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Episode 48

Preventing Sexual Abuse through Sex Education

How can parents help prevent sexual abuse happening to their kids? In this episode, Deb chats with Sexual Health Educator, Amy Lang. Amy helps educate parents and professionals about sexual abuse prevention by preparing them to have conversations about sex with children from a young age. 

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HOST & GUESTS

Host: Debbie Roche

Guests: Amy Lang

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About Our Guest

A sexual health educator for over 20 years, Amy Lang, MA helps parents of all beliefs talk with kids of any age about the birds and the bees. She also works with youth serving organizations and provides childhood sexuality and sexual abuse prevention training. Amy’s lively, engaging and down-to-earth style makes these uncomfortable topics easier to handle. Her professional clients include the US Air Force Youth and Family Services, Boys and Girls Clubs and numerous early childhood conferences and organizations. Amy’s talks, books, online solution center and podcast helps parents learn how to talk to their kids about this important and awkward part of life. Amy is still married to her first husband and they are getting the hang of parenting their teenage son. She lives in Seattle, WA. You can learn more about Amy and her work at BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com

If you enjoyed our intimate conversation then feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page or rate us highly over on iTunes!

You can also watch the audio-video over on YouTube complete with sub-titles. If you’d like to read the whole conversation, the scroll down to the transcription below the show-notes.

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Episode 48 Show Notes

Resources:

Find out more about Amy and her work by checking out her website, podcast and following her on social media:

Website: www.birdsandbeesandkids.com

Podcast: Just Say This!
Phone in to ask a question: 1-206-926-1522

Facebook: @birdsbeeskids

Twitter: @birdsandbees

Books we mentioned:

Other resources:

Episode 48 - Sexual Abuse Prevention through Sex Education - Transcription + Time Stamps

You are listening to uncomfortable, comfortable conversations around uncomfortable topics.

Hello, and welcome to uncomfortable the podcast, the podcast that has comfortable conversations around uncomfortable topics. I’m your host Debbie Roche and today in this episode I chat with sexual health educator Amy Lang on the topic of sexual abuse prevention.

A sexual health educator for over 20 years. Amy Lang helps parents of all beliefs talk with kids of any age about the birds and the bees. She also works with youth serving organizations, and provides childhood sexuality and sexual abuse prevention training. Amy’s lively engaging and down to earth style makes these uncomfortable topics much easier to handle. Her professional clients include the US Air Force, Youth and Family Services, Boys and Girls Clubs and numerous early childhood conferences and organizations. Amy’s talks, books, online Solution Center and podcast helps parents learn how to talk to their kids about this important and awkward part of life. Amy is still married to her first husband and they are getting the hang of parenting their teenage son. She lives in Seattle, Washington, and you can learn more about Amy and her work by visiting birdsandbeesandkids.com.

Debbie Roche 1:51
As always, there’s some adult language in this episode as we are discussing a sexual topic. So if you’re listening, make sure to pop those headphones on.

Debbie Roche 2:26
Amy, thank you so much for joining me on the Uncomfortable podcast. I’m very excited to have you here today.

Amy Lang 2:33
I’m super excited to talk to you. I love being uncomfortable.

Debbie Roche 2:36
I know, right? I think more and more people are coming around to it. Or maybe it’s just I’m reaching out to people who are willing to talk about these topics. You of course are one of them. So it’s great. It’s great. And so just before we kind of get into the questions, tell me a little bit about your business BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com and kind of what the inspiration for that was.

