Keywords: Pedophilia

My child does it with a pedophile


Stuit, Marianne; May 05 1988

For the story of Oude Pekela, see

Nieuwe Revu, The Netherlands, May 5, 1988
Original language: Dutch

"My child does it with a pedophile"

Sexual relations with minors are criminal. Also criminal are the parents who allow their children to have such contacts with adults. Even so, Nieuwe Revu found parents who accept such a relation. They tell from what motives they take that position and how they practically deal with this situation. "By now everyone is suspect because of Oude Pekela. It threatens to create a witch hunt." Page 22.

Conversations with parents about pedophilia

Pedophilia literally means loving children. There is nothing wrong with that, you would think. Wrong. Sexual relations with minors are criminal. Parents who allow their children to have such contacts with adults are criminal as well. For a long time already, there has been an active force in the Netherlands aiming at uncriminalizing sexual relations between adults and children above the age of 12. These people assume that such relationships can be valuable for children. That children have their own sexual feelings and may share these with anyone they want. Also with adults. Provided that such relationships are not based on violence or moral coercion.
The violence against children in Oude Pekela and enhanced judicial policy make parents that allow their children to have contacts with pedophiles feel very vulnerable. Yet they don't want to prohibit these contacts. They frankly tell Nieuwe Revu about the motifs that lead hem to take that position and how they practically deal with this situation. "Because of Oude Pekala, everyone is suspect now," says one of the parents. "It threatens to create a witch hunt."


RIA: "For my husband is still a sore point '

René was 9 years when he first entered the house of the youth coach of a sports club, along with a couple of friends. His mother, Ria: "I remember thinking: Boy, that man does have a heart for those kids."
My son came home with big stories. He and his friends were allowed a lot of things by their new friend. The radio could be turned on loud. They played games, got lemonade. At home, my son always reports enthusiasticly about everything he experiences. After a few of those visits, he told us that pictures of boys were haging on the wall in his friend's house. Yes, and then you are frightened! I thought, well, no doubt about it, that man must be a pedophile.
Later I reproached myself. I have been too negative in the very first period. I caught myself on scaremongering. I said the things I used to hear myself in the past, like "watch out". Your first reaction is not fair. This may have inhibited my son.
His friend knew that I was working on it. I read about it and discussed what I read with my son. And he heard about that. He always asked: how does your mother think about it now? Then my son said: it's ok, you can tell her. She will understand. After a while that conversation took place indeed. I immediately told him that I saw no objection if my son wanted that relationship himself. To my son I said: I think it's ok what you do, but I do not want you do something in exchange for things. Because it was easy for him to get what he wanted from his friend. He accompanied him everywhere. That man, he was thirty odd years at the time, organized everything. I have discussed this very deeply with my son. I said: son, if you do not want to do something, don't think "oh, what a pity for him". There is no need fo that, really. That is probably the reason why nothing bad ever happened. They are still good friends.

