What it means when kids aren't allowed to know about bad things


CW: abuse, rape, child abuse, child sex abuse mentions




There are a lot of things kids are often considered too young to know about. For instance:

  • Rape
  • Violence
  • Racism
  • Sexism

The problem is, almost every bad thing kids are considered too young to know about happens to some kids.

The rule that kids should be shielded from these things has some really negative effects on the kids who are most vulnerable.

It hurts kids who have been abused, because they’re considered dangerous to other kids if they ever talk about it. Their peers aren’t supposed to know about it, so they’re supposed to just never talk about it ever. That creates a lot of shame, and living with that kind of shame hurts people.

It also hurts kids who are currently being abused. They get the overwhelming message from everyone that kids are not allowed to talk about these things. That makes it hard to tell adults what’s going on, especially if they don’t quite know the right words. If they try to tell indirectly, they might even be hushed and told that they’re too young to be thinking about that kind of thing.

It hurts kids of color, because they’re often required to put up with racist things rather than have the white kids find out about racism. Because they’re old enough to have to deal with racism, but their white peers aren’t considered old enough to be told about it.

There’s also parents who don’t want their kids to play with disabled kids, because they think their kids are too young to know about disability or serious illness or injury. Or even, to the point that a kids’ show hosted by an amputee actor got a lot of complaints that her missing arm was upsetting to children. This kind of attitude is all over the place.

Preventing kids from thinking about bad things hurts all kinds of kids, all kinds of particularly vulnerable kids. And I don’t see how it does much to protect the safer kids, either.

I’m not sure what the solution is. But I think it is a problem.

dsbp said:

sometimes on rare occasions that i get to just hang out with kids, i want to tell them ‘hey, sometimes adults do bad things and they tell you you can’t tell anyone or you’ll get in trouble. i want you to know they’re lying and i can make some bad things stop happening, if that’s something you need’ or something like that. i’m too scared to try it. is it even a good idea? hrmrmrmm

realsocialskills said:

I want that to be a good idea, but I suspect that it’s a really bad idea.

Has anyone seen any good come of doing this?

genderspooky said:

I coach youth soccer with AYSO and every year I pull my girls away from the parents and tell them a few things; I tell them that if if they need menstrual products they can ask me because I have them, I tell them that bodies and relationships are AMAZING and that they can ask me ANY question about anything either before or after practice and that I’ll answer with facts and without judgment, and that if anyone is hurting them or making them feel bad in any way that they can tell me and I can help and that I will make SURE they don’t get in any trouble what so ever.

None of my players have ever made use of that last piece of info, but I I haven’t gotten in trouble for it yet either.

realsocialskills said:

I can see a lot of ways that a soccer coach taking girls aside and telling them their bodies are AMAZING could end up hurting them. How do you stop it from being creepy?