Amy Lang 3:00
Well, I’d been a sexual health educator from my early 20s on and I loved helping people make decisions about birth control and their pregnancies and understand about STIs and HIV transmission and all that. And I loved it so much that it was basically my hobby. And yeah, and which is kind of a crazy hobby. And I really made time in my life to do this in like pretty significant ways. And so I had assumed that when I had a kid that I would just be amazing, amazing at the sex talks because I knew so much and had been working in that field for so long. And I was, my little was about five and he was getting ready for a bath. And I thought he was going to tell me it felt good to touch his penis. And I was like, uhoh, like, I don’t know what to do with you five year old and your penis. And I’m standing there, I’m thinking “great!” I’d rather talk to a pregnant 15 year old girl than my five year old about his penis. And so that was like my moment where I’m like, “great, you need this sort this out”. And so as I was doing research to figure out like, Okay, how do we do this? Like, when should we start the conversation? What should it look like? I just had this brainwave, and I was like, “Oh, hey, you could teach adults how to talk with kids, about the birds and the bees”. And the other part of my background is that I have a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Science. And my focus was in adult education, and group facilitation. So I was like, “hey, combine your two favorite things”. And so I did. And that was, Milo is now 19. So we can all do that math. And so it’s been a really interesting journey and taken me places that I never anticipated going, because I thought I would just work with parents and then I also have been working with organizations that work with kids like early childhood organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs, to help them understand what healthy behaviors sexual behaviors look like in kids and I’m doing sexual abuse prevention as well. So it’s been super fun. This is still my hobby, and it’s my job.

Debbie Roche 5:03
Yeah, well, that’s kind of a win-win to have a job that’s also like your hobby that you love doing. Because you know what, lots of people search for that and don’t quite get there. So that’s amazing. Congratulations.

Amy Lang 5:14
Thank you.

Debbie Roche 5:15
Firstly, so we were going to kind of focus around the sexual abuse prevention, because when I was on your website, and I saw that you did train professionals, like you just mentioned, that was one of your services. And that kind of caught my eye because it seems you know, I’ve spoken to a few folks who do similar work to you and focus on educating the parents just on sex and how to have the conversation with their kids. But then I thought, wow, sexual abuse prevention is something that is in the back of your mind but it’s not something you would even think to have the conversation or dear God like, how the heck do you even have that conversation? So tell me how that training came about like that, that service came around?

Debbie Roche 5:55
So as I was researching, like, how do we talk to kids about sex? Like what should that look Like, I am sitting at my computer and I’m on the internet and looking at stuff and I’m reading books, and then all of a sudden, I was like, “Oh, no. We’re gonna have, I’m gonna have to talk about sexual abuse. And I do not want to talk about child sexual abuse, like, no, thank you”.

Debbie Roche 6:16
That’s a tough, tough topic.

Amy Lang 6:18
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. And so I’m sitting there. I’m like, how can I get out of this? Like, I really did not want to explore this at all. It was really, you know, of course, kind of upsetting and scary, and all of that. And so I’m sitting there. And I’m like, all right, you’re gonna figure out a way to do this, because we have to do this, right. It’s part of the whole package of being safe and all that. So I’m sitting there and I’m like, “Okay, what do I really want to know, as a parent?” And I thought, “Oh, I just want to know what’s normal, like is playing doctor normal is spin the bottle normal?” Like all those things happened to most of us through childhood. And so as I’m sitting there, I’m like, “Okay, I got to figure out what’s normal”. And so because that feels good to me. Right. And so I ended up doing more poking around. And I learned all about childhood sexual development. Because when I teach this I don’t focus on, per se on like, the signs and symptoms, which is what most folks do, like you look at this list of signs and symptoms, then that’s how you can tell if your child’s, or a child’s being sexually abused. And so the reality is you look at that list of signs and symptoms, and that could be a sign of any number of things. Grandma died, you know, Uncle creepy touch my hoo ha, like, it could be any number of things. And of course, there must be some specific issues with kids. But so I’m looking at that it’s freaking me out, like, you know, what, if we just know what’s normal, then it’s going to be easier to assess, like, “Okay, this is within the range of normal behavior, typical behavior, healthy behavior”. And so if a kiddo is doing something that’s outside of that, then we can get worried and be concerned. So my approach is very different than most folks who do sexual abuse prevention they mostly focus on like, how to spot a predator, you know, what are the signs and symptoms? Not a lot of, no education around what’s typical or what’s not, aside from like, “oh, playing doctors normal”. “Oh, figuring out It feels good to touch your uterus, your penis when you’re four is normal, right?” That kind of thing. We get that, but it’s broader than that. And so anyway, so childhood sexual development is actually something that’s not very common. Anybody who’s working with kids, like most of them don’t have this kind of education. So you know, as a parent, like learning like, “Oh, yeah, sometimes, you know, boys have penis meetings, right?” My friend called me and she’s like, “Oh, my God, Amy. I picked my kid up that child, you know, from daycare today. And he said, I said, How was your day?” And he said, “Well, you know, today at our penis meeting, Owen and I…”

Debbie Roche 6:32
Wait, what? Back-up.

