kids

"Don't blame parents who won't let men babysit their children. We'd do anything to protect them."

I’d do anything to protect my children.

They come first. The thought of anything happening to them fills me with dread and sometimes keeps me up at night. Nothing out of the normal realm of parental anxiety.

That’s why I completely understand writer Kasey Edwards and her husband making the decision to never leave their two daughters in the care of a male.

In an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald over the weekend titled ‘Why I won’t let any male babysit my children,’ she describes how no man (her husband aside) would ever care for their children due to the risk of child sexual abuse. It’s a pact they’ve stuck to and now that they have two daughters, new rules have been added. No sleepovers. No sporting camps.  No play dates without a woman present at all times.

Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and Jessie Stephens talk about the politics of male babysitters on this week’s episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Article continues…

And before you start to judge her for her choice, consider this.

It is the sexual predators who are at fault. They have left parents with no choice but to take drastic action.

Edwards explains, “My husband and I do not want to delve into the characters of every man that we know and assess whether or not they are potential sexual predators, so we apply our rule to all men to avoid casting aspersions on people.”

She also said she doesn’t trust her instincts to detect danger in others.

But while I understand the anxiety behind her decision, I can’t say I’d be as inflexible.

Image via iStock.

My children are often cared for by one of their uncles and I'd think nothing of leaving them with my brother or either of my stepsons. Dropping my boys off at soccer training with a male coach is totally fine by me. That's because I'm trying to raise my children to live in the real world, not the world I wish it was, where sexual predators don't exist. That means they may, at some stage, be faced with a situation in which they don't feel comfortable.

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And that's when all of the conversations we've had about what to do in those circumstances and how to react will hopefully come in handy.

Writer and comedian Ben Pobjie was so offended by Edwards' stance against all male babysitters that he penned his own article for the Sydney Morning Herald titled, "By teaching children to fear men, we are letting our kids down". He accuses Edwards of harming her children by depriving them of male company.

The reality is most children will be abused by someone they know. Image: iStock

"It's hard to be told that you've been classified as a potential predator – that, without knowing anything about you, someone has already decided that their children need to be protected from you – without feeling pretty offended," he said.

I have to disagree with him as well.

Once again, blame all the sexual predators, not parents doing their best to protect children from them.

Pobjie's feelings and the feelings of other men don't concern me. They are grown ups. If they feel offended they are old enough to handle it.

Children are not old enough to handle being sexually abused.

Listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud.

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Would you let your children be cared for by a man? Comment below.