memories for nearly twenty years.
A note was written as promised. The parents, not knowing what was going on, made the children apologize. Later, the family moved. Not long after, when he came to visit them in their new home, the children ran and hid, their parents thinking that they were either playing or just being rude.
As of today, the man lives a city away from one of the sisters. A police report was ran, leading to the discovery that one allegation had been made against him – with his own nieces.
When ever a child starts showing a change in their behavior in regards to their babysitter, parents need to ask the child questions. There have been so many cases of child molestation occurring among family members, friends, family, strangers, and babysitters. A shocking number of 39 million adults have been known to have survived sexual child abuse. 95% of child molestation cases can be prevented.
And it isn’t always molestation that can be the fear. What if the babysitter abuses the child? Do they scream? Do they always have people around when they shouldn’t? Do they do drugs?
These kinds of things don’t always happen, but it is a good thing to really get to know the babysitter before hiring them. Care.com offers babysitters that have been screened and many that have great references. Anytime you have a babysitter – especially a new one – until you’re comfortable enough with them, have a hidden camera set up where the children will be most of the time. I even remember watching a news report when a babysitter dropped a baby on the floor and just left them there. Lets just say, that babysitter has a hard time finding work now!
Take the time to talk to your child about child molestation or anything else that is wrong and the child should report. It is never to early to teach your children something dangerous and horribly wrong that can possibly be prevented.
Child Molestation Research & Prevention Institute