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Patrick Kane is beloved in the world of hockey. He is especially beloved in Chicago, where his
efforts just contributed to another Stanley cup win for the Blackhawks (their
third in six years, yo).
go anywhere in Chicago or its suburbs, you are going to see folks aged 7 to 70
sporting the Kane jersey.
But that might change soon. Kane
is under investigation in his hometown, Buffalo, N.Y., after allegations
he was involved in an incident with a woman in his home. No charges have been filed.
So how do parents deal with the increasing media reports
their kids are sure to hear? We can't keep this fem there. Here are five tips to help kids understand:
1. Start the conversation
If you are raising a little sports fan, boy or girl, there is no question that they have heard about the allegations and
investigation. Don't stand by and let
their peers steer the conversation. Initiate it yourself. Ask what
they know and where their information is coming from. Listen first.
instances of rape and sexual abuse, more so than any other crime, it is common
to victim shame or blame. A lot of press
covering the Kane allegations is already vocal in that regard. Our children will grow up sooner than
we know and be exposed to the complex nature of sexual relationships. Technology appears to have made the threshold
for exposure to these matters ever younger.
No means no—not "maybe" and not "keep asking and pushing in hopes of getting a different answer." No means no.
Acknowledge for your kids that if someone comes forward with
allegations, they are to be taken seriously. If a woman accepts a drink or an invitation home with someone she met
that night, it is not an invitation for sex without her consent. Teach your kids—again, both boys and girls—that they always want to be smart, that alcohol use can impair judgment for
everyone and that you can't always trust everyone you meet.
3. No means
This is key. So simple and, yet, it appears to become complicated in matters of rape or sexual abuse. No means no—not "maybe" and not "keep asking and pushing in hopes of
getting a different answer." No means no.
until proven guilty
This is a tough
one to remember in today's culture of talking heads and the mentality that anyone
of note should be tried in the media. Here in
America, we have a justice system that, while not perfect, works hard to ensure
due process. As of yet, Kane has not
been charged with any crime. An
investigation has been confirmed, but everything else is speculation. Our kids need to learn how our judicial
system works and why the presumption of innocence is important. This one can be especially tricky to manage, given
the need to balance empathy and compassion for the accuser with Kane's rights
as the accused.
Patrick Kane's situation is a tough one, made tougher by how we exalt our sports stars.
stars are people, not gods or heroes
We tend to elevate our sports stars to hero status. Lately, that has been backfiring on us. It is common to hear reports of doping, domestic violence, abuse and
cheating from those we allow our kids to worship. There is a difference between doing something
really well—like playing a mean game of hockey—and being a hero. A big difference. We need to start stressing to our kids that
appreciation is different than admiration and that, just because we appreciate a
certain person's skills, they might not necessarily be admirable.
Patrick Kane's situation is a tough one, made tougher by how
we exalt our sports stars. Our kiddos
identify and love sports figures just as we do but need a parent's support and
guidance when those same sports figures get entangled in very public and icky
situations. Don't be afraid to jump in the
muck. And never, ever underestimate the impact of the other influencers in our
While these conversations are awkward and unpleasant, part of our parenting gig is helping our kids cope with disappointment.