Often, parents don't see it
For children, such a friend is very nice. He can identify with the problems of children. Helps them with their homework. My son has improved a great lot at school since he has that friend. It's just a very good relationship though sex is no part of it. Anyway my son is too old now. He is sixteen. Physically he is no longer attractive to his friend. But his friend let me know that it does happen, with other children. We openly talk about it, he visits us at our home, quite naturally. The physical contact, the cuddling, it is important to them. Yes, to what extent do these things go? They may beat off once in a while. Observing my son's friends, I can see that some children are looking for it. They also go and sit close to my husband, touching him. They are just looking for attention. My son's friend is responsive in such cases.
Of course I had my doubts. I was really mad when he always wanted to hug and cuddle a child that used to come over. Then I said: that kid comes to play but all you think about is sex. I told him to respect his boyfriend. That it's only allowed when the child wants it. But you should well understand that it was new for him too. A relationship had never been possible before. Then, when it comes at last, you apparently want to throw out everything at once.
For my husband, it still is a sore point. He accepts it because my son consistently refuses sex. My husband has never been aggressive on that issue. Of course he could have forbidden it, but then they will do it secretly. I do not know what would have happened in that case.
I know that my son's friend has had many relationships, whose parents did not know. This surprises me again and again. I don't understand it. These children call him, he comes to visit them, they eat and sleep with him, go everywhere with him. But the parents know nothing! Nothing is discussed over there. That makes me scared. For him. I'm afraid that once he may get into trouble because of that.
Of course I understand that it's very difficult to raise the subject for a person like him. He will risk his job, almost all of his social contacts, his home and his neighborhood. You only need three or four people to make problems and then they can cause so much harm. These risks are enormous. "His parents can not even accept it. Also, he doesn't have all these relationships simultaneously. There are those he's simply petting. Or only kissing. It's only in a few cases that it goes further."
With us also it's certainly not all roses and rose fragrance. We argue, have discussions. I want a realistic sexual education to take place. Because it's not always as beautiful as the pedophiles deludes themselves with. Nude pictures are a sore point for me. We have had lengthy discussions about it. We did not come to an agreement. I am opposed to it. I am also against buying pictures. Because it means you take part in causing that these children have to pose. I can not imagine that kids like it to pose in such a way. They probably need to get money or expensive gifts in exchange for it. My son does not pose. I also make no distinction between art and porn photography. In that market everything is for sale, but children are used for each photo.
You can never rule it out. I know there are plenty of kids who do it. And clearly that fact is made use of. Our friend says: that child agrees. But I still can not accept.
If there would be real trouble, I would support him. Because we talk about it a lot, I can sort out many things myself. It is just awful for the children who don't talk about it with their parents. They are left with a big secret. I think that's similar to incest. If something bothers them, if their friend drops them because they no longer want sex, where should they go? On the other hand, some children are able to exploit such a pedophile to a geat extent. Because he is vulnerable. These things happen and that's not good either.
Yet I never wanted to ban my son. I think he has the right to make his own decisions. And then again, oh, what is more beautiful than love?

PAULA: 'We have asked him to be careful, not to force anything'