Amy Lang 6:58
Exactly, right, you’re right. She’s like, “What? What do I? What the hell?” and I’m like, “What is going on?” So apparently every day, at outside time, they go behind this bush, and they would take their penises out of their pants and they would have a meeting. And then they go off to play.

Debbie Roche 9:03
Well, I’m curious to know what the meeting was about, like what is on that agenda?

Amy Lang 9:07
I have no idea. But you know, little folks will like, it was like just part of their routine. There wasn’t any touching. It was just it’s usually just starts out as curiosity based. So maybe one of them was circumcised and one wasn’t. They were really good friends. And this is a really common, you know, not they don’t call it penis meeting, but it’s really common for kids to be curious. And so anyway, but children were talked to and the bush was removed, because, right. Yeah, sorry. I know. I’m laughing and I know I mean, you’re laughing too, right. This stuff is uncomfortable, but you know, they weren’t uncomfortable, right? They didn’t know that there was anything bad about that. They just were like, “Hey, we’re having our penis meeting today”. And it was just that’s just it was fine, right? There wasn’t anything. No one was being threatened or coerced. No one was like, no one was not wanting to to play or have the meeting, like it was all just really chill. And so it got taken care of. And so one of the things about this is it’s okay to laugh about it. Because I mean, the penis meeting is hilarious. Yeah. And you know, a little stressful. So I talked to Michelle off the ledge, we talked about what to do about that, which we can talk about in a minute. So anyway, like, if everybody knew that that kind of curiosity is normal, and that we expect that in childhood, especially in early childhood, and it goes all the way through, then we can all calm down, right and figure out alright, is this concerning? How concerned should I be? And oftentimes parents, like, they know, like, they learn this and then they’re like, “Okay, then, you know, can’t we just, it’s normal. So Can’t we just let them have penis meetings or play doctor?” And they can’t because we need to redirect the behavior and talk to them about body boundaries and explain that it’s not okay or safe to play games with private parts and, you know, talk about how it’s not okay for anyone to touch your privates or to touch anybody else’s privates and redirect the behavior. Because they need to understand the boundaries around their body safety, right? And so if we don’t redirect their behavior and an older kid or, you know, like uncle creepy wants to play, you know, play doctor or have a penis meeting. There’s no protection there. Right.

Debbie Roche 11:16
And they’ll think that’s okay, normal.

Amy Lang 11:18
Yeah, I think it’s okay. Yeah.

Debbie Roche 11:20
Awesome. So I’m going to jump questions just a little bit to ask what is the most common like questions and concerns that you get from parents? Because I feel like the penis meeting might have been a bit one that you wouldn’t get this commonly. But what is it that parents or even professionals come to you, the questions that you get the most from them?

Debbie Roche 11:43
That’s a great question. So lots of questions around like, how do I keep my child safe? How do I teach them body boundaries? Also, like how do I get them to talk to me if something’s going on? How can I tell if something’s going on? Right now, there’s lots of conversation about teaching consent. So like, how do you teach consent to a child? And that those are the basic things and then with, and then of course, like, how do you redirect their behavior? What do you say? Like, how do you talk to a kid without freaking them out? Right? Which is a big deal? Because Yeah, no, this is we know, this is a terrible, terrible thing. Right? So how do we manage ourselves as we’re having these really important conversations with our kids?

Debbie Roche 12:29
Yeah. And like, could you give us an example, just one of the small things that you might teach, to kind of help someone, an adult in particular, keep their calm and their poise while having that conversation with a kid like what can adults do?

