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Are Teenage Boys Untrustworthy Predators?

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Guest blogger Pam wonders, "Should teenage boys never be allowed to be babysitters?"

jamesdobson-babysitting.jpg
My son recently turned 13 and has two younger sisters. I never thought twice about him babysitting my daughters--in fact, I was thinking, "Hallelujah--free babysitting!" Perhaps he could earn extra money babysitting other kids as well. Then I heard that Dr. Dobson, from Focus on the Family and a respected child psychologist, suggests that boys never be allowed to babysit at all, ever. What does this say to my son and young men in general?

Dr. Dobson prefaces what he says in his book Bringing up Boys by saying, "I'll go a step further to make a controversial recommendation to you parents." Then he presents his argument: "The sex drive in teenage boys is too strong to leave children of either sex in the care of young men, particularly from the age of 16 to 18."

Hold the phone, Dr. Dobson, am I to believe that all young men are capable of doing something as loathsome as sexually abuse children? Dr. Dobson assures me "in the vast amount of circumstances it would be fine, but why take chances?"

I'll tell you why. If I followed the better-safe-than-sorry idea to its conclusion, I wouldn't allow anyone but myself within five feet of my child because I am the only person that I can trust--which would include fathers, grandfathers, uncles--and why not women, too? No thanks! My son is a fabulous person who could be trusted with anyone's child, and I would never want him to feel that society places him in the same category as a sweaty freak cruising MySpace for underage fodder for his vile, disturbed desires.

If you want a babysitter who can build super cool Lego ships, give my son a try.


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27 comments so far | Post a comment now
Debbie September 2, 2008, 11:29 AM

are you kidding me! it was my dad & my uncles!!!! that abused me as a child. in most cases it is family that does the abuse! I also had cousins that tried things too! so give me a break!

I on the other hand watch eveyone around my kids, I make sure they never go through what I did.

so go ahead put your child at risk, its to late to take it back once it happens, beleive me when I say it does stay with you for a life time!

Bailey September 2, 2008, 1:36 PM

not everyone is a creepy freak….just because on person’s father, cousin, grandfather, or uncle twice removed is a twisted creep doesn’t mean every man is. personally, i would leave my son with either his grandparents or uncle….anyone else, not if my life depended on it. some families are different from than others. not everyone is to be trusted, but i guess that depends on the people you know.

Ginny September 2, 2008, 2:41 PM

We have always had a rule with our children (both girls) whether it was in school or elsewhere, that no men/boys would help them in the bathroom or change diapers or clothes (except their father, which also eventually became inappropriate). Not so much because we didn’t trust the men, or that they were incapable, but because it was inappropriate. We wouldn’t want a man helping a 16 year old girl in the bathroom, or changing room, why is it anymore appropriate when they are age 1, 4, 6 or whatever (especially when they are so young that they can not defend themselves, or know when something is ok)? We always want to think the best of the men and boys we love. I love my nephews very much, and while they would be capable and loving toward their nieces, it is just simply not appropriate.

Like the previous comment, I am not willing to risk my daughter’s well-being. Ever.

Alison September 2, 2008, 4:39 PM

Your first mistake was listening to “Dr. Dobson” who is not at all respected, at least by me. All of this is a form of degredation to women. All men are evil, therefore women must be protected, therefore women must stay home and take care of the children from the evil men who go out in the evil man’s world.
There have been plenty of female pedophiles, people. As long as people listen to someone like Dr. Dobson, we’ll never move forward.

Willow September 2, 2008, 4:40 PM

Ginny and Debbie, i hear what you’re saying but there ARE good teenage boys out there who DO know how to control themselves. I’ve raised 3 teenage boys and would trust any of them with a young child, male or female. Frankly I think age is less a factor than their own personal morals. A teenager who will abuse is likely to become an adult who will abuse.

I am VERY realistic and very cautious with my kids and my grandkids and you’ve certainly got to use your judgment about who you trust but I think a blanket statement like Dobson’s is dangerous and incendiary.

TroubledTeen September 2, 2008, 4:44 PM

Dr. Dobson is truly a scary person. My 14 year old son would never abuse anyone and I am not saying that because he is my son. Dr. Dobson does not deserve to be a Dr. if these are the rumors he is spreading.

Tammy September 2, 2008, 4:46 PM

Abuse, in any form, can come from anyone, male or female, young, old or in between. If we are to follow the “better safe than sorry” theory than why would we ever leave our children in the hands on any other person on this earth? A woman can abuse and even kill her very own children. So maybe as a “better safe than sorry” rule of thumb, no child should ever be left alone with anyone at any time. You just never know who’s going to “snap” and put their kid in a microwave or drown them in the bath tub.

I’m going to think twice about how much validity I put in the opinion of somewho who so easily classifies an entire group as “possible” sex offenders.

Kareem September 2, 2008, 9:20 PM

I agree with 3 of the commets but not Ginny’s

Jennifer September 2, 2008, 10:31 PM

I honestly don’t think that all men/boys are capable of doing that sort of thing. But as someone that was sexually abused as a toddler, and I did my research on this subject, it is most likely to be a man and it usually is either a family member or a friend of the family. 1 out of 10 people do that to children. So I’m all for being overly cautious.

