My husband and I are extremely worried about how to handle this situation. Our children don't remember Frank because he has been "away" for a couple of years. How do we make sure they will be safe? Do we tell them to stay away from him and then have to explain why -- or reinforce what we have already taught them about private parts of their bodies and inappropriate touching? It's a given that everyone will be on "red alert" the entire time he is around.
This is especially difficult for me because I was sexually abused as a child. I know how quickly and easily predators can do things to children. With professional help I have dealt with my past so I could be a healthy parent. How can I get through Christmas with my sanity and my children unharmed? -- WISHES SISSY WAS SINGLE, ONTARIO, CANADA
DEAR WISHES: I assume that your sister and Frank will be visiting more relatives than you and your husband because, under the circumstances, I cannot believe you would have invited them.
Because of your personal history, your alarm is understandable. And considering Frank's history, I am sure the adults in the extended family will watch him like hawks. However, your children should not only be reminded about inappropriate touching, you should also make clear to them that your sister's husband did some things he should not have to other children, and warn them to keep their distance and not trust him regardless of how "nice" he may seem.
P.S. I don't know what the laws are in Canada, but in the States, as part of his release from prison, Frank might not be allowed to be around minor children. Check it out with the authorities in your community.