Debbie Roche 12:48
Well, first of all adults need to do some of their own personal work around this, you know, if, if someone was sexually abused or sexually assaulted, that can be that can really increase the intensity with which parents talk with kids about this kind of thing, because they’re terrified because it happened to them. So that’s a tall order sometimes, right? I mean, I’m basically saying “get yourself in therapy”, which is really hard place to go. But being aware of that, also thinking about thinking it through, like having a plan, talk, like talking it out, like, what’s your script? How are you going to talk about this? Our kids don’t know if we’re practicing. You know, one of my recommendations is that you drive around in your car when you have a moment alone and like practice saying, “hey, just a reminder. It’s not okay to play games with private parts”. And you know, like saying those things out loud, it makes us calmer. So just having the conversation, preparation is key. Using books, there’s some really great books for kids about boundaries: C is for consent; It’s my body; I can play it safe. I recommend books that are not creepy or scary. There’s lots of sexual abuse prevention books for kids that give me, I was not sexually abused, that make me like, “oh my god!”. Right. And I’m grown, right? Yeah, freak me out. So just I mean, the really the most important thing is to be communicating fairly regularly about this and minding our intensity, which is a tall order, which is a tall order, right?

Debbie Roche 14:24
Yeah, and I’ll definitely link to those books that you just mentioned in the show notes so that people can pick up those ones and not the creepy ones. So I’ll definitely make sure that we mentioned those so our listeners can can take a look. So how can an adult actually explain sexual abuse to a child who obviously, you know, it’s a completely new thing that they’ve never heard off, like, what would that conversation consist of?

Amy Lang 14:56
So first of all, I just want to back up the truck a little bit. First of all, we have talked about prevention, which we can we can, we can do sexual abuse prevention without our kids knowing what’s happening without saying the word sexual abuse. And for me, this is a conversation that starts when they’re itty bitty. And the first conversation is using the correct name for private body parts. This is really protective. The reason it’s protective is because well first of all children have the right to know the correct names for all of their body parts. And when we use euphemism, euphemisms what we’re we’re communicating a couple things to kids. First of all, that there’s something up down there like they don’t necessarily know that their, you know, their penis is not called a ‘wee-wee’ like the real term for penises not ‘wee-wee’ or whatever. And so, eventually they’ll start to like, “why is this like this seems weird, right?” And the parents, there’s something up with the parent, right? Like they can’t say ‘penis’ for a variety of reasons. Now, most have us grew up in families where we didn’t have ‘penises’ and ‘vulvas’ right and ‘vaginas’, right? So that’s the first thing. And you know, sometimes folks, I just taught a class of parents of preschoolers. And one of the dads said, “I’m really uncomfortable using those terms”. Like he’s like, “justify it”, he was one of those facty guys. And so I so this is the deal, if a child so there’s a story about a little girl who approached her teacher and said, “Hey, teacher, Grandpa touched my cookie”. And the teacher said, “Oh, honey, it’s that’s great. You should share your cookie with Grandpa”. And then a couple days later, “Grandpa touched my cookie again”. And the teacher said basically the same thing. “Oh, no, we talked about this. Remember, it’s okay to share and it’s good to share. And you know, it’s nice to share”. And then she came back to the teacher again, and said “grandpa touched my cookie”. And finally, the teacher said, “What do you mean by cookie?” and the girl pointed to her crotch. And then the teacher was like, “okay”, right and got her help. And this girl was persistent, which isn’t necessarily common, right? So she knew something was wrong and needed help, but not every kid’s gonna have this, like the wherewithal to do that. So if that girl had come to her teacher and said, “teacher, Grandpa touched my vulva”, what would have happened? Right? Yeah, immediate help, right? Immediate help. So this is about communicating that our bodies are healthy, normal, like this is a part of your body. And also, if they need help, it’s very, very clear. The other thing is that if someone is going to, you know, groom your child, if they’re starting that process, and that child knows the correct answer their private body parts, they know that someone’s talking to that kid and they’re gonna be less likely to attempt to do something with that kid. Hmm. So it’s protective in multiple ways. Okay. And you know, that dad, it was great that he was asking that because I’m also in a room full, like he wasn’t the only one there and he wasn’t the only one. “I can’t say vagina”, right. “I just can’t”. He had two little girls. So you know I think that parents just really need to embrace this. It’s the first thing we can do and it’s not weird, right?

Debbie Roche 18:11
I know. It’s so strange especially for, you mentioned this guy was kind of very fact focused but yet wouldn’t call a vagina a “vagina” and that is the term. You would rather call it what, flower? Or whatever?

