As a single mom it makes sense that we would want a mentor for our sons. But with the recent news about the assistant football coach at Penn State’s alleged sexual misconduct (or worse) with young boys, it’s a reason to give pause to the potential dangers of letting unrelated family members handle our children.

Get the Facts Before You Trust Someone with Your Child

I’m not an alarmist and I like hear all the facts, but this hits close to home for me. When my son was younger I trusted a man to mentor him and help him through life. I was distraught at the possibility that my son would turn out to be another statistic, growing up without a father and no direction.

This is What Happens When You Don’t Get the Facts

The thing is, many guys know this about single moms and prey on us when we are in this emotionally charged state of mind. I let my guard down and let a man into my life that would do years of damage to me and my family, especially my then 2-year old son.

I married that man and lived to regret it. He was an abuser of the worse kind. His abuse, though primarily pointed at me, was aimed directly at my son. I cannot go into the details of the abuse but I have a strong belief that he molested him.

The Damage A Child Sexual Predator Can Do Last For Years

My son could not verbalize what happened to him in that way, but I know by evidence of child porn on my computer and the reactions my son had each time I tried to change his diaper (potty training was delayed) and bath him that something was terribly wrong.

I was smart enough to end the marriage quickly and begin the healing process for myself and my children. It has taken years for my son to get through this experience. He suffered post traumatic stress disorder for years. He acted out, his development was delayed, and he has trouble learning in the “traditional” way. He had/has multiple phobias including fear of water, insects, heights and dogs.

It is Possible to Recover From Abuse

The up side is he is now a very happy, friendly young man. He is loyal, polite, and willing to go the extra mile. He is now teaching himself to swim, insects don’t bother him as much; neither do heights. He is still leery of dogs and will panic if one comes too near him.

We have close ties with family so he gets along well and trusts my dad, brother, and brother-in-law.

With much prayer he is a “normal” testosterone-driven boy with natural athletic ability.

I’m proud of him but I often wonder what our lives would have been like if I had not let my fears and emotions cloud my judgement. What would life have been like if I had never let that man into my life, my home, and around my children?

How to Protect Kids from Predators

I will never know, but what I do know is I always question any man who takes an extreme/odd interest in my son. He does not do sleepovers with any family other than my own. I make sure that every person involved in his life know that we are stable and happy so no need to interject your opinion or try to be a father-figure.

Living with Regret and Shame is Just as Damaging

I used to beat myself up about what happened in our family but now I know it is all a part of life. Rehashing it and living in shame over it is not the key to living a healthy life. It is also not good for my children to see me in a constant state of depression and guilt over past mistakes. We learn from them and we always move forward.

What happened with the Penn State assistant couch is horrible. I hope it will be a wake-up call for every single mom and every parent who entrusts their children to others. No matter how upstanding or polished a person seems, we have to trust our instincts and check them out.