Book Review: A book that will help parents to talk to kids about child sexual abuse.
Some Secrets Should Never be Kept by Jayneen Sanders is a book that will allow parents to have that important conversation about child sexual abuse.
As a parent, there are many risks that we need to prepare our kids for. Just as we teach them road safety so that they won't get hit by a car as they cross the road, we need to teach them protective behaviours so as to protect them from inappropriate touch ie sexual abuse.
But talking to our kids about road safety is much easier than talking about sexual abuse. When we talk to our kids about sexual abuse, we are having to tell them that sometimes adults choose to hurt children and to do stuff with them isn't for kids. And this is a hard thing to do as we are having to teach our kids that the world isn't always a good place, without taking away their innocence. Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept makes this hard conversation much easier.
Talking about sexual abuse is a difficult subject to talk about amongst ourselves, let alone with your child. But the reality is, is that the risk of sexual abuse to children is high. The figures vary, but it is thought that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 11 boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.
The problem though, is how do you talk about sexual abuse with your child? Without scaring them (or yourself)?
The answer is - books.
Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept was written to ensure that kids would know what to do if they are ever touched inappropriately ie to tell a trusted adult and to keep on telling until they are believed.
To do this, it tells the story of a little boy who was touched inappropriately and the steps he went through in telling his mother about what happened. This is beautifully presented in a way that is not frightening or confronting for children.
Because sexual abuse happens and the people doing it are very good at keeping it quiet. It doesn't matter how 'nice' your family and friends are, the reality is that you just can't supervise your kids 24 hours a day.
By pretending that it won't happen to your kids, you are actually putting your kids at risk by increasing their vulnerability.
How can you expect to keep kids safe from something that they don't know about or that you only make vague references to? They just become confused or scared of people.
So your kids need to know what you are actually protecting them from BUT you need to talk about it in a way that makes sense to them and doesn't frighten them. So it is important that you do talk about sexual abuse with your kids.
There are some good reasons as to why you may want to use a book to talk about sexual abuse. Books take the pressure off from you having to remember what exactly you need to say and how to say it!
I'll give you an example. I know nothing about how motors and things work, so if my son asks me a question about motors, I wouldn't have a clue. Anyway, we read this book last night that was all about how motors work. As we read the book, the words explained age-appropriately how motors worked - it even had little flaps that described each step. Somehow, even though I knew nothing about the topic, I had taught him the basics of how motors work. That is the magic of books - you don't have to remember what to say!
Books are a fantastic resource for when you want to talk to kids about difficult topics. They provide you with the content plus the age-appropriate language that kids are more likely to understand (just like in the motor book).
Plus, they give you a discrete way to slip in some education, without your kids even noticing, in an everyday way.
Kids are more likely to be sexually abused by someone they know (a good person) than a stranger (a bad person).
To kids, this book is about the fact that sometimes the people we know (good people) can make bad decisions (do bad things). Kids don't start to understand this concept, that sometimes good people do bad things, until they are about five years of age. Before then there is a real risk that your child will become scared or anxious about the people around them. You can read more about fear and anxiety in kids here, and about the stages of child development here.
So before the age of five, you should already be reading your kids books about the behaviours that will help to protect them from sexual abuse. Things like - the names of their body parts, the fact that they are the boss of their own body, how to say no, secrets, early warning signs, and other things like that.
There are lots of great books out there that will help you to start to talk about sexual abuse.
Books like this are important
It is important that you let your kids know about sexual abuse but to do it in a way that doesn't scare them. This book, Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept, is the perfect book for the job.
Some Secrets Should Never be Kept is ideal for children between the ages of 5 - 8 years of age.
You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.
Hey, I am Cath Hak and today we’re looking at Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept by Jayneen Sanders. This is another Australian book and a great way to start talking about sexual abuse and pedophiles to your children.
With pedophiles, you either know if someone is or is not one. That can be someone from your family or even a stranger. Whether or not you know, it is important you teach your child how to appropriately deal with the issue.
