It is very important for parents to create the open dialogue of explaining appropriate and inappropriate touch to their children. Child sexual abuse is a reality that all parents should break the taboo in discussion in being proactive in prevention. Many of us have heard of “Stranger Danger” however many child molestation and sexual abuse cases are often reported of that of a close family member, caregiver, or a known associate. There are many parents like myself who have experienced sexual abuse for which it may be a difficult subject to address , yet the safety in preventing it from happening to our children makes it even more essential to discuss the topic. Our children mean the world to us; it’s our duty to protect them. It is imperative for us as parents to open the conversation about good touch/ bad touch as early as toddler stage in establishing healthy boundaries of their bodies in saying “You can’t touch this!”
Here are some helpful considerations and tips in protecting your child and opening the dialogue of safety prevention of sexual abuse:
- Give your child permission to take ownership of their bodies.
- Be sure to know all family members and caregivers well who watch, care for, and tend to your children.
- Always trust your intuition of a person or environment regarding the safety of children. This is important in dating,childcare, babysitting, emergency situations, and simply general company. Do a thorough background check.
- Be vigilant in getting to know the advisors and environments of extra curriculum activities, clubs, after school care, church auxiliaries, and sports activities that your children are involved in. It’s not about being over protective and untrusting. It is about being proactive in prevention.
- Have an open dialogue in explaining to your children that it’s okay to set boundaries regarding their bodies.
- Be equal in explaining the importance knowing what inappropriate touch is regardless of gender. Boys as well as girls can be sexually abused.
- Never force a child in extending physical affection especially out of their known comfort zones.
- Teach your child the appropriate names for their body parts and genitalia. If you choose to give a nickname due to age still explain the boundaries regarding the privacy and exclusion of their genitalia areas.
- Teach a clear and precise explanation based on age and maturity the definition of appropriate and inappropriate touch regarding their bodies.
- Give your children the encouragement to speak up and share with you or a trusted adult if they feel uncomfortable or violated.
- Always let your children feel safe, comfortable, and protected with you along with those you place them around .