Amy Lang 18:28
Taco

Debbie Roche 18:30
Yeah all those other things yeah. It’s it’s so bizarre that, and like I I just wonder, I mean I have a half idea of where all that came from, like, why could we just not call our body parts what they are?

Amy Lang 18:42
It’s puritanical culture and like our shame based culture around bodies and nudity and like, I don’t know what it is, like it’s just bonkers to me because I didn’t grow up like that. Like I’ve had a vulva, vagina, the whole shebang no clitoris, but okay, no. Right. Anyway, I worked that out on my own. So, like, I think that’s part of it, and it’s not serving our kids to behave that way. We have to, we have to do this now. You know, our world has changed so much and, and yeah, so that’s the first conversation. And then as you’re going along, you say, you know, hey, this is a private part of your body. It’s not okay or safe for anyone to touch your privates, your penis, your vulva, your vagina. And, you know, the rule is that, that that’s not okay, you’re safe. And you can tell me if that happens to you. You won’t be in trouble. That is key. Because if kids think they’re going to get in trouble if they if they break a rule, then then they’re not going to talk to us. And you know, and that’s beyond just touching privates. Like if you do the right to say no, if someone pinches pokes, right, you know, anything. Tickles you and you want them to stop. Like, your job, you can say “stop” and a safe adult, and a safe older kid listens to you and stops. Yeah.

Debbie Roche 20:07
Yeah. Which I was never taught. You know, it’s an it’s amazing now, that this stuff is getting taught in schools that you know, thankfully it’s happened because I remember we had a teacher who would come up and put his arm around you and then rub his face against their our face. I know. And everyone would be like, “Oh, that’s just Mr. Such and such like, that’s just…” and we would laugh about it. You know, it was like “Urg, he put his arm around…. I smell like his aftershave now…” Kinda thing. I know, I like there’s no way in hell that could happen now which is great, which is great that that cannot happen. And I wish it had been that case when I was, you know, a teen at high school, but it wasn’t. And so, ya know, I think it’s amazing that there’s people like you out doing this work as well right and educating. So one thing I’m really curious about social media is just obviously insane. It’s in our lives. It’s part of our lives. There’s nothing we can do about it.

Amy Lang 21:07
Oh, that’s a lie.

Debbie Roche 21:09
Yeah, so good. Good, good.

Amy Lang 21:11
There is something we can do about it.

Debbie Roche 21:15
I know that you know, Facebook, what you have to be at least 13. But you could clearly lie about your age to get on there. There’s ways that kids can get on there. So what can parents do when they are really concerned about maybe their kids getting onto social media? Because there’s so many creepy internet predators, like how do you prevent that from happening?

Amy Lang 21:32
So that’s a super tall order. So a couple things. Kids are not on Facebook, they’re on Snapchat, Instagram, they have fake Instagram accounts. People have access to them through their video game consoles. So there’s a lot of different ways that people, outside folks can access, get gain access to kids. So a couple recommendations and this is something that I find completely fascinating. Every device that your child can access the internet on, it needs to be locked down. Parental Controls, monitoring software. And so monitoring software is something you install on all the devices, and they show you where your kid is going. So you can get a daily digest. It’s a conversation tool, it is not spying on your kids, because you tell them, “we have these things on your devices, so you’re safe. You know, there’s some icky stuff out there. Stuff that can really hurt your heart and your mind. And we don’t want you to see that. There’s great stuff on the internet too. But, you know, until you’re older, we’re not going to let you go anywhere you want to”. And many parents think, “oh, not my kid, my kid would never”. But I looked. We all looked up sex in the dictionary, right? We didn’t have the interwebs. I didn’t have the interwebs. And so now if you have a question about anything, everyone just Googles, right. And so, that’s not safe. Right, your kid Google might your kid might Google “boobs” or, you know, “penis” or any kind of slang or just the word “sex”, and they’re going to, they’re going to see stuff. It’s unavoidable. And so it’s our responsibility to make sure our kids are safe. We cannot trust them to make good decisions, because that’s just not a thing.

Debbie Roche 22:58
Right? And I can’t even make good decisions. And I’m 37. Right.

