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Can a man be interested in contact with children without suspicion of being a pedophile?

August 23, 2021

Tbh I had to investigate myself to be sure. But no, when I meet children or think about them, I don't think at all about what's in their pants, neither do I get aroused in any way. But I love to talk with them, play with them, have fun with them, almost as if I were one of them at that moment, though I realize very well I'm not.

Last week there was a holiday activities week for children. I gave six different workshops on two days; a girl of about 8 years old visited five of them. Afterwards pictures were taken of the children and she wanted to be on the pictures together with me. (Actually it felt like a relief when her mother, who came to get her back home, told me she fancied a boy from her school. It would have felt uncomfortable if she really were in love with me.) And it was not just her, there were more children appreciating my workshops and the way I did them. There was some humorous joy in the air all the time.

Those were two great days, so much better than the average day of the year. I think that if I were a woman, nobody would have thought this strange. But as a man you have to prove your innocence all the time; and lately I get the idea it gets harder for men to be accepted in volunteer work with children at all. And that hurts both practically and emotionally.

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Post Information
Title Can a man be interested in contact with children without suspicion of being a pedophile?
Author Blauwpetje
Upvotes 40
Comments 17
Date August 23, 2021 4:25 PM UTC (2 years ago)
Subreddit /r/MenSupportMen
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Original Link

[–]YesAmAThrowaway 15 points16 points  (5 children) | Copy Link

From child educators I've in turn heard constantly how much they wish more men were around to give children, and especially the boys, a male role model since there are women galore. Helping out at events or being at weddings and other occasions (I'm 18, barely an adult mind you) usually ends up with kids flocking around me. I don't even have much of a heart for children, they just seek out any guy that can remotely relate to them. At kids specific events when I did volunteer work, specifically the boys would be all over me. It creates the impression I have that children DESPERATELY need male role models.

[–]Blauwpetje[S] 3 points4 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

Yes, I mostly get the impression the kids themselves are not the problem. The reason the kids last week (though the vast majority were girls) were so enthusiastic may very well have to do with the fact that not many other men gave workshops. But tbh I'm not much of a 'male role model' in the way of doing sports, carpentry etc. with boys. If I'm a male role model it is just by being a man (which of course should reach for that). Also, I prefer mixed gender groups, though again (I hate the feeling that I have to repeat that) it is nothing sexual with the girls.

[–]YesAmAThrowaway 4 points5 points  (3 children) | Copy Link

Same here. Kids need a diverse range of people that are examples on how to be... people. If for example mother or father are absent, it will be more of a challenge for the single parent to raise a healthy and balanced individual. Yes, toxic relationships are even more damaging, but overall the intact family (or getting friends on board for extensive exposure to the other sex) is advantageous in raising kids. Can easily imagine the same being true for daycares etc.

[–]Blauwpetje[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

When I was younger I could have started a training job in a daycare center, but my parents talked me out of it. Not because I was a man, but because I was too intelligent (even though I was unemployed with a college degree) and already too old. I should have been more stubborn then.

[–]YesAmAThrowaway 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link


[–]Blauwpetje[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

It is one of the very few things in my life I'm quite sure of.

[–]Oncefa2 7 points8 points  (4 children) | Copy Link

If you have a knack for kids, there are volunteer groups who need male volunteers specifically.

Lads Need Dads (UK), Boys to Men (US), and Big brother big sister, are examples of groups like this.

Not to mention the usual groups that it sounds like you're already involved in.

I don't think it's looked down on as much when you're with a group like this.

Just focus on being the adult. As the adult, you set the boundaries. It honestly doesn't matter if a younger girl (or even boy) were to have a crush on you. If it became obvious or a problem then you'd have to address it. But I'd assume that would never be a problem, especially in that age group, until it was proven otherwise.

[–]LordKarthrax 4 points5 points  (2 children) | Copy Link

Notice that these groups are almost always divided by sex, however.

Little girls need male role models too, not just the boys. Children, male or female, deserve to have good male role models.

[–]Blauwpetje[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

In the Netherlands, these groups are mostly mixed.

[–]LordKarthrax 3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

That's great to hear! Sadly here in the States it is not.

[–]Blauwpetje[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

I know some places in my town that might need volunteers and where I'd like to participate. Maybe I needed posting this to contact them at all, now that summer holidays are over, without feeling creepy (and fearing that as a result, I'd make that impression).

[–]sahinbey52 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

Same, I cant even play hopscotch with the girls in the neighborhood

[–]Blauwpetje[S] 5 points6 points  (0 children) | Copy Link

Which reminds me of another fact: the fathers in my neighborhood seem to have little trouble getting close to children, also children that are not theirs. They all seem to be part of some masonry of families. And as I'm single and my son is grown-up and out of the house, I'm not part of that. Not that I'm avoided like the plague - when I'm sitting in front of my house, sometimes parents have a chat with me, sometimes children have, but in general they all keep a distance, except maybe some toddlers. Maybe it's unwise to expect anything else, but still.

[–]idrinkapplejuice42 3 points4 points  (1 child) | Copy Link

I dont smile much, but sometimes a kid walks by and gives me a big smile, and I cant help but smile back. Afterwards though Im always nervous about somebody calling me out for smiling at their kid.

[–]Blauwpetje[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

When I read that, I start to doubt I even have the right to complain. (Single, older) men are distrusted everywhere, but not as bad as you mention in the place where I live.

[–]a-man-from-earth 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I think it also depends on where you are. Most of the horror stories I hear (e.g. of dads in the park with their young child or guys wanting to go into early childhood education) appear to be from the US. They are far less common in Europe.

I was a middle school teacher for several years in the Netherlands, and never had any such suggestions made towards me (or any of my male colleagues that I know of). But possibly it's gotten worse since I left.

Now I teach primary school in China, and it's even less of a problem here. When I first came here and was going around some schools as part of a mandatory introduction program, we were visiting a preschool/kindergarten, and when they saw how I connected with the kids, they offered me a job on the spot.

[–]Andreomgangen 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy Link

I've worked in kindergardens with women who said they desperately to hire men, because they said they were better for the children as they are more prone to play with the children and less drama/gossip with coworkers.

But the idea that there will never be suspicion is silly, for every hundred people you met a certain number will be sociopaths that will use any means to create division to rule, and for women over men one of the strongest tools they have is the paedophile insinuation. It's much like comment fields in any forum, if you take the troll as a guide to overall opinion you will always be left feeling like you cannot win.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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