Teach Your Children These Skills to Prevent Sexual Abuse
As a parent, thinking about how to prevent child abuse, particularly to prevent sexual abuse, isn’t generally something you want to think about, right?
It’s likely that you’re aware how debilitating child abuse can be. Not only does it make it harder for the abused child to be mentally healthy, but that stigma often haunts them for the rest of their lives.
For that simple reason, you likely rather think about your children as healthy, happy, and vibrant individuals who succeed in life.
The best way to help them thrive like that is by teaching them important life skills. Although some of these skills might seem awkward to teach at first, they can be vital to your children’s future.
So, while you can’t be with your children 24/7 to protect them, you can teach them how to prevent sexual abuse.
Stick to Straight Talk
It’s common for parents to resort to baby talk or nicknames when it comes to private body parts. You’ve probably heard of a vagina being called a “va jay jay” or a penis being named a “pee pee.”
To help prevent sexual abuse, forego the nicknames. Stick to medical terminology. When your children use the proper name for their body parts, it helps them to feel comfortable with this language. It also makes them more comfortable owning their own body.
Thus, should an inappropriate or threatening situation present itself, your child will be able to accurately describe the situation.
Establish Bodily Boundaries
As well as the correct names, teach your children boundaries for their body parts. Establish which parts are private and who is allowed to see or touch those parts.
For example, a doctor can see or touch them, but only when a parent is present.
Also, these privacy rules should not only extend to people they don’t know, but also to people they do know. That means, let your kids know that bodily secrets are not alright. A bodily secret could be like someone—even someone they know—asking them to see their private parts and not tell anybody else.
On that same note, encourage them to talk to you. Assure them that they won’t ever get in trouble if they share that type of secret request with you.
Teach Them a Way Out
Children of all ages can feel uncomfortable in certain situations. But many children have difficulty finding a way out of that situation. In fact, sometimes simply telling another person “no” or to “stop” requires more than a child has to offer.
So, it’s up to you to give them an escape route. Tell them what words to say in uncomfortable situations. Give them a valid way to escape. A way that makes them feel less confrontational but still gets them away from whatever is making them feel uncomfortable.
For some, it might be telling the perpetrator that they have to leave to go potty or simply that they want to do something else.
Create a Secret Language
It’s important to instill vital skills in children at a young age. But to prevent sexual abuse as your child grows older, these skills might need to be adjusted.
Like mentioned before, a direct confrontation could be very difficult for a child. It’s even difficult for some adults. So when children have a way to escape the situation and bypass the element of confrontation, they’re more likely to do it.
So, for older children, especially, make a code word or phrase for them to say if ever they feel uncomfortable. It’s the perfect bypass. Not only does it empower your child, but it helps you know they’re protected.
This code should apply in face-to-face interactions and also for phone conversations. Not only will it be very helpful when visitors are at your house but also when they’re spending time at a relative’s home or when they’re over at a friend’s place.
If you’d like more tips on how to prevent sexual abuse, please contact me. I can help you formulate a parenting plan to help your children thrive.