Amy Lang 23:27
Right. Right, exactly. Like I have trouble with that. So and so in talking about it, right, like saying, you know, like, our rate of porn exposure is really high, like no kid escapes childhood without being exposed in some way to pornography. The good news is that the vast majority of kids see it and are like, “that’s not for me” and don’t get they don’t have porn overuse, right? They they are capable of not continuing to watch it. But some kids, mostly boys, but fewer and fewer girls end up having a problem with it. And even though I’m saying that that doesn’t mean you don’t do everything you can to protect your kids from it, right? Yeah. And there’s a book called Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, that’s really great. It explains pornography, and what to do if they see it, how it, you know, why it’s out there, if they’re really, really good. There’s also Good Pictures, Bad Pictures, Jr. And I would highly recommend you get those books. It’s a great way to introduce that idea. And so that is like the least you can do. And, you know, a couple things that I did in my house. Granted, I have one kid, we never let him Google. And this was before we had parental controls really, in that we never let him Google. He didn’t Google on his own until he was in the fourth grade. Like we would be with him while he was looking something up. If you have three kids, that’s really hard to do. If you have three kids, then you can have something that’s kind of helping you do that. Yeah. The other thing to do is to limit the number of devices your kid can access the internet on. They don’t need to be able to get on the internet on every flippin thing in your house. So there’s one dedicated computer, there’s maybe, or there’s an iPad, or a tablet, and then there’s a phone. And if you give your kid your phone, which is not going to be locked down, yeah, you’re running a risk, you’re running a risk. The other thing that I recommend is that your kid your kid does not need a smartphone, ever. Really. They need a way to communicate. That’s called a flip phone. So and it’s a it’s a status thing. So you know, I recommend that your kid does not have a full on smartphone until they’re in high school. And there are, it’s just safer. They just need to be able to reach out to you and get help if they need it. And we all managed, we all managed to make it through childhood without having one of those. I know everyone has one. So if you need help, just ask your friend right?

Debbie Roche 25:58
Yeah.

Amy Lang 25:59
Right. So and again, it’s a status thing, but at the end of the day, like status smatus, right? I mean if this means…

Debbie Roche 26:07
Safety is more important.

Amy Lang 26:08
Right and if this means your kid is going to show another kid porn like, my friend both of her daughters who are four years apart, first day of middle school someone showed, first week of middle school someone showed them porn on their phone on the school bus. Both girls. And they knew what to do, right? They were like “Dude, no, thank you” like, “What the hell are you doing right?” They had the skills and they were empowered to do that. You know, and then the final thing about this is you do not want to be, you do not want to be a parent that gets a phone call from the school, from another parent. “Your kid showed my kid nasty stuff on their phone”. That is a very awkward conversation, and you know, if that doesn’t do it, then I don’t know what to do with y’all because like, I cannot stress enough. So the other thing that’s protected for kids is that if they have like, did you talk to Kim? Yes, I did. Yeah.

Debbie Roche 27:05
Yeah. Kim Cook, Teen World Confidential. So yeah.

Amy Lang 27:09
Yeah. So um, the other thing you can do to keep your kids safer overall, sexual abuse prevention online, all of that is to talk openly with them about sexuality, relationships and your values. When they’re informed, when they have safe books to look at, when you’re talking to them consistently, they’re less curious. And they’re safer, right? Because they understand that sex is not for kids, their hearts, minds and bodies aren’t ready for something like that. Then again, they’re safer and talking again about the pornography and being really clear, like it is not real It is like a cartoon. Like people don’t look like that, sound like that. Really? Honestly, they don’t even do that. Like it’s all fake. It’s all acting.

Debbie Roche 27:53
Yeah. Because it just creates this like, you know, expectation, unrealistic expectation that these kids grow up with thinking, “Oh my God, that’s what sex is”. And that’s just not true.

Amy Lang 28:08
Right, like porn starts in the middle, right? Porn doesn’t show the hand-holding, the awkwardness, right? The going over the shirt and going under the shirt, right? It just doesn’t show any of that, like how you learn how to be sexual with someone.

Debbie Roche 28:22
Yeah, no, that’s no, it’s great advice. And so do you, do you know any I’m just curious as if I was a parent and I did want to get some sort of like monitoring device. I’m assuming you can just search and there’s some companies that do that. It’s quite easy to find those.

