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Talking To Children About Sexual Harassment And Scandals In The News

Aired 8/19/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUEST

David Peters is a licensed family therapist with a private practice in Mission Valley.

Transcript

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is set to return to work today. No matter how the accusations against him are ultimately resolved, we are sure to hear more stories about them in the media.

The allegations against Filner and other politicians can be confusing for kids who listen to the news.

Driving in your car, your whole family could hear sound bytes like this one from former City Councilwoman Donna Frye speaking at a press conference about allegations of sexual harassment by Filner:

"When I received credible first hand evidence of more than one woman being sexually harassed, I could not, not act."

Or, your children might have heard KPBS reporter Sandhya Dirks describing what was said at another press conference:

"The real news of the press conference were the lurid details of alleged assaults, a grabbed breast beneath a bra, a tongue forced down a throat."

Or, they might have heard NPR Morning Edition host Renee Montagne report this:

"Anthony Weiner was forced to resign from his U.S. congressional seat in 2011 for sending sexually-explicit photos and messages to women online," and Morning Edition Host David Greene this:

"...and as we leaned yesterday, that behavior didn't stop. Weiner is confronting new sexting allegations."

Parents might want to ignore the questions stories like this raise but San Diego family therapist David Peters said it's better to help your children understand these difficult topics.

Peters said, "parents will miss a great 'teachable moment' if they don’t talk with their kids about this."

He said children can learn lessons about personal boundaries, respect for others and self control in a public place among other topics.

Peters said, "we can even raise complex issues such as the 'presumption of innocence until proven guilty,' and how this conflict is being managed in the government, and discussed in the media."

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