A Book To Help Talk To Kids About Sexual Abuse

Joanna Schroeder praises the book ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’, which helps teach children about how to cope with potential sexual abuse.

As a mom of young kids, I struggle daily with fears about my children being hurt, whether it be in a car crash, in a natural disaster, or by sexual abuse.

It’s so easy to talk to kids about properly buckling into a booster seat or about looking both ways before crossing the street.  It’s pretty easy to teach a child what to do in the event of a fire or an earthquake. They know I am psycho about them wearing helmets on their bikes.

But I’ve struggled with how to talk to my kids about sexual abuse. I’ve mirrored what I’ve seen good parents do around me, and my husband and I try our hardest to be open and honest with our kids. We teach them about keeping their bodies for themselves, about having the right to say “no” and to defend themselves, and about not keeping secrets from Mom and Dad.

Since working at GMP and getting to know more and more male survivors of abuse, I also started talking to my boys about the fact that Mom and Dad are very strong and can handle any truth that our sons need to tell us. And of course that we will always believe them, love them, and stand up for them.

But I really don’t know if I’m doing any of it right and there aren’t a whole lot of tools to assist us parents in this incredibly challenging conversations.

So I was really pleased to see that author Jayneen Sanders and illustrator Craig Smith have written a gorgeous, touching book about a young boy whose trusted friend touches him inappropriately called Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept.

While I hate the idea that a book like this is necessary, and I hate the idea of introducing the concept of violation to my children, I know that if they are armed with knowledge they will be more capable of knowing what is appropriate and to not feel shame if anything that happens to them makes them feel wrong. Even if it happens at the hands of someone whom they trust.

As the author says, teaching kids about so-called Stranger Danger is just not effective at preventing or dealing with sexual abuse, which is rarely committed at the hands of strangers.

So big props to Sanders and Smith for creating a beautiful, age-appropriate tool to help our children.

To learn more about Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept visit their website: www.somesecrets.info where you can purchase the book or the teacher’s pack.

See Jayneen Sanders’ practical safety tips for children.


About Joanna Schroeder

Joanna Schroeder is a feminist writer and editor with a special focus in issues facing raising boys and gender in the media. Her work has appeared on Redbook, Yahoo!, xoJane, MariaShriver.com, TIME.com, and more. She and her husband are outdoor sports enthusiasts raising very active sons. She is currently co-editing a book of essays for boys and young men with author and advocate Jeff Perera. Follow her shenanigans on Twitter.

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