Paula is a mother of three sons. All three had a relationship with a grownup man who quickly became a friend of the family. Even now the children are grown up, there is still a good friendship,
"It all went in a very natural manner," says Paula. "Just like teenagers stop kissing their parents before they go to sleep, in the same way the sex dissapeared from the relationship." She urgently requests not to use her real name and not to reveal too many details. "In this region of the country being recognized could endanger our lives."
Her sons were eight, twelve and thirteen years old when Paula noted that there was something going on in her house. "He was the music teacher of our oldest child and came to our house every week. From gestures, especially by our youngest, a huge hug, I noticed that something was happening. Purely a feeling. However embarrassing I found it, I just asked him. He was very honest, he said yes, I'm a pedophile. And then you're stuck with that knowledge.
The fact that we could see how he went about with our children, took a lot of sharp edges off of 'the discovery'. We have asked him to personally tell the children what he felt for them. Then we talked it over with them, in the presence the friend. That big openness has been very important.
Later he asked them to sleep over. We agreed, but anyway the first time you're sitting at home thinking: oh, boy, did we really do the right thing? But we were counting on the fact that we had been open. And also on the fact that our children were able to reject things that they did not want. We have raised them that way and you hope something like that will work through. This proved to be the case indeed. Our youngest son very spontaneously told everything that had happened. Really nothing, for sure. We asked the older friend to be careful, not to force anything. For him it was also nice that this was discussable.
I remember that, after a few sleepovers, the oldest one told us: "Mom, I can now sleep in the big bed." "Oh," we said, "did you enjoy it?" Yes, it had felt delicious. From the youngest I could well believe it too. He said: "You know what I like, Mom? When he tickles my back!" I said: "Yes, does he?" You must ask your questions in a very playful way. From his older friend we already knew that he liked tickling, but that he felt no need to go further than that. Our child told us the same thing, quite spontaneously: "Well, if he touches my willy, I don't need that, I think that's such nonsense." So we said: "Gosh, he's not allowed?" We always approached it that way, because we definitely did not want to attach any tension to it.
That is the biggest mistake you can make. Because children don't have the tension that adults connect to sexuality. That's what we make of it. We adults have our own world of thoughts, but that is quite apart from what is happening between pedo and child.
The hardest of it all is that you require your kids to be silent about such a friendship. But it should. These people can be fired, arrested, they could even be prosecuted. You should save your friend from that. On the other hand, you want to give your children the message: it is quite normal, boys, there is no need to be ashamed. I got a hard time with that taboo, that contrast. That is why I joined a pedophilia working group of the NVSH. The people I've met in that group, their mentality, it earned a lot of respect with me. But you must dare to be honest with yourself. You have your doubts, but your kids are demanding their own rights. Then you must be very honest. Because if you think back to your own childhood, you cannot hide the truth.
I'm not afraid for abuse. Often the mere presence of a child is enough. So some older friend may bring that child to his bed and caress it. What's the problem? Parents do that too. Children also crawl in bed with their parents. Then you hug them for a while. That's part of their upbringing, I think. There is so much fear for touching. It may well be this fear that causes the emotions. Of course I don't say: go look for hell. But the experience teaches us that these kind of things come over you.
You must clearly understand that this was about a very good friendship for our children. Yes, we could have drawn a line there. But in my opinion, you should only do so if you have very good reasons for it. You owe your children to be that honest. In our case, it was exactly that kind of openness that enabled mutual understanding.
When I hear from things like Oude Pekela and Amsterdam-North, my hairs wil stand on end. It is causing something like a witch hunt. These were no pedophiles, I think. These are people who love money. The trouble is that such issues are never sorted out in a calm way.
Of course it has to do with the fact that society makes a taboo out of these sort of things. I cannot normally talk it over with my own friends. The children, who are almost grown up now, also run against a brick wall of "yuck!" and "oh, that's dirty!" It is very rare that you find someone you can explain it. The bad thing is that society denies this. That way we are part of the system forcing these people to live under a terrible pressure.
A pedophile is someone who likes children. He doesn't want to frighten or frustrate the child. Perhaps they unconsciously make mistakes. But don't educators do the same? When we got into it, we have been open. Make it clear to your children that they can discuss anything with you, including things they don't understand that well. You can also talk with such a pedophile yourself. And even if someone like him makes some mistake, do you really need to look at it in black and white only? I know that many children are provocative themselves. We have seen it in our own house. It was like: let's see how far I can get him, that older person. If that happens to someone who always had to control himself, then yes, he may go too far just for once. Then you should stop it, and ensure that the child first learns to make his contacts in a different way. If there is openness, you have found yourself an extra parent for your child."

JOHN: "I sometimes thought, I wish that I could offer you such warmth and attention"
"In such relationships, I am more worried about the adult than about the child," says John (50). And: "It's always the outside world that thinks of such a relationship as something problematic."