Gilly September 3, 2008, 2:03 AM

As someone who survived incest and has a daughter I do not allow any man alone with my daughter. Not even her father (we are divorced and he is extremely physically and mentally disabled - unable to communicate should someone do something bad to her). I do realize that not every man or teenage boy is going to molest her or other kids but I am simply not going to take that chance. Too many people have the idea that bad things happen to “other” people. Guess what, to me you are the other person. Bad things happen. Being molested scars a person for life. You get help, you get therapy, you move on but you still carry that scar. Why risk that for your child? I also have a son. A wonderful, incredible amazing nine year old and I have a hard time meshing the amazing person he is with my firm belief that all males are capable of sexual abuse. I look at him and I cannot imagine he would ever do such a thing. He adores his sister and I have never seen an inappropriate moment or action. And yet, I cannot imagine allowing him to be alone with her in the house when he is a teenager while I go shopping or whatever.
My personal beliefs aside, we must protect our little kids both boys and girls. Little boys get molested too. So no, you don’t have to belief someone is capable but what does it hurt to be cautious???

Alex September 3, 2008, 10:38 AM

Gilly,
It is very sad that your son will have to grow up in an environment where you don’t trust him and think him to be evil simply by birth. While that may not be sexual abuse, that is another type of abuse entirely. Do you think he’s not going to notice when you won’t let him ever be around his sister alone? Do you think he’s not going to hate you for distrusting him for his entire life? Honestly, that is more than “carrying scars” that’s never getting over something horrible that happened to you. Living as a victim and letting the abuser win. The sad thing is, not only has it ruined your life, but it will also damage your children’s lives as well. Hopefully your son learns that he’s not the one with the problem and doesn’t internalize the fact that you think he’s evil. I hope he can learn to cope with the situation you put him in.

focus on this September 3, 2008, 3:53 PM

… maybe someone needs to check out Dr. Dobson’s past. If he’s so accusatory of his own gender then maybe he’s a predator himself.

Gilly September 3, 2008, 7:06 PM

Alex, read my post a little more closely. Clearly you read what you wanted and that’s it. I most certainly do not think my son is evil. Get off your high horse Alex.

Clare  September 4, 2008, 11:43 PM

Boys are just as likely to be abused as girls in our local paper there was an article from a predator who said he often targeted boys in public toilets or swimming pool changing rooms, often when the parents were near.

Sally October 18, 2008, 10:17 AM

It would be a sad world if my teenage by, now 16 were not allowed to babysit his little sisters… Good post.

Sally October 18, 2008, 10:19 AM

It would be a sad world if my teenage son were not alloweed to babysit his younger sisters! Good post.

A.E. November 7, 2008, 10:06 AM

IT’S SO SAD TO LIVE IN A WORLD WERE YOU CAN’T TRUST NOBODY. BUT LETS BE REALISTIC ABOUT IT, TEEN AGED BOYS,WITH ALL THESE HORMONES GOING CRAZY,YOU KNOW TRYING TO KNOW THEMSELFS, TRYING TO EXPERIMENT WITH NEW THINGS. AND ALONE IN A HOUSE WITH A TODDLER. IAM NOT SAYING THEY ARE GOING TO DO SOMETHING TO THE LITLE KIDS,BUT THEY COULD WATCH XXX MOVIES,THEY COULD SMOKE, DRINK. IN FRONT OF YOUR LITTLE GIRL,EVEN GIVE HER A SIP, JUTS FOR TEENAGED FUN.AND SADLY BUT TRUTHLY BOYS ARE MORE LIKELY TO DO THESE THEN TEEN AGED GIRLS.SO WHY TAKE THE CHANCE. A.E.

MJ.b December 8, 2008, 4:17 AM

not to sould negative, but no matter what, your son is going to be able to be alone with his younger sisters- at the very least occationally. All he has to do is sneak into the girls room at night and “teach them a game”, Either way, you are going to have to trust him a little. If he gives you any reason to doubt or if the girls seem particularly clingy when you leave them with him, maybe you should hire a certified babysitter and continue (begrudgedly) paying for your sitter.

N.c.e December 17, 2008, 1:09 PM

That is the dumbest thing i have ever heard. Sounds to me like this doctor has had a past experience of something happening to them. I myself am a 14 year old boy. I baby sit a lot and never have i ever thought to include the young children i am baby sitting in any sick game. Maybe adults think that it crosses our mind’s but believe me, it doesn’t. All the Pedophilia that we hear about in the news never includes a 16 year old teen as the culprit. Also why just boys? I think personally that this is a very sick and very sexist argument and that everyone who agree’s with this so called doctor should open their eyes and get a life.

Shelly December 24, 2008, 3:35 AM

well it is a sad world I wouldn’t allow my teenage son to care for his younger sisters, I beleive in prevention if you dont let it happen it wont, dont be so naive it does happen I dont care how good you think the person is. My eyes are open thats why it wont happen here.


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