Amy Lang 28:39
Yes. One of the best. The best ones is its Circle and the website is meetcircle.com. And you can easily, it’s easy to install. It’s got all kinds of things you can do with it. And it’s great, and that’s what you need. One of my friends has his Circle setup so that when kids are at their house, they can’t get on the internet and they can’t get on the wi-fi. Right. And all the friends know that, and you know, some families have like when the teenagers are over there, like put your phone in the basket. Good luck with them. Good luck with your best selves. So, right.

Amy Lang 29:11
That’s a challenging one because they really do not want to give them up. And and again, like most kids are not going to go and crazy with this, but it’s accidental. So I have a client who called me and they’ve been clients of mine for a while and they’re like, “Can we come see you?” And I’m like, of course, like what’s going on? So they’re 8 year old, was really into horses, and she googled horses, and she was looking at images. And then she managed to get from horses to porn. And she, they were super funny. They’re like, yeah, she got too bad 70s porn, which is way different than the porn today. So we talked about it and you know, the girl is totally fine because they were super on top of it. They had parental controls, monitoring software, that’s how they found out, it was the monitoring software. So they leave and I’m like, “how do you get from horses to porn?” And so I googled, so I had googled horses. And then I went to images. And then I scrolled down. And there were images of men with gigantor penises. And so I clicked on those. And then it just was easy to get to.

Debbie Roche 30:21
Wow, so not even that hard, like a couple of clicks.

Amy Lang 30:25
Right? So who thinks horse and penis, I mean, I mean, I know some people do, but like, right, who thinks horse and penis? And so the good news is they knew what happened. Right? They knew it happened. So they touch base with me, and we had a little chat and then we got them straightened out. And then they talked to their daughter, and she’s fine. They’re fine. Yeah, but they were very proactive. Lots of sex education. She knew what sex was. So it was she knew the word penis. Like she was easy to say, “Hey, sorry. You know, we’re trying to keep you safe here and no more googling horses”.

Debbie Roche 30:57
Yeah, like I’ve got, it’s like, you can’t Google anything. You could probably just really, you know, eggplants and…zucchini…

Amy Lang 31:07
Jam, I googled Jam, and I ended up in pornlandia. I know. Yeah. I know. It’s so bizarre. And this is a real top-of-mind concern for lots of parents. I just did a survey of the folks on my email list and it was talking to kids about porn was the number one thing, it was 10% higher than keeping the conversation going. So top-of-mind concern. Another website is ProtectYoungMinds.org. So there’s lots of information about how to take care of this conversation. But if you have not had the sex talk, it makes the porn talk a lot more awkward.

Debbie Roche 31:43
Yeah. So you were just mentioning some resources there. And I was curious to know kind of what other resources that you actually do give to parents and professionals and I also know that you have a podcast so feel free to share a little bit about that.

Amy Lang 31:58
If you go to my website BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com, I have a resources page and I have a bookstore. So there’s lots of information there. And I think that just for the porn conversation, ProtectYoungMinds.org and the books, Good Pictures, Bad Pictures. So with regard to sexual abuse prevention Rainn.org it’s R.A.I.N.N.org. If you’re worried your child has been sexually abused they are a national organization, they’re great. Also StopItNow.org has wonderful information about preventing child sexual abuse. SavvyParentsSafeKids.com also really great, easy to put into place tips for talking to kids. And, you know, I think that one of the most important things for parents is to just calm down. Calm down, there’s a possibility that your child might be assaulted or sexually abused, and that’s terrifying. But if you’re not taking steps to help them be safer, then I’m not I’m going to say it’s your fault. Of course, it’s not your fault, but there’s things you can do to help your child be safer. And take those steps. You don’t have to start with anything major, right? Just make sure they know the correct names for private body parts. Like how hard is that? Yeah, I know. It’s hard for some people, but it’s really not that hard. Yeah, use books, right? Use books. “It’s So Amazing” is a great book. It’s got everything you need to talk to them about sexuality, relationships, different kinds of families. And there’s a whole section on safe touch and that kind of thing. So there’s lots of places to get help and educate your kids that aren’t going to feel too weird or freaky. And they don’t know. Right? Remember, they don’t know about this thing in the same way you do. Right? So what happens is we project and we’re like, “oh my god, this is so horrible for my child to know about”. It’s like, no, it’s actually horrible for you to know about. So remember, your job is to fill them up with safety tips and all that good stuff.