John raised nine children. One natural child, four official foster children, and another four children whose parents gradually agreed that they moved in with him. Four of these children had a relationship with an adult. Apart from that he also had experience with this type of relationship as a professional group leader in child care. One of the children would prefer that he does not speak about his actual, personal experiences. Reason for John to only talk in general terms, as a parent and an educator.
"Children choose their own relationships," says John. "The power that I could exercise, I don't take it and I don't want it. I stand beside the child. Even if that implies that sometimes I am opposing society. Obviously I have the last word in my home. But that word is heard no more than two times a year. Children have the first word and that happens every day. I aim at keeping all of the children's options open for discussion anyhow, including the relationships that I do not like. Because your own relationship with the child is one for good and for bad times. As a parent or foster parent you can not say "Stay away" when a child steals, or if it is stupid or ugly."
The pedo-relationships have their own value, their strength and their weakness. The fact that the child is the number one kinglet, well, let them have that pleasure. It has its own value which, as a parent, I can not provide myself, because I have other children, a household and a job at my head. As a group leader in a children's home I have been dealing with runaways fairly often. They knew where to find their addresses. I would find them back, sometimes literally in bed with a man. Yes, that did look very nice and pleasant. The fact that these children had every reason to seek comfort, has always dissuaded me to end something like that using the official authority. I sometimes thought: I wish that I could offer you such warmth and attention. I only intervened when the adult was blackmailed by a child.
You point them to contraceptives, but most of them already have leared about that a long time ago in the schoolyard. Practical decisions you should take as a parent concern permission to sleep over and agreements on hours. As a consequence you must accept the adult visiting that child, also in it's own room. And you should not accidentally come in to clean up. In such relationships I am always more concerned about adult friend than about the child. These people can be blackmailed! They are vulnerable and uncertain. Of course you do not need to have a boundless confidence in someone like that, but you need to strive for the greatest possible openness.
Personally, I have no problem with the sexual aspect. Children crawl in bed with parents, join them in the shower. If you allow that, you will find that they are healthily curious to explore the body and the sexuality of their parents. I say, well, that's fine. Do show yourself. Do show your sexual life as a parent. Allow the child to enter that world. Tell it about your feelings. Show it your excitement. Let it experience how your sex life is. The big advantage is that afterwards you will hear what they experience themselves. As for myself, with children I trusted I have always been open in this field too. I show it to them: how it looks and what happens at that moment. On the other hand, they will also draw their own boundaries. They can be open all right, but that special boyfriend or girlfriend gets the honor of being allowed to come a little closer. Children don't have a problem to share that little extra with an adult. It is always the outside world that thinks of it as a problematic thing.
Through my work, I have seen quite a lot of children engaging in a pedophile relationship. There were great variations in the quality of these relations. There were love relationships, but also pronounced sexual bondings, which had more to do with fun than with love. The will of the child must always come first. Of course a new experience can bring a shock. But there's a first time for everything, so new experiences are not neccessarily bad in itself.
With photos I have no problems. Fathers and mothers shoot their cute little ones too. Children like pictures when these pictures capture moments that are pleasant for themselves. Of course the point is that society is hostile to adult-child relationships. This creates a sort of shameful feeling about that relationship. Open discussion about it therefore belongs to a trusted circle only. The possibility for public discussion about those things has declined during the last two years .
It's naturally for children to explore. They especially do so at important transitional ages, at ten, twelve, fourteen, and sixteen, as they distance themselves from their parents. Temporary, the parent is grayed out. For some time, the other one is all and everything. For a certain period, that other one does indeed meet that expectation. But after a year or so everything grows normal again. It may end all of a sudden, but usually it will be fading out gradually. Both have different needs now. Also, a lasting relationship has resulted of it. A good relationship.
With foster children, you also have the real parents you need to consider. With some it is discussable, with others it isn't. You should puzzle that out carefully. There are various degrees of openness. I have absolutely no problem with children having their secrets.
Anyway, children are not owned by by parents. Children run around with hundreds of secrets, which is a piece of their identity, and which they may find exciting too. Incest is a very bad secret, but you also can find secrets whose core is freedom. It's exactly the usual power balance that forces children to have secrets: at school, in the family. The pedophiles are the ones that are vulnerable and extremely powerless. They can be identified to the police in a wink. Ultimately, the child is always the boss. The child can talk to it's parents, or it can stay away. Parents and teachers have much more power over a child. I strive for a balance of power in the relationship. You can see that expressed in a playful romp fight, for example. Now one of them is winning, then it's the other one's turn. There is no fun in it when the same person always wins. You can see that in heterosexual relationships too. If the power is allowed to alternate, then you can speak about true love. Otherwise, at best it's about pleasure and fun.