For example, you might turn the radio on in the car and a report about a child who had been sexually abused comes on. This is a hard topic. But Sanders’ book gives us plenty of great information and words to explain what is happening. There are kid friendly words, good imagery, and is an all-around lovely book.
This book is a mix between a fairy tale story and information, something I find there is not a lot of. It begins with, ‘In a land not so far away…’ which is the fairy tale aspect I was talking about.
The book then continues with the story of how Lady Susan was divorced and needs money. She goes to work and her son, Alfred, comes along. While Lady Susan is busy, Lord Henry looks after her son and they have lots of fun. As they’re playing chase, Lord Henry catches Alfred and begins to tickle him in a way that he is not comfortable with.
Alfred asks him to stop, but Lord Henry ignores him. Lord Henry then says that if Alfred tells anyone about their game, his mother will lose her job and be upset with him. So, he goes home upset and sad. The next day, he tells his mother he doesn’t want to go to work with her.
His mother laughs and says, ‘Don’t be silly, everyone likes him. We need to go there because I need to earn money!’ So, he goes to work with her. When Alfred see’s Lord Henry again, he picks him up and begins touching his private parts.
That night, Alfred goes home and begins to cry. His mother asks what’s wrong, and Alfred finally tells her. His mother is very supportive and tells him about how secrets like that should never be kept. That wraps up the conclusion of Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept.
This book is great. It has an interesting story and teaches children about what sexual abuse is in a way that isn’t shaming the victim. As many adults know, it is very common for pedophiles to threaten children into keeping silent. That, if they tell anyone, something bad will happen to their parents. Or they will do something to their siblings.
In this story, Alfred did not have the courage to tell anyone because he was scared. This represents how many children in sexually abusive situations like this may feel. That can connect with the reader if they’re going through a situation they are unsure of.
This is probably one of my favorite books. When I first bought the book, my eldest child was around five to six-years-old. I looked through it first and instantly thought, ‘I can’t read this to her!’ It made me quite uncomfortable at the time. But now that I have read through it again and gone through it with my children, I am very confident in it. It is great at teaching children about sexual predators.
Books like this are difficult. They focus very heavily on the gross side of sex; the side people don’t want to experience, let alone talk about. So, if you have a hard time talking about where babies come from and what a penis and vagina is, then this will be even harder for you.
One of the main worries that parents have is that they will scar their kids. Trust me, you will not. Kids will not start thinking that every person they see will sexually abuse them. Half of this information will go through one ear and out the other, meaning you will have to visit this book more than once.
On my website I do have some pages that help with talking about uncomfortable topics. So, check that out if you have problems with books like these.
Anyway, I love this book. It is a great tool to talk about pedophiles and sexual abuse to your children.
I hope this helps, Cheers.
My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.
Which means that inside this website, you'll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.
My Sex Education 101 page includes all of the information on sex education. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with getting started, on a wide range of different topics.
My Puberty 101 page includes all of the information on puberty. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with talking to your child about growing up.
You'll find videos about sex ed in my Sex Education Videos resource page that you can watch with your child or to learn more about sex education yourself.
You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There's even some books in there for parents!
If you're looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural converasations with your child about their body.
You'll also find some child friendly anatomically-correct cartoon illustrations of the genitals and internal reproductive organs that are appropriate for children from the age of 3 and up. Let's Look at Different Body Parts is a printable that will help take the awkward out of talking to your child about their body, so they grow up feeling educated, confident, and comfortable in their own skin.
If you're worried that talking to your child about bodies might lead to questions about sex, then you can relax. How to Talk to Kids About Sex, will help you to explain sexual intercourse to your child in a way they will understand. It breaks sex down into simple steps that take the stress out of explaining!
If you want a printed book to hold in your hands, then the The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid's ask parents about sex. Which means you don't need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands.
If you want the answers to questions about a lot more than just sex, then Sex Ed Quickies is your best option. It has answers to 300+ questions that kids commonly ask parents, including how babies are made, sexual intercourse, body parts, puberty, relationships, pregnancy, birth, masturbation, sexual diversity, gender, pornography, STIs, contraception and much more.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.