Debbie Roche 34:00
Awesome, awesome. And yeah, tell us a little bit about you know, you have some audio episodes and podcast episodes where you get a little bit you give a little bit of advice. So yeah, share that with us.

Amy Lang 34:11
Yeah. So my podcast is called Just Say This and folks call in and leave me a voicemail, an anonymous voicemail, ask me questions, and then I answer them on air or on the show. And it’s, I don’t have, there’s no rhyme or reason so you might get a question about a 12 year old who’d boy who just came out to his mom, and then you know, is it okay for kids to take baths together for siblings to take baths together? So I think my goal is to help parents have kind of, with kids of every ilk, and there’s always something even in the preschool questions for the teenagers. Right? It’s really easy to like see the, connect the dots and maybe see some blanks or get my idea, you know, my goal is to get people to get motivated and feel more calm, confident and comfortable starting the conversation or continuing them with their kids. And then my favorite part of the podcast is I love it when people call in and leave me tales from the trenches and funny stuff. Because it’s just, I mean, the whole thing can be, it’s funny, like kids are funny. And, you know, we make mistakes or we have like big wins or, you know, all kinds of things happen for us around this. And I just want to like humanize like the questions are normal, it’s fine to have questions. And then of course, things go sideways or don’t go sideways. So anyway, it’s called Just Say This. And is it okay, if I give the phone number?

Debbie Roche 35:32
Yeah, yes. I was gonna say, How do people call in?

Amy Lang 35:35
Yes, well, it’s 206-926-1522. And it’s totally anonymous. So don’t worry about like, being weird or whatever. And yeah, anyway, it’s been super duper fun. And I love to give advice and I’m bossy and I think I’m right. And I get to like, do my thing.

Debbie Roche 35:54
It’s a great combo. Awesome. I’ll definitely post a link to your podcast as well so that people can find it and hopefully call in with lots of questions. Amy, this has been awesome. Any last thoughts or words you’d like to share before we wrap up?

Amy Lang 36:09
Yeah, I think, like, my overall message here is that it is our job as parents to make sure our kids feel really good about this part of life. You know, sex is fabulous. It’s an amazing part of life. It’s kind of a gift we were given. And so presenting this as a healthy, fun, positive part of life, like starting there. It makes it easier for kids because at the end of the day, we all want our kids to grow up to be whole healthy, happy adults, and to wait until they’re like 28 before they have sex.

Debbie Roche 36:43
Wouldn’t that be great.

Amy Lang 36:45
That’d be awesome. Right? Full brain development, we can make that happen. We can help them make really healthy decisions and feel good about who they are as a sexual being. Because most of us didn’t have that, right. Most of us struggle with that part of ourselves and there’s enough information and support out there now that we can help our kids just be wonderful people in terms of their relationships and their sexuality.

Debbie Roche 37:05
I love it. I love it. Thank you so much, Amy for your time. I really appreciate it.

Debbie Roche 37:10
My total pleasure. It’s really great talking to you.

Debbie Roche 37:21
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. You can find out more about Amy at www.birdsandbeesandkids.com and if you are a parent, then I’d highly recommend that you subscribe to her podcast “Just Say This” and you can find that over on your favorite podcast player. You can also follow Amy on social media. She is on Facebook @birdsbeeskids and Twitter @birdsandbees and of course I’ll post all the links in the show notes. If you enjoyed our conversation or you have any comments that you’d like to share, then head over to this episode page on our website, uncomfortable.blog, and you can post them in the comments box. You can also follow us on social media. We are @uncomfortable.blog on Facebook and Instagram and @uncomfy_podcast on Twitter. If you like what you heard, then head over to Apple Podcasts and make sure to give us a glowing review and hit all five of those stars. I’d really appreciate it. You could also support us on a monthly basis by becoming a Patreon and pledging as little as two to $5 per month. Your monthly pledges will help keep this little podcast on its podfeet by covering costs such as website in podcast hosting, editing software and equipment upgrades. Thank you again for listening. Please go out there and get uncomfortable.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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