By Stephen C. Schultz
The black asphalt stretched endlessly to the distant horizon. The telephone poles and wires faded into the distance. The white line in the middle of the road flashed like a strobe in the corner of my eye as each fence post pulsed in a rhythmic flow backwards. The sunset glowed through the clouds in bright purple and magenta as the sun reflected off a lake and slowly set to the west. What a beautiful site!
After a long drive, I am writing this post from Oregon where I will be spending time with my family over the 4th of July Holiday. Just like many families from across the country, this is a time for our families to come together and celebrate the freedom we enjoy in this great country of ours! There will be watermelon, hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad. There will be fireworks, fishing trips and family fun.
While there are websites and blogs that share examples of Holiday activities, food and family festivities, this post will focus on a sad societal concern that is rarely discussed publicly and never done so over a Holiday.
This post is written specifically to educational consultants, private clinicians and other allied health professionals that work with adolescents. Educators and parents may find it helpful as well.
Every year, after a major Holiday, Oxbow Academy has an increase in calls from parents who are in a panic. In the midst of the family commotion that is common around Holidays, it comes to light that there has been some inappropriate sexual touching that takes place among the teenage siblings and or cousins. Parents are in distress, emotions run high and denial leaps to the forefront. An enjoyable family get together is now transformed into finger pointing, raw emotion and fear of what comes next.
I recognize that many educational, medical and therapeutic professionals do not specialize in sexual concerns. I need to mention that there is an emerging population of teens that fall on the autism spectrum that struggle with sexual concerns as well. Over the last six years we have noticed an increase in complicating factors around the teenage sexual development within this population.
The students we receive calls about tend to have poor boundaries. They struggle with social awkwardness and often start to isolate themselves in a world of gaming and pornography. The line between fantasy and reality gets thinner and we have heard from parents firsthand how these individual concerns combine into the perfect storm.
When the compulsive behaviors escalate to the point of sneaking into a neighbor’s home to view pornography or steal underwear, it becomes very uncomfortable for the families very fast. The fear mentioned above is not unfounded! When a neighbor, family member or friend is touched inappropriately, the legal system and social services leap into action like a bull in a china closet.
Please allow me to share some other posts from my blog. I hope you find them helpful.
If you know of a family who is struggling with these concerns, don’t hesitate to contact Oxbow Academy. We are happy to staff a case or simply be a sounding board. If you found this information helpful, please share with a colleague or other professional that might find this topic useful.