News reports about children being sexually abused by grown individuals are very upsetting. It is truly saddening that there is a significant number of children being abused, and many of them are unable to or have no means to report the crime against them. These kids are afraid for themselves or for the people they love, and because of their young minds, many of them might even be unaware that what is being done to them is wrong. Child abuse is truly a monstrous crime against innocents. We have to protect kids and one of the best ways to do this is talking to your kids about sexual abuse. It is not comfortable but it is worth it.
Child abuse is one of the greatest fears of parents. No parent in his (or her) right mind would want anything bad to happen to his child. Because there is danger everywhere, it is a must for parents to always look out for their children’s safety and teach children how to do the same.
Talking To Your Kids About Sexual Abuse Can Help Prevent Them Becoming Victims
1. Develop a strong, open relationship with your child.
Early on, you should let your kid know that he (or she) can openly talk to you about anything. This way, he will have no qualms about discussing with you issues that bother him. They should know they can come to you about anything.
2. Educate your child about the parts of the body.
Many parents think that it’s taboo to teach their kids the proper names for private body parts. Instead of saying “vagina” or “penis”, they might call it something else. This is actually not a very good thing to do because if someone touches your child in a sexual or unwanted way, then the youngster might not know how to describe exactly what happened. So, tell your child what his private parts are called. If someone touches him in an appropriate way, then he can precisely say where.
3. Be aware of more than just strangers.
Why? The reason for this is that many children are actually abused by people they know. It is saddening and frightening to think that kids are abused by friends of the family, relatives, or even a friend’s parents. But is is true. The best way to help prevent this is to know the people your child is spending time with and listen to your gut if you or your child seems uncomfortable.
4. Teach your child about “good” and “bad” touch.
What’s a “good” touch? It’s a type of touch that makes a youngster feel happy and secure. On the other hand, a “bad” touch is something that makes a child uncomfortable and scared. Tell your kid that he should always inform you when someone touches him in a “bad” way.
5. Tell your child to say “no” to unwanted touch or contact.
Also, whenever someone approaches your son (or daughter) and asks for a hug or kiss and your child doesn’t want to, then don’t force him to do so. Allow him to express his feelings in ways that are acceptable to him. Children need to learn that it is OK to say no to unwanted touch or contact.
6. Make sure your child knows they can always come to your for help.
Inform your child that any form of inappropriate attention or advances, particularly from an adult, is unacceptable and wrong. Your child should know that they can come to you for help. They should also know it is not their fault and they need to report it.
Talking to your kids about sexual abuse is so important. It doesn’t have to be long and involved and uncomfortable. You just need to say that it is ok to tell someone not to touch you and it is important to tell your parent if someone touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
My mom talked to me about it when I was young by reading an article about from our local church. Later, when a man tried to grab me and hold himself against me, I knew that I could report it to my mom. I am thankful that I was prepared and did not have to grapple with if I should tell her. I have talked to my own kids about it. They know it will probably never happen but that if it did, they can come to me for help right away.
Visit the American Psychological Association for more information on what to do if you think a child you know has been a victim of sexual abuse at apa.org
National Sexual Assault Hotline Rainn.org
National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse
(800) CHILDREN – info. on getting involved/preventing abuse
(800) 55-NCPCA – info